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

The 30 most recent comments from all posts are listed below. Click on the post title to go to the comment on the post’s page.

  • Comment by Richard Rawlins on Does acupuncture prevent migraine attacks? Monday 30 March 2020: 10:03 Very many thanks for this perspicacious review. There are a lot of technical details to this paper which are beyond me! And thank you for referencing Dr Liji Thomas' paper which concludes: "In the face of a small and limited study, such recommendations seem to underline the fact that the secret agenda of such research is to help change the perception of acupuncture as an unproven tool used by complementary medicine practitioners to one which is based on clinical evidence." The BMJ's editorial writer, Dr Helen Angus-Leppan MD FRCP, should be castigated for having suggested that "Xu and colleague's findings provide a solid evidence base for a non-pharmacological treatment often dismissed as an unproven complementary therapy...we now have good evidence that acupuncture is an effective treatment for episodic migraine", and for suggesting that "acupuncture might be a first choice for people who want to avoid pharmacological treatment...". Clearly such an opinion is contentious. Dr Angus-Leppan comes to those conclusions whilst acknowledging that “the effects of acupuncture are modest (2.1 fewer migraine days per month in the current study), and it is difficult for clinicians to know whether this level of benefit would be noticeable to patients.” If not noticeable, it can hardly be said there is any benefit. Dr Angus-Leppan knows perfectly well what the consensus on acupuncture is, and that 'extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.' After centuries, it is remarkable that here is a paper with the results as now published. It is more extraordinary that the BMJ published such a supportive editorial without more balance. Dr Angus-Leppan’s comment that “Given that almost 90% of people with frequent migraine have no effective preventative treatment, acupuncture provides a useful additional tool in our therapeutic armoury” demonstrates the logical fallacy of non-sequitur: The study confused ‘migraine prophylaxis’ (prevention of migraine) with therapy of patients experiencing migraine. Its conclusions were that “manual acupuncture was more effective than sham acupuncture and usual care in reducing migraine headaches.” No mention of preventing them ab initio. Dr Angus-Lappan’s reasoning may appear to be plausible and valid, but it is a logical fallacy. Sigh. And a bigger sigh for the BMJ which allowed an editorial with such confirmation bias.
  • Comment by Edzard on Does acupuncture prevent migraine attacks? Monday 30 March 2020: 09:03 only just saw this review of the same study https://www.news-medical.net/news/20200325/Does-acupuncture-relieve-migraines.aspx?utm_content=buffere873b&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
  • Comment by Lenny on Oscillococcinum, the homeopathic solution to the coronavirus threat? Monday 30 March 2020: 08:03 Beverley Have you looked at any of the links you posted and what they say? How about Vickers and Smith "Current evidence does not support a preventative effect of Oscillococcinum‐like homeopathic medicines in influenza and influenza‐like syndromes." The difference in the 1918 pandemic figures is simply explained by the lack of aspirin which is thought to have increased mortality. Homeopathy is nonsense, Beverly. Bunkum. Twaddle. It has been laughed at since Mad Sam first dreamed it up. It has had 200 years to prove itself. It has not done so and never will. It will continue to have no place in any reputable healthcare system. But the believers will remain. And we will continue to laugh at them.
  • Comment by Edzard on Oscillococcinum, the homeopathic solution to the coronavirus threat? Monday 30 March 2020: 07:03 https://edzardernst.com/2017/02/homeopaths-love-it-the-epidemiological-evidence-suggesting-that-homeopathy-works/
  • Comment by Beverly Smith on Oscillococcinum, the homeopathic solution to the coronavirus threat? Sunday 29 March 2020: 22:03 Responding to Chris: Hi Chris, I, and my family, also have had amazing results from oscillococcinum over the years for flu-like symptoms, e.g. body aches, headache, fever, chills, fatigue. Whether or not it is indicated for covid-19 if symptoms are other than those listed above is not yet known to me at this time. I however, keep it on hand just in case because it can't hurt, and could help with covid-19. At $15, it is worth it to me to keep it around and to use at the first signs of symptoms especially fever and fatigue which are often mentioned as covid-19 symptoms. Oscillo is offered as a remedy to reduce the severity and shorten the duration of flu-like symptoms. Clinical study for Oscillococcinum:Vickers A, Smith C. Homoeopathic Oscillococcinum for preventing and treating influenza and influenza-like syndromes. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD001957. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001957.pub3. In response to your comment that there is no evidence that homeopathy is effective, skeptics and naysayers would like us to think that, but there actually is a plethora of evidence from human records, studies, trials, and human experience such as you have witnessed with countless other human beings over the past 200 years. The track record for homeopathy during epidemics and pandemics is impressive. Mortality rates were extremely reduced among those who were treated with homeopathy. (Refer to links below) The scientific community has a difficult time because it is not yet known how homeopathy works which is troubling to them. However, in the example below, sometimes science is forced to accept human experience without understanding the mechanism. Case in point follows. During the 1918 influenza epidemic that killed approximately 600,000 Americans, the inexplainable human experience was there 600,000 (plus or minus) times. It needed no scientific proof. It was real, but science could not explain the cause, or the mechanism, only the human response. Science did not yet have the tools to discover viruses. Microscopes were not yet powerful enough to see the viruses, and it couldn't explain it, nor treat it, yet the human experience was there daily...hourly! Here is a PBS Documentary about influenza pandemic in the US. It is not about homeopathy:[https://www.pbs.org/video/american-experience-influenza-1918/] Homeopathy and its successes and the 1918 influenza pandemic (Spanish Flu), excerpt from 2nd link below: "Perhaps the most recent use of homeopathy in a major epidemic was during the Influenza Pandemic of 1918. The Journal of the American Institute for Homeopathy, May, 1921, had a long article about the use of homeopathy in the flu epidemic. Dr. T A McCann, from Dayton, Ohio reported that 24,000 cases of flu treated allopathically had a mortality rate of 28.2% while 26,000 cases of flu treated homeopathically had a mortality rate of 1.05%. This last figure was supported by Dean W.A. Pearson of Philadelphia (Hahnemann College) who collected 26,795 cases of flu treated with homeopathy with the above results." Links for homeopathic historical human records, studies, and trials...historical perspective in pandemics: http://www.homeopathycenter.org/homeoprophylaxis-human-records-studies-and-trials [http://www.homeopathycenter.org/treatment-epidemics-homeopathy-history On a personal note, if you have concerns about contracting the covid-19, besides the common protocol of washing hands and social distancing, self quarantining, etc., I suggest the following things: research on line which foods, vitamins and minerals support the immune system and especially the respiratory system and indulge. I personally use high potency vitamin C daily, and garlic (helps with social distancing! 😉 and ginger, both of which are good for the lungs. I cured a severe case of bronchitis many years ago with a strong tea of fresh garlic cloves (tastes awful!) alternated with a strong tea of fresh ginger with honey. It started to break up congestion immediately in fact I experienced that a few weeks ago when I started taking garlic. Seems to be cleaning out my lungs! That being said, I would also get in touch with a reputable homeopath for suggestions of what you personally do for protections. Nice to have one as a fall back! Wishing you well, and everyone who reads this. Onward to good health!
  • Comment by Leo on Coronavirus: useless and potentially dangerous propaganda for TCM from Chinese officials Sunday 29 March 2020: 21:03 The article states: Various flavonoids isolated from this traditional Chinese medicinal plant were shown to have antiandrogenic and growth inhibitory activity against prostate cancer cells in vitro and in vivo [19-26]
  • Comment by Edzard on “So what homeopathic remedy should I take for Coronavirus?” The answer is NONE -and please avoid people who tell you otherwise! Sunday 29 March 2020: 17:03 How amazingly reliable! 'Aspirin is the most pernicious drug of all.' DO YOU REALLY WANT TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY?
  • Comment by Dr. Heinrich Hümmer on “So what homeopathic remedy should I take for Coronavirus?” The answer is NONE -and please avoid people who tell you otherwise! Sunday 29 March 2020: 17:03 And even some more for the one, who claims to be well informed.... https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwjlp4DsicDoAhVcUhUIHdXCCgYQFjAAegQIBhAB&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ecampnd.com%2Fhomeopathy%2FA_Chorus_of_Fifty_in_Harmony.pdf&usg=AOvVaw2BNesSPKagWlUpbMPJKiJf
  • Comment by jm on Herbalists join the ‘Corona-Virus Quackery Club’ Sunday 29 March 2020: 16:03 That would make Amazon the herbalist. Jesse Santiano is an MD, apparently an emergency room physician at Mercy Hospital in Buffalo, NY.
  • Comment by Santra on “So what homeopathic remedy should I take for Coronavirus?” The answer is NONE -and please avoid people who tell you otherwise! Sunday 29 March 2020: 16:03 //And you might find it interesting, that homeopathy was not even mentioned in the report of how New York fared through the 1918 influenza epicdemic: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2862336/pdf/phr125s30071.pdf// https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4Zo7nj02Po&feature=youtu.be is a video from the American Institute of Homeopathy. One of the speakers is a doctor from the Stanford school of Medicine. Its about the epidemics covered by Homeopathy including the one mentioned by u. It s a long video. Not really interested in an argument
  • Comment by Norbert Aust on “So what homeopathic remedy should I take for Coronavirus?” The answer is NONE -and please avoid people who tell you otherwise! Sunday 29 March 2020: 14:03 Same problem still. How do you know if someone died from COVID-19? I would say by testing. Or by counting the deaths among the people tested positive. So figures depend on the coverage of testing for corona-infections.
  • Comment by Santra on “So what homeopathic remedy should I take for Coronavirus?” The answer is NONE -and please avoid people who tell you otherwise! Sunday 29 March 2020: 14:03 No assessments./ counts of cases Only fatalities USA : 2250 (almost) India: 25 + Also no arguments.
  • Comment by Norbert Aust on “So what homeopathic remedy should I take for Coronavirus?” The answer is NONE -and please avoid people who tell you otherwise! Sunday 29 March 2020: 14:03 Yes, that is right: It would be very unethical to withhold any potentially effective treatment, additional or as sole therapy. But unfortunately homeopathy does not fall under this condition. And you might find it interesting, that homeopathy was not even mentioned in the report of how New York fared through the 1918 influenza epicdemic: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2862336/pdf/phr125s30071.pdf
  • Comment by Norbert Aust on “So what homeopathic remedy should I take for Coronavirus?” The answer is NONE -and please avoid people who tell you otherwise! Sunday 29 March 2020: 14:03 No, figures are not facts if you do not know how they were assessed and if the baseline is the same (percentage of people tested, thoroughness of reportinng with regard to numbers and timely delays). Then, if the numbers are different, you must find some explanation why this should have happened due to homeopathy and not instead of homeopathy. Conclusion: Your account of the situation in India, if at all correct, does not provide any clue. And questions #2 and #3 would be essential to establish if homeopathy does better with the virus or if this is just wishfu.l thinking.
  • Comment by Santra on “So what homeopathic remedy should I take for Coronavirus?” The answer is NONE -and please avoid people who tell you otherwise! Sunday 29 March 2020: 13:03 "If figures are facts. . . ". The difference is between 2250 and 25. . . . . No despicable deception No gullible public Only figures and facts . The figures are all over the web. The Ayush advisory is on the web too
  • Comment by Edzard on “So what homeopathic remedy should I take for Coronavirus?” The answer is NONE -and please avoid people who tell you otherwise! Sunday 29 March 2020: 13:03 ... and the despicable deception of homeopaths is that they claim to the gullible public that their placebos MIGHT help. they might help, if the patient has subjective symptoms, but to claim they might help against a deadly virus is criminally unethical.
  • Comment by Dr. Heinrich Hümmer on “So what homeopathic remedy should I take for Coronavirus?” The answer is NONE -and please avoid people who tell you otherwise! Sunday 29 March 2020: 12:03 Ceterum censeo: I think it is DANGEROUSLY UNETHICAL to withhold ANY (!) POTENTIALLY (!)(!)(!) EFFECTIVE ADDITIONAL (!) therapy from a purely dogmatic stubbornness, especially under the given dramatic circumstances. This from a practical therapist und not from theorizing cynicism! People in the homeopathic clinics in New York 1918 did not ask, if their survival was evident, they were just very-very happy! https://twitter.com/AmyShircel If you are in this state of health, and schoolmedicin can´t help you [I don´t talk of the stadium when ICU with ventilation is needed and lifesaving], YOU will welcome EVERYTHING which MIGHT help YOU.
  • Comment by Björn Geir on Ethical homeopathy Sunday 29 March 2020: 12:03 If you know the pudding to be cow dung, and the look and smell reinforces your suspicion, then why try it? Or, to be closer to the matter at hand, let's say the proverbial pudding looks, smells and comes from the tap like water, then why expect it to be more than water? Why expect shaken water soaked sugar pills to be anything more than... that? Everything about homeopathy and its so called remedies tells us it is make-believe medicine. You can try it but you do not need to. If you try it and whatever ails you happens to get better, then you are just plain stupid if you think it was the homeoremedy that did the trick, just because it came before the change and some homeopathist says it.
  • Comment by Edzard on The coronavirus, Boris Johnson, herd-immunity, doubts and questions Sunday 29 March 2020: 12:03 an interesting Lancet editorial: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30727-3/fulltext
  • Comment by Santra on “So what homeopathic remedy should I take for Coronavirus?” The answer is NONE -and please avoid people who tell you otherwise! Sunday 29 March 2020: 12:03 Ur questions : 1)Maybe nothing Yet if figures are facts may i say this USA and India reported the first cases of Corona positive cases almost simultaneously. However unlike USA there was something that stood between the people in India and the Corona Virus. This came in the form of an Advisory from something called AYUSH, a government of India body, which advised a homeopathic medicine Arsenic Album 30 . Lots of people took it. Los of people did not . Yet something has happened in India . There is definitely a dilution in the the virus load in the community due to some reason. That's what the figures say. It is not about the number of CORONA + ive cases reported. Many are not reported/ tested . Lots of people are using Homeeopathy when symptoms appears instead of getting tested. They, obviously are not in the "ACTIVE CASES" count . Surely there is a big big difference between the figures 2250 and 25 (fatalities ) (as of today ). Whatever said and done, at the current point of time the curve of India is lagging far far behind especially considering the tremendous population density of India Ayush has advised a 2nd dose at 1 month. Many may take it , many may not. Even if it is only a "Placebo effect" let it be. . . .it is the difference between the numbers 2250 and 25 (USA / India) over a time of nearly or less than a month. 2 and 3 are just for arguments sake . No use . Waste of time.
  • Comment by Dr Julian Money-Kyrle on Herbalists join the ‘Corona-Virus Quackery Club’ Sunday 29 March 2020: 12:03 Although some of the items on that list are foods, some are known to be poisonous (hellebore and daffodils for a start) so there is a danger that people might try to prepare their own remedies from garden or wild plants. There have already been deaths from chloroquine poisoning where people have self-medicated. On the other hand I was out foraging yesterday collecting ramsons (wild garlic) and stinging nettles, both of which grow in abundance around the country house where my wife and I are isolating ourselves. The result was delicious soup (using a recipe from the BBC Good Food web site) but it never crossed my mind that it might have medicinal properties.
  • Comment by Steve Tonkin on Ethical homeopathy Sunday 29 March 2020: 11:03 unicorn dung Marketing opportunity for the cynically unethical here! A bit of pretentious Latinisation (in order to disguise what it actually is), allied to outlandish and unverifiable claims that have never been specifically falsified, and there are fortunes to be made from marketing Stercus Monocerotis.
  • Comment by Edzard on Herbalists join the ‘Corona-Virus Quackery Club’ Sunday 29 March 2020: 11:03 herbalist noun [ C ] UK /ˈhɜː.bəl.ɪst/ US /ˈɝː.bəl.ɪst/ a person who grows or sells herbs for use as medicine
  • Comment by DC on Herbalists join the ‘Corona-Virus Quackery Club’ Sunday 29 March 2020: 11:03 Perhaps you should have said you are including MDs, not herbalists? From the website: “I have been requested to return as a doctor in my previous emergency room and I plan to apply clinically what I have learned from my readings.”
  • Comment by Dr Julian Money-Kyrle on Ethical homeopathy Sunday 29 March 2020: 10:03 a more contemporary sense impling that the proof is indeed in the pudding Sorry to be pedantic, but the meaning of this saying is that you can't know the quality or effectiveness of something until you have tried it out. You test a pudding by eating it.
  • Comment by Richard Rawlins on Ethical homeopathy Sunday 29 March 2020: 08:03 Thank you Leigh. That's all I ask. The GMC will not (and cannot) ban homeopathy, or stop doctors from fairy wrangling or searching for unicorn dung to add to their remedies - but it has set standards of integrity when it comes to obtaining informed consent, and should stringently require its registrants to apply them. And 'informed consent' requires a patient to be told all information reasonably relevant to assist their decision making. The advice that the former CMO Dame Sally Davies described homeopathy as "rubbish" and that the CEO of the NHS has all but banned the use of homeopathic remedies in the NHS on the grounds of lack of demonstrable efficacy, should be conveyed to the patient. If the patient disregards conventional opinion, so be it. NHS doctors can still use homeopathic remedies if the psychological state of the patient is such that denial of treatment they are already receiving would cause significant psychological trauma. Post Withdrawal Stress Disorder - PWSD. Or perhaps 'Potential WSD' is more accurate - as we would not want any particularly sensitive and distressed patient established on a homeopathic regime to suffer by withdrawing. Denying remedies to demanding new patients is a different matter.
  • Comment by Richard Rawlins on Ethical homeopathy Sunday 29 March 2020: 08:03 Julian and Steve: I agree "to prove" derives from probare and can mean "to test" (probably!), but homeopaths use the term with abandom in a more contemporary sense impling that the proof is indeed in the pudding - that the case is proven - has been tested and can be regarded as 'true'. It is this use of 'proving' to which I object. A phony proof. There is no reason the term 'test' or 'experiment' could not be used (in English), but look at the homeopathic articles, websites and commentators - they all suggest there has been or is 'proof' in the sense of veracity. They intend their audience to be misled. Why else use 'proving', 'proof'? That usage lacks integrity and is unethical. QED. IMHO.
  • Comment by Richard Rawlins on Ethical homeopathy Sunday 29 March 2020: 08:03 Julian and Steve: I agree "to prove" derives from probare and can mean "to test" (probably!), but homeopaths use the term with abandom in a more contemporary sense impling that the proof is indeed in the pudding - that the case is proven - has been tested and can be regarded as 'true'. It is this use of 'prooving' to which I object. There is no reason the term 'test' or 'experiment' could not be used (in English), but look at the homeopathic articles, websites and commentators - they all suggest there has been or is 'proof' in the sense of veracity. They intend their audience to be misled. Why else use 'proving', 'proof'? That usage lacks integrity and is unethical. QED. IMHO.
  • Comment by Chris on Oscillococcinum, the homeopathic solution to the coronavirus threat? Sunday 29 March 2020: 00:03 I don't leave comments unless I have something that matters and might help others. I believe in medical doctors. I have a great family physician and have been to her for bronchitis and pneumonia over the years. I have always followed her advice and she has helped me heal most of the time. I am in my 50's now and also know my body and have used alternative methods to heal. (chiropractor and supplements) Two years ago a friend introduced me to Ocillococcinum. I used it first as a preventative when I was flying frequently during the winter months to see my son out West in 2018. We are from Michigan. That winter I never got the flu. Last winter 2019 I was close to home supporting parents who were dying from cancer at the same time. I was in and out of the hospital for three months straight. I have several incidences where I felt that cold/flu like symptoms coming on. I took Oscillococcinum as directed and symptoms disappeared right away. This fall my husband and my son each came home within days of each other with cold symptoms. I immediately had them take the Boiron medication for colds. The next day all symptoms where gone and have not returned since them. Today is March 29 and now Detroit is a Cova19 hot spot. We are very worried about contracting the "Virus". We are basically quarantined in our home except for grocery store runs. My whole family is taking the Oscillococcinum as a preventative. I know there isn't any evidence these homeopathic medications work but I want you know they have worked for us. If we did get sick and needed medical care we would seek it out. I also believe in taking elderberry and liposomal vitamin C and vitamin D. We take these supplements regularly in our home. I wish you well on your journey to stay healthy during this pandemic.
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