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

satire

I have been called just about everything during my professional life (not to mention the private one). Yesterday, a new addition arrived: a German psychologist who chose to misunderstand a re-Tweet (or is that re-X these days?), Sebastian Bartoschek, implied I am an anti-Semite.

My re-Tweet quoted without any comment by me a Holocaust survivor stating “The Nazis made me afraid to be a Jew, and the Israelis made me ashamed to be a Jew”.

My re-Tweet was meant to make people reflect critical about the horrendous atrocities that is currently happening in Gaza. However, Bartoschek decided it was anti-semitism and demanded I explain myself. As I had previously had an unpleasantly unproductive encounter over an entirely different matter with him, I did not quite see why I should comply to the wishes of this guy. What followed was a rather ridiculous triade by Bartoschek. It included him alerting DIE WELT that someone who sometimes writes for the paper propagates anti-semitism.

A third party (I don’t know who) must have suggested that this amounts to denunciation. Bartoschek replied: “If asking someone why they share anti-Semitic content is denunciation for you, then so be it.” Eventually he sent me this Tweet:

To EdzardErnst – I’ll wait until 11 a.m. tomorrow, Sunday, for a statement. After that, I’ll write about it without it.

This is why I feel that I am blackmailed. Either I explain what I feel is too obvious to explain, or he will write about the matter in what can be expected to be a defaming way.

Well, I prefer to write about it myself by stating categorically that I am definitely not an anti-semite. What is more, I can prove it. I have since many years published numerous articles (around 30, I guess) that make my position entirely clear; to mention just three:

So, now it will be great fun to see whether Bartoschek has lost his marbles and what version of the truth he will tell in his own write-up of the story.

WATCH THIS SPACE.

 

Yesterday, someone (hopefully) unknown to me (hiding under the pseudonym ‘Queristfrei’) tweeted this rather bizarre comment [in German, my translation]:

This trivialisation of the unjust GDR state, in which people died for political reasons, shows how “lost” the people are who @amardeo, @Skepges, @EdzardErnst and the @Skepges respect and defend. That’s historical fabrication to the power of ten! #GWUP

Normally, I would have discarded the comment as just one of those many irrelevant idiocies posted by cranks that I am constantly exposed to on social media. However, the mention of the GWUP, the German skeptics organisation, links it to the current woke-motivated destruction of the GWUP and thus gives it special significance.

‘Woke’ and the various related terms are in fashion and polute discussions on far too many subjects. To be blunt, I don’t like ‘woke, WOKE, anti-woke, unwoke, wokerati’, etc. – so much so that, for the purpose of this post, I will invent an umbrella term that captures all of these words: ANTI-UNWOKERATI, AUWEI for short (yes, there might be a German root in this abbreviation. I know it is a silly acronym but, in my mind, the subject deserves nothing serious).

As already mentioned, I am anti-AUWEI which means I am as much anti-woke as anti-antiwoke. Or, to put it differently, I feel that the world would be a better place, if ‘woke’ had never become en vogue. Here I have listed (in no particular order) several reasons why I dislike AUWEI:

  • AUWEI means different things to different people and is thus a fertile basis for misunderstandings.
  • Every Tom, Dick and Harry uses the AUWEI terminology pretending to be an expert without expertise.
  • Much of what is said and written in the name of AUWEI is pure bullshit.
  • AUWEI has become an ideology.
  • Even worse, it is a straight jacket of the mind that makes us pre-judge a subject regardless of the evidence.
  • Worse still, it is abused by all the wrong politicians.
  • AUWEI serves many as a replacement for evidence.
  • Even worse, it often seems to be an alternative to critical thinking.
  • Most AUWEI-obsessed people seem to have lost their humor (or never had any).
  • AUWEI renders complex issues falsely simple.
  • AUWEI inhibits free thought.
  • AUWEI inhibits nuances and puts you in one camp or another – black or white.
  • AUWEI is unnecessarily devisive.
  • AUWEI invites intolerance and unproductive dispute.

Personally, I like to make up my own mind about things; to do this, I want to see the evidence. Once I have understood it, I go where the evidence leads me – not where AUWEI dictates me to go.

There are many AUWEI subjects that do not interest me and perhaps even more that I find outright silly. Personally, I don’t want AUWEI to tell me that I must have an opinion on them or quietly follow that of my AUWEI ‘peers’.

No, really; AUWEI is not for me.

Some of these irritating skeptics claim that so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) is useless. They are wrong, of course! SCAM’s incredible uselulness is never more obvious that on Valentine’s Day. Here are just a few exaples that will make even the most hard-nosed skeptic reconsider:

Since acupuncture helps in promoting the circulation of blood, it may increase your sexual drive as well. As a result, you may experience intense and enhanced orgasms. When Qi (Chi) gets blocked, it may hamper healthy circulation in the body, which is why an acupuncture session may help in getting you back in touch with your sensual side.

Homeopathy: Nuphar Luteum is a homeopathic remedy for low libido in men. It helps when there is a decline in sexual desire, a lack of physical stamina, or difficulty keeping an erection during sexual engagement. Damiana is a popular homeopathic remedy for low libido in women. It can help enhance sexual desire and stimulate the reproductive system. Damiana is also known for its positive effects on reducing anxiety and promoting a sense of relaxation.The fundamental causes of low libido must be recognized before selecting the appropriate homeopathic cure. A complete study of your physical, mental, and emotional conditions can help you determine what is causing your diminished sexual desire. A qualified homeopath will consider these factors and select a remedy that matches your unique constitution.

Meditation: No matter how healthy you are, being stressed out can affect your libido. Some research suggests that women may be particularly susceptible to the effects stress can have on one’s sex life. Men, on the other hand, may use sex to relieve stress. Sometimes, these differences in the approach can cause conflict, ultimately increasing stress between partners. Meditation can help relieve stress.

Bach flower remedies: N°44™ Libido. Organic drop composition with the original Bach Flower Remedies of Dr. Bach The Original N°44-Composition contains the 7 Bach Flowers: Wild RoseFlower of joy of life; HornbeamFlower of drive and energy; GentianFlower of encouragement; ImpatiensFlower of inner calmness; LarchFlower of self-assurance; PineFlower of forgiveness; Crab AppleFlower of purification.

Herbal remedies: VigRX is a male enhancement supplement that was developed over 15 years ago and has gone on to become the World’s biggest selling and most popular product of its generation. Ingredients such as Asian Ginseng & Ginkgo Biloba have made these capsules very potent. If you then consider the other 6 nutrients which are then fused together, it makes this blend unique and the reason why so many people have ordered it time and time again and made it the brand of choice for most men.

Massage: Touching is a powerful thing, especially in areas other than your fun bits. ResearchTrusted Source shows that the act of physically touching your partner helps create intimacy and relieve stress. Which means, in the bigger picture of many sexual dysfunctions, touch could help dissolve mental or emotional blockages. Especially for women who feel expected to live up to or act out certain expectations.

Chiropractic: Are you suffering from a mediocre sex life? Do you find intercourse painful or uninteresting? If so, chiropractic care might be something to consider. This holistic form of medicine can help improve your sex life in many ways, including boosting your libido and reducing back or neck pain. Below you’ll find more information about how chiropractic can be beneficial.

Crystal therapy: Which stones stimulate your libido? Carnelian. “Connected to vital energies, carnelian helps to recharge the sacred chakra and to watch over its balance. It helps stimulate sexual energy, energize female organs and take care of a good internal balance in woman.” Garnet. “A stone of vitality and physical energy, garnet works directly on sexual desire. It revives passions, strengthens intimate bonds and stimulates the libido.” Sunstone. “Sunstone brings self-confidence and assurance and helps overcome complexities and blockages. It soothes the mind and helps to promote confidence in one’s sexual life.”

And lastly: perineum sunning is linked to increased sexual energy, improved sexual health and boosted libido. … But please make sure that your neighbors are out when you do it in your garden!

Happy Valentine, everyone!

Medical Acupuncture is the name of a quarterly journal published for the ‘American Academy of Medical Acupuncture’ that publishes around 60 pro-acupuncture articles every year. Its editor is Richard C. Niemtzow, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H. Richard is a retired US Air Force colonel who was the first full-time physician acupuncturist in the US Armed Forces. He is probably best known for his invention called ‘BATTLE FIELD ACUPUNCTURE’, a form of ear-acupuncture allegedly reducing pain in emergency situations.

Medline lists 79 papers (mostly published in 3rd class journals such as ‘Medical Acupuncture’) in Niemtzow’s name. Only one of them – 21 years ago – was a clinical trial. Here it is:

Purpose: We performed a pilot trial to assess the response of lower urinary tract symptoms and prostate specific antigen (PSA) to acupuncture in a population of patients biopsy negative for prostate cancer.

Materials and methods: A total of 30 patients were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 study groups, including observation for 3 months with 6 blood samples for PSA at set intervals, 9 sessions of acupuncture in 3 months to points of the kidney-bladder distinct meridian expected to treat the prostate with 6 blood samples for PSA at set intervals and 9 sessions of acupuncture in 3 months to points not expected to treat the prostate with 6 blood samples for PSA at set intervals. The effect of acupuncture on lower urinary tract symptoms was assessed monthly using the International Prostate Symptom Score.

Results: Trend analysis (repeated measures ANOVA) revealed no significant changes in the 3-month period in the randomized arms. Statistical analysis showed p = 0.063 for the International Prostate Symptom Score, p = 0.945 for PSA and p = 0.37 for the free-to-total PSA ratio.

Conclusions: Acupuncture to the kidney-bladder distinct meridian neither relieves lower urinary tract symptoms nor impacts PSA.

Yes, an acupuncture study with a negative result!

Niemtzow has, as far as I can see, never himself conducted a study of ‘battle field acupuncture’. In fact, there only very few trials of ‘battle field acupuncture‘. The most recent (albeit lousy) study even suggest that it is less effective than electroacupuncture (EA): EA was more effective than ‘battle field auricular acupuncture’ at reducing pain severity, but both similarly improved physical and mental health scores.

This does not stop Niemtzow to continue praising acupuncture in dozens of papers, particularly his ‘battle field’ version and especially in his ‘own’ journal. The most recent example has just been published; allow me to present an excerpt to you:

In December of 2023, I had the opportunity to visit the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. The only day I had for this visit was characterized by a pouring and chilling rain. This did not stop the crowds of people visiting this famous exhibition. I reminded myself that Van Gogh was a troubled spirit. He lived a short tumultuous life characterized by cutting off his left ear lobe and he spent a sojourn in an asylum. Yet, his art emerged in all its beauty and splendor to become famous in the world. Despite all his troubles, he contributed a precious collection of magnificent art. Many individuals would not have surfaced out of personal disorders to produce such a wonderful gift to society. However, history tells us that many sensational contributions originated from people embroiled in mental health illnesses.

Medical Acupuncture published more than 13 years ago the acupuncture ‘‘diagnosis’’ of Vincent Van Gogh. The article, which is worth rereading, discussed the Five-Element pattern associated with the artist’s hallucinations, alcoholism, severe depression, insomnia, anxiety, dizziness, headaches, nightmares, etc. The author, Vera Kaikobad, LAc, stated: ‘‘It is poignant to realize that a few needles in the hands of a skilled acupuncturist may have spared this great artist such torment and perhaps saved his life.’’ Feasibly, in 2024 we should not only examine our patients for their physical complaints; we should venture into their mental health status as well. A back or neck pain is important, but so is anxiety, insomnia, etc. In promoting mental health, we may assist many patients who are perhaps capable of contributing to the well-being of the world. It is our responsibility as acupuncturists not to think of our patients as a neck or back pain, etc.; instead, we must see them as whole persons having spiritual and physical needs that must be addressed.

I feel that, overall, this remarkable effort justifies Niemtzow’s admission to my ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE HALL OF FAME.

WELCOME, RICHARD!

And let me introduce you to the rest of the 24 laureates:

  1. Helmut Kiene (anthroposophical medicine)
  2. Helge Franke (osteopathy, Germany)
  3. Tery Oleson (acupressure , US)
  4. Jorge Vas (acupuncture, Spain)
  5. Wane Jonas (homeopathy, US)
  6. Harald Walach (various SCAMs, Germany)
  7. Andreas Michalsen ( various SCAMs, Germany)
  8. Jennifer Jacobs (homeopath, US)
  9. Jenise Pellow (homeopath, South Africa)
  10. Adrian White (acupuncturist, UK)
  11. Michael Frass (homeopath, Austria)
  12. Jens Behnke (research officer, Germany)
  13. John Weeks (editor of JCAM, US)
  14. Deepak Chopra (entrepreneur, US)
  15. Cheryl Hawk (chiropractor, US)
  16. David Peters (osteopathy, homeopathy, UK)
  17. Nicola Robinson (TCM, UK)
  18. Peter Fisher (homeopathy, UK)
  19. Simon Mills (herbal medicine, UK)
  20. Gustav Dobos (various SCAMs, Germany)
  21. Claudia Witt (homeopathy, Germany/Switzerland)
  22. George Lewith (acupuncture, UK)
  23. John Licciardone (osteopathy, US)

If I had a £ for each time I was asked during the last few days whether King Charles is going to treat his cancer with homeopathy, I would have my pockets full of cash. The question seems reasonable because he has been singing the praise of homeopathy for decades. But, as I have pointed out previously, he is unlikely to use homeopathy or any other unproven cancer cure; on the contrary he will certainly receive the most effective therapies available today.

In any case, the homeopathic treatment of cancer is currently a most popular topic. As if on command, an article appeared on my screen that promises to address the subject:

“Homoeopathy and Cancer – An Alternative Approach towards the path of Healing”

Here is the abstract of this remarkable paper:

Homoeopathy is a holistic system of medicine rooted on the principle of “Similia Similibus Curentur”. It has gained attention for its potential therapeutic benefits. It offers a holistic approach that addresses both the physical symptoms and emotional well-being of individuals. While this alternative approach of healing has been explored in various health contexts, a notable gap remains in understanding its application in the realm of cancer care. This review seeks to fill this void by exploring the broader landscape of homoeopathy’s principles and applications. Through a critical examination of existing research and evidence, it aims to offer valuable insights into the potential role of homoeopathy as a complementary approach in cancer care and symptomatic relief. This review underscores the need for further research and a more nuanced understanding of homoeopathy’s place in healthcare, particularly in the context of cancer patients and their well-being.

I am sure you are as impressed as I am and keen to learn more. In the article itself, the authors offer some brand-new, cutting-edge science to back up their views:

According to Samuel Hahnemann, “When a person is ill, it is originally merely the spirit-like, autonomic life force (life principle), which is always there in the organism, that is mistuned by the dynamic effect of a morbific agent inimical to life.Only the life principle, tuned incorrectly to such an anomalyis capable of causing irregular functions the body. Cancer may initially be treated as a one-sided disease because the expanded pathology weakens the Vital Force. According to Hahnemann, “Diseases that seem to have just a few symptoms are called one-sided because only one or two prominent symptoms are indicated. This makes these diseases, which primarily fall under the category of chronic diseases, harder to cure. According to Arthur Hill Grimmer, the biggest challenge in treating advanced cancer cases is getting therapeutic individualization of symptoms. Even with all the typical symptoms, it is quite difficult to create a potent homoeopathic prescription. Burnett considered both the characteristic aspects of the patient as well as the ‘action’ or‘organ affinity’ of the remedy he prescribed.

Eventually, the authors (who are affiliated with prestigeous institutions: Rajasthan Ayurved University, Jodhpur; Swasthya Kalyan Homoeopathic Medical College & Research Centre, Jaipur) arrive at the following conclusion:

In the scientific literature, homoeopathy’s use in the treatment of cancer is still largely unexplored. Pioneers have offered intriguing perspectives on disease origins and treatment challenges. The miasmatic perspective offers a distinctive approach that emphasises individualised strategies based on symptoms and characteristics. Some studies suggest an improvement in quality of life of the individuals suffering from cancer. In the dynamic landscape of cancer treatment, more studies are warranted to enhance the scope of holistic, patient-centered care through homoeopathy.

Yes, homeopathy is a joke. This paper (and the many similar publications out there) could thus be intensely funny – except for the fact that these charlatans are playing with the lives of many vulnerable and desperate patients. I sincerely hope Charles manages to stay well clear of homeopathy and its irresponsible practitioners which clearly is one precondition for making a full recovery.

If you live in the UK, it was impossible during the last week or so to escape the news that our King is going into hospital for a ‘corrective procedure’ on his benign prostate problem. Apparently, he is keen to share his diagnosis with the public to encourage other men who may be experiencing symptoms to get checked. “In common with thousands of men each year, the King has sought treatment for an enlarged prostate,” the official statement said.

According to the NHS website, the King should make lifestyle changes, such as:

  • drinking less alcohol, caffeine and fizzy drinks
  • limiting your intake of artificial sweeteners
  • exercising regularly
  • drinking less in the evening

Medicine to reduce the size of the prostate and relax your bladder may be recommended to treat moderate to severe symptoms of an enlarged prostate. Surgery is usually only recommended for moderate to severe symptoms that have not responded to medicine.

It is said that Charles had symptoms since Christmas. So, being the most outspoken fan of so-called alternative medicine (SCAM), why has he not tried SCAM? Has he, for example, tried any of these treatments that have reported at least in one or more studies some promise?:

  • Camelia sinensis (green or black tea),
  • Solanum lycopersicum (common tomato),
  • Punica granatum (pomegranate),
  • Glycine max (common soy),
  • Linum usitatissimum (linen),
  • Ellagic acid,
  • Saw palmetto,
  • Pumpkin seed,
  • Willow herb,
  • Maritime pine bark,
  • Pygeum africanum bark,
  • Rye pollen,
  • Nettle root,
  • Dozens of Chinese herbs,
  • Acupuncture,
  • Homeopathy.

It seems not!

But why not?

Why does the world’s greatest SCAM enthusiast not go for his beloved natural cures and ancient wisdom?

Has Charles been advised that the studies are flimsy and the evidence is unconvincing (in that case, well-done Michael!)? I might have given the same advice. Yet, this begs the question, why are he and his head of the royal medical household, Dr Michael Dixon, fiercely in favor of SCAM? Is the evidence for other conditions any better?

Michael, in case you read this: it is nottrust me, I have studied the subject for >30 years.

Anyway, I would probably have consulted a surgeon too, if I had Charles’ problem. Yet, there is an important difference: I (in common with thousands of men) have to join the UK waiting list which currently stands at around 8 000 000.

Yes, I do try to understand that the King is the King and that I am far less of a priority.

The King is special!

The King deserves special, non-NHS treatment!

But scientific evidence is the scientific evidence, no matter whether it relates to SCAM or surgery. So, why does the King (and Dixon) promote SCAM when he himself does evidently not trust it?

A we have heard from our homeopathic friend, Dana Ullaman, homeopathy works well for plants. Unfortunatley, he was unable to provide any good evidence for his claim. To show what a nice guy I am, I herewith help him out and present a recent study on the subject:

Given the seasonal climatic characteristics, forest fires in “cerrado” areas in Central Brazil are not infrequently, with permanent damage. Due to its physicochemical qualities acting in biological regulation processes, water has been considered the primary vehicle for propagating signals from homeopathic ingredients, as suggested by previous studies carried out with solvatochromic dyes. Therefore, such inputs could, in theory, be inserted into watercourses to stimulate the regeneration of the biome destroyed by fire. This hypothesis motivated this case study.

A slow dispersion device was developed aiming at promoting continuous environmental regeneration, containing hydrocolloid and calcium carbonate as a solid base soaked in a homeopathic complex specifically designed for this purpose, composed of Arsenicum albumArnica montanaStaphysagriaIgnatia amara, and Phosphorus, all at 30cH. The case occurred in Nascentes do Rio Taquari Park, between Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul state, Brazil. It is a “cerrado” area, with multiple springs that feed the Paraguay River, occupying an area of 26,849 hectares over the Guarani and Bauru aquifers.

After the fire in early September 2020, the devices were fixed at 9 strategic points in the park (P1 to P9) over 10 days, between September 29, and October 11, 2020, in water courses close to the main springs. To assess the restoration signs of the post-fire environment, the technicians responsible for monitoring the park made observations of flora and fauna recomposition in different locations close to four device-insertion points (P3, P5, P7, P8).

Signs of recovery were observed 40 days after the fire was over. A rapid pioneer plant restructuring was noted, with a significant regrowth of grass, herbaceous and shrub species, such as Mutamba (Guazuma ulmifolia), Murici (Byrsonima spp.), Inga (Inga sp.), Brachiaria (Brachiaria sp.), Jaraguá grass (Hyparrhenia rufa), Colonião grass (Panicum maximum), Gabiroba (Campomanesia sp.), and Pixirica (Miconia sp.). Some species, such as Mimosa (Mimosa sp.), Colonião grass (Panicum maximum), and Jaraguá grass (Hyparrhenia rufa), were not detected in the area before the fire, probably by the seed bank stimulation caused by the heat. There was rapid forest regeneration (4 months after the fire) and restoration of most of the burned trees, both for resisting the fire and for being free of invasive species highly aggressive to native plants, which were controlled by the action of fire. Concerning the fauna, a vast animal population was detected, especially birds, highlighting the “Tuiuiú” (Jabiru mycteria) and “Socó” (Tigrisoma lineatum) close to a water body with a waterfall area (P3). Both species belong to the “Pantanal” biome close to the park. Such species began to frequent the park’s lakes, being observed until February 2023 (the last survey date). The park’s inventory of lichens and fungi showed an unusual tolerance to fire in species that adhered to burned trees and remained active.

In this way, it is suggested that installing slow dispersion devices in watercourses can contribute to the regeneration of other “cerrado” biome areas subjected to fire, protecting the local biodiversity. More studies of this nature are needed to know the real impact of this method on the recovery of different biomes.

Convinced?

I suspect Dana might be (he seems to be particularly prone to confirmation bias) – but rational thinkers do probably have questions; let me just mention two:

  • Was there a control area with which the findings were compared?
  • Was the outcome measure objective?

As the answers are NO and NO, I fear that we need to disappoint Dana yet again:

homeopathy is a placebo treatment no matter whether we apply it to humans, animals or plants.

I am sure that I am not the only one who feels with or friend, regular contributor, and expert in uncritical thinking, Dana Ullman. His heart-warming defence of homeopathy entirely depends on the notion that homeopathy is nano-medicine. As Dana’s views are more and more discredited, the poor man understandably gets more and more desperate. This development has now gone so far that Dana seems on the brink of cracking up.

Who would not feel with him?

What we urgently need to save Dana’s sanity is a new concept that could be used to defend the indefensible.

In the nick of time, here comes a lone researcher of homeopathy from India. Amarnath Sen has just published his hypothesis that will surely save the endangered mental stage of our friend, Dana Ullman. Here is the abstract:

The apparent absence of drugs in ultra-diluted homeopathic medicines and contested clinical trial results plague homeopathy. In this paper, it is argued that other than drugs, homeopathic medicines contain proteins as components of microbial lysates (products of lysis or disintegration of microbial cells), given that ubiquitous microorganisms from the surrounding environment are unknowingly and unavoidably incorporated into the homeopathic medicines during their preparation and are killed and lysed in ethanol/water drug vehicle forming immunomodulatory microbial lysates during ‘potentization’ (dilution and vigorous shaking) of the medicines. The drugs present in the homeopathic medicines bind to the proteins, which are the major ingredients of the microbial lysates. The drug/protein interaction modulates the conformations and in effect, the immunogenicity of the proteins (designated as modulated proteins). In ultra-diluted medicines even in the absence of drugs, unmodulated proteins are modulated through interactions with allosterically coupled modulated proteins (protein-protein interaction). The modulated proteins of characteristic immunogenicity present in the homeopathic medicines mediate antigen-specific mucosal (sublingual) immunotherapy like vaccine therapy via ‘similia principle’. In addition, immunomodulatory microbial lysates present in the homeopathic medicines mediate non-specific immunotherapy and also provide adjuvants for antigen-specific immunotherapy. The proposed hypothesis without invoking any controversial concept can explain the basic ‘laws’ of homeopathy. Incidentally, immunomodulatory activities of homeopathic medicines reported by different workers support the hypothesis. As immunotherapy in homeopathy is accidental and hence, in crude form, clinical trial results may occasionally show inconsistencies. However, probing and refining homeopathy from the perspective of immunotherapy may bring forth a simple, reliable and affordable immunotherapy for various diseases.

Convinced?

Me neither!

The concept is clearly as bonkers as all the others trying to explain homeopathy. Yet, I am optimistic that it might save our friend Dana Ullman. After all, it is not more silly than the notion that homeopathy is nano-medicine – and remeber: even an US judge certified Dana:

The Court found Mr. Ullman’s testimony to be not credible. Mr. Ullman’s bias in favor of homeopathy and against conventional medicine was readily apparent from his testimony. He admitted that he was not an impartial expert but rather is a passionate advocate of homeopathy. He posted on Twitter that he views conventional medicine as witchcraft. He opined that conventional medical science cannot be trusted.

So, there is hope!

Amarnath Sen and is ‘concept’ might just do the trick and restore Dana’s state of mind.

Since the introduction of their new Education Standards in March 2023, the General Chiropractic Council (GCC) has been working with chiropractic education providers to support them in implementing the changes to their curricula. Recently, the GCC have stated this:

We expect students to be taught evidence-based practice: integrating individual clinical expertise, the best available evidence from current and credible clinical research, and the values and preferences of patients. Chiropractors are important members of a patient’s healthcare team, and interprofessional approaches enable the best outcomes. Programmes that meet these Standards will teach ethical, professional care and produce competent healthcare professionals who can serve the needs of patients.

These are indeed most encouraging words!

Basically, they are saying that chiropractic education will now have to be solidly based on the principles of evidence-based medicine (EBM) as well as sound medical ethics. Let me spell out what this really means. Chiropractic courses must teach that:

  • The current and credible clinical evidence suggesting that spinal manipulations, the hallmark intervention of chiropractors, are effective is weak for back pain and negative or absent for all other conditions.
  • The current and credible clinical evidence suggests that spinal manipulations, the hallmark intervention of chiropractors, can cause harm which in many instances is serious.
  • The current and credible clinical evidence thus suggests that the risk/benefit balance for spinal manipulations, the hallmark intervention of chiropractors, is not positive.
  • Medical ethics require that competent healthcare professionals inform their patients that spinal manipulations, the hallmark intervention of chiropractors, may not generate more good than harm which is the reason why they cannot employ these therapies.

So, the end of chiropractic in the UK is looming!

Unless, of course, the GCC’s words are not really meant to be translated into action. They could be just window dressing and politically correct bullshit. But that’ s really far too far fetched – after all they come from the GENERAL CHIROPRACTIC COUNCIL, known for its excellent track record, e.g.:

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.

 

Subscribe via email

Enter your email address to receive notifications of new blog posts by email.

Recent Comments

Note that comments can be edited for up to five minutes after they are first submitted but you must tick the box: “Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.”

The most recent comments from all posts can be seen here.

Archives
Categories