Okay, I’ve got a whole bunch of material today that suggests the “Alternative” “Medicine” industry is in dire straits.
1. First up, the AP reported yesterday about the many dangerous toxins found in “natural” products. This is kinda hilarious because of course one of the chief selling points Alt. Med. practitioners make is that their products are toxin-free. Just about every altie plays the toxin gambit, insisting how real medicine is full of evil, dangerous toxins, but not their products. And of course, the accusations of dangerous toxins in real medicine are a crock of shit. So now it seems their projecting the problems with their own products onto others.
One quarter of supplements tested by an independent company over the last decade have had some sort of problem. Some contained contaminants. Others had contents that did not match label claims. Some had ingredients that exceeded safe limits. Some contained real drugs masquerading as natural supplements.
This underlines another flaw in the whole Alt Med system. Unlike real medicine, there’s no oversight protocols to properly regulate products to ensure they are safe and that people are actually getting what they pay for. System Fail.
“Echinacea for colds. Ginkgo biloba for memory. Glucosamine and chondroitin for arthritis. Black cohosh for menopausal hot flashes. Saw palmetto for prostate problems. Shark cartilage for cancer. All proved no better than dummy pills in big studies funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The lone exception: ginger capsules may help chemotherapy nausea.”
Ultimately, this is what inevitably happens almost every time carefully done tests are conducted on Alt Med treatments. The quality of the test protocols have a direct inverse relationship to how effective the treatments turn out to be. The better the study, the smaller the effect size of the “treatment.” Test Fail.
3. Next up, after the British Chiropractic Association won their libel case against Simon Singh (though he’s fighting the decision), the chiropractors are suddenly running scared:
. . .the McTimoney Chiropractic Association has strongly warned its practitioners to take down their websites and replace any information on their techniques with just brief contact information. Why would they do that?
Because of what we consider to be a witch hunt against chiropractors, we are now issuing the following advice:
The target of the campaigners is now any claims for treatment that cannot be substantiated with chiropractic research. The safest thing for everyone to do is […] [i]f you have a website, take it down NOW.
Ya gotta laugh at the absurdity of this. If the chiropractors are as upstanding as they claim to be, what do they have to be afraid of? Shouldn’t the chiropractors have been sure to not put unsubstantiated claims on their websites from the start?
It’s very telling, isn’t it, that the McTimoney group isn’t telling its people to only stick with proven methods, but instead to take down any claims that might get them sued.
If you go to the McTimoney website, all it has now is a terse note with contact information, with no other information on the technique at all.
Of course, if they do have unsubstantiated claims on their website, they can’t hide it now because the internet remembers all and erases nothing. C’mon chiropractors, what do you have to hide? Evasive Action Fail.
When Palella learned he had cancer, he added the chiropractor’s “prostate cancer protocol” to the other combos he was taking. They had names ending in “plex” and he had no idea what they contained. He swallowed more than three dozen pills each day, and was thrilled to learn that his ex-wife, also a chiropractor, could get them for half price instead of the $700 they would have cost him.
Uh oh! I see where this is going:
“I didn’t think they were medications. They’re not prescription, they’re not drugs. This is all natural substances, made from natural products,” he explained.
But he told the dietitian the truth. She was alarmed, and at his next visit, “She had a file ready for me,” Palella said. She said that some of his herbal pills could interfere with hormone treatments for his cancer, and showed him a recent medical study raising concern about that.
. . .
“I thought I was really doing a great thing and strengthening my immune system,” he said. “I feel so stupid.”
That’s why they publish Alternative Medicine For Dummies. Because that’s what you feel like after you realize that there is no alternative to real medicine. Diagnosis Fail.
5. And the final story is Deepak Chopra’s pathetic attempt to stick up for Oprah after Newsweek heavily criticized her for her promotion of pseudoscientific medicine. I addressed Oprah’s own poor attempt to justify her nonsense here. Chopra goes for the Sarah Palin defense: dodge the issues by attacking the “gotcha media.” Well as Julia Sweeney says, “Deepack Chopra is full of shit!” Defense Fail.