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Tens of millions for CAM research — and it’s all on your dime

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The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA) was signed on September 26, 2006. The intent is to empower every American with the ability to hold the government accountable for each spending decision. The end result is to reduce wasteful spending in the government. The FFATA legislation requires information on federal awards (federal financial assistance and expenditures) be made available to the public via a single, searchable website, which is www.USASpending.gov.

And what subject is more deserving of being held accountable by the American people than complementary/alternative/integrative medicine? After all, in what other area of government spending does scientific implausibility – indeed, even scientific impossibility – offer no impediment to spending millions of taxpayer dollars in research funds? We’ve complained about the NCCAM’s wasteful spending on pseudomedicine here on SBM several times: here, here, here and here, among others. As you shall see, the problem doesn’t stop at that particular $2.5 billion.

I ask you: does NASA fund astrology research? No. Does it give money to schools teaching astrology? No. Does the Department of Transportation fund studies of perpetual motion machines as an “alternative” engine for vehicles? Not to my knowledge. How about the Department of the Interior? Do they give people money to look for woodland nymphs? Don’t think so.

The beauty of www.USASpending.gov is that it allows us to hone in on exactly who the beneficiaries of this wasteful government largesse are and what are they are being compensated for, over a period of 2001 to 2014. (Imperfectly, however. The website is somewhat creaky and it’s not always clear how they are getting their totals. Also, I’m using amounts from a search of the “prime awards” only. Your results may differ.) That’s how I know the federal government has not spent a single penny on perpetual motion machines or locating woodland nymphs. I did find one study of “Art and Astrology in Renaissance Italy” that got $40,000 from the National Endowment of the Humanities. Of course, the 1300s – 1500s is exactly where astrology should be, along with acupuncture and other pre-scientific concepts.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture, on the other hand, has received more government funding than astrology. Much, much more. A whopping $76,848,958 since 2001, in the form of contracts, grants and direct payments. Small Business Association loans accounted for an additional $250,000, including $80,000 to the Eternal Health Wellness Acupuncture Center in San Jose, California, which claims to treat a wide variety of diseases and conditions, such as MS, macro [sic] degeneration, bipolar disorder and herpes, among many others.

The biggest beneficiary of acupuncture research funds has been Massachusetts General Hospital, which received $23,229,593 from NIH between 2009 and 2014 (we are just shy of finishing the 2014 fiscal year). Many of those research dollars went into brain imaging studies of patients being treated with acupuncture, or who were thinking about being treated with acupuncture (“An fMRI study of expectancy on acupuncture treatment outcomes in knee OA”). As Steve Novella and David Coloquhoun pointed out, looking at surrogate outcomes is inappropriate until it is shown that patients get a useful degree of relief, and that hasn’t happened yet. (You can see some of the fruits of your tax dollars being used to stick people with needles and look at their brains here.)

The Department of Defense and Veterans Administration are also big fans of acupuncture research. Although they can’t match NCCAM, they’ve spent close to $8 million on such unpromising research projects as that conducted by the New England School of Acupuncture for “Effectiveness of Acupuncture in the Treatment of Gulf War Illness.” The school, recipient of a little over $5.5 million, promotes such appalling quackery as this:

Pediatrics in general and neurodevelopmental pediatrics in particular are perfect opportunities to apply the principles and practices of Chinese Medicine to help children manifest their destiny. In this two-day workshop, Stephen Cowan MD, developmental pediatrician and author of Fire Child Water Child will offer an in-depth discussion of the physiological unfoldings in child development and the treatment approaches to common developmental dysfunctions that include: attention deficit disorder, emotional dysregulation, learning disabilities and autism.

To add insult to injury, the school has a white coat ceremony for students. Yet another honored medical tradition corrupted by “alternative medicine.”

The Department of Defense paid $750,000 to the Samueli Institute for “Acupuncture for the Treatment of Trauma-Induced Spectrum Disorder: A Three-Arm Randomized Pilot Study.” (The results of a Samueli-sponsored study of acupuncture for PTSD touted before a Congressional Committee last year still have not been reported, as far as I can tell.)

The Samueli Institute is led by Wayne Jonas. M.D., and promotes “integrative medicine” and various “alternative” therapies, such as acupuncture and healing touch, an issue I addressed before on SBM. All in all, the Institute has received over $31 million in taxpayer funds from the Department of Defense and over $43 million in taxpayer dollars altogether since 2003, although none in 2014.

Dr. Jonas recently wrote an opinion piece in JAMA Internal Medicine in which he expressed concern over opioid use for pain in the military and called for a “better way.” And how might we discover this “better way?” More research on integrative medicine. I think we can see where this is headed.

Perhaps just as disturbing as the actual studies are the monies spent in spreading acupuncture throughout the military. Last year, the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine Research got over $3 million for acupuncture training “across clinical settings.” Joseph M. Helms, MD, PC, (a proponent of medical acupuncture) has received $1.3 million, much of it for education and curriculum development

Chiropractic

The government has spent almost $120 million on chiropractic, including $4.4 million on Small Business Administration loans to chiropractic practices. There are also direct student loans, but those show up as $0, a curious outcome considering the default rate on chiropractic student loans runs into the millions of dollars. (Again, it’s not clear how the government is reaching the totals given on the website.) The balance is in grants, contracts and direct payments.

One of the primary benefactors of government monies is Palmer Chiropractic College, which received $14 million from the NIH and the Department of HHS Health Resources and Services Administration, as well as the military. These monies have gone toward the establishment of, and research conducted by, the Palmer Research Center. We’ve mentioned the Center before, in its conduct of a study which didn’t seem to produce much of anything in the way of useful results. (See Orac’s dissection here.) That didn’t stop another $7 million plus from going to the RAND Corporation, which will, with the help of the Research Center and the Samueli Institute, conduct an even larger study of standard medical care alone plus standard medical care and “chiropractic care.” One wonders why not just spinal manipulative therapy, not “chiropractic care?” At least that would help isolate the variable that may produce an effect. Or why not medical care and physical therapy?

The study’s title reveals a curious mixture of subjects: “Assessment of Chiropractic Treatment for Low Back Pain, Military Readiness, and Smoking Cessation in Military Active Duty Personnel.” Smoking cessation, by the way, will not be a part of standard medical care – only the chiropractors will get to do that. Let’s just imagine what the results will be: patients who get the extra time and attention beyond standard medical care will do better and this study won’t tell us why, including whether it was simply the extra attention.

But the problems with giving Palmer College all this money go beyond the questionable utility of spending millions of dollars on this study. Palmer is firmly rooted in the non-existent subluxation and its students are required to be proficient in its “detection” and “correction.” As befitting a school loyal to the subluxation, it teaches quack diagnostic and treatment methods like the NUCCA technique and the Atlas Orthogonal Technique. And although the Palmer College website is suspiciously silent on immunizations, chiropractic opposition to vaccination is well-known and one doubts that students are taught objective, evidence-based guidelines for immunizations.

The Center has also participated in other sketchy government-funded research, including the TACT trial. This year, a study was conducted on “Effect of Lumbar Hypo & Hypermobility on Sensory Responses to Spinal Manipulation.” Let’s decode this title. Hypo/hypermobility of the vertebrae is of legitimate concern to manual therapists, but to some chiropractors this hypo/hypermobility is an indication of the presence of a “subluxation.” In other words, it appears Palmer researchers are continuing to look for evidence that the elusive subluxation actually exists.

Why do I think this is a reasonable suspicion? One, as discussed, Palmer College is loyal to the subluxation as a viable “theory” and teaches the concept and its clinical application to students. Two, although the page was removed after I mentioned it in a post last year, as of July, 2013, the Center was telling the public that one of its three areas of research was “mechanisms of care, which encompass normative data, spine lesions (e.g. vertebral subluxation complex) and spinal manipulation/adjustment.”

Contrast the school’s credulous acceptance of a pseudo-scientific concept with the Palmer Research Center director’s taking the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association “to task” over their warning that stroke may be associated with cervical manipulation. Here’s what Christine Goertz, DC, PhD, had to say about that:

“The facts are that VADs are very, very rare events, and there’s absolutely no research that shows a cause-and-effect relationship between chiropractic care and stroke,” said Dr. Goertz. “Doctors need to be careful about how they counsel patients based on misleading statements, like this one from the American Heart Association.”

(Note the euphemistic “chiropractic care” used as a substitute for neck manipulation.)

In sum, looking for evidence of the non-existent chiropractic subluxation is perfectly reasonable, but we need research “that shows a cause-and-effect relationship between chiropractic care and stroke” to conclude that stroke may be associated with cervical manipulation.

Naturopathy, etc.

Compared to acupuncture and chiropractic, naturopathy has received a paltry $6 million since 2003, and the amount has dwindled to a less than $400,000 this year. The majority of that was spent at naturopathic schools to teach naturopaths how to do research and most of it went to the National College of Natural Medicine, with a small portion going to Bastyr. Educating naturopaths in research seems like a fool’s errand, since the evidence indicates they care little about evidence-based practice. (See also: here, here and here, among others.)

A small amount of naturopathic funding went to actual research, including “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Static Magnetic Field Therapy.” There was also a small (n=40) prospective study of adjunctive naturopathic care for Type 2 diabetes, in which patients got up to 8 visits to a naturopath in addition to medical care, but any positive results could not be attributed to anything the naturopaths did. (This seems to be a recurring theme in CAM practitioner research: giving CAM an advantage in comparing it to standard medical care by providing extras to the CAM care group.)

Homeopathy got about $230,000 in government funding (including a study titled “Polysomnography in Homeopathic Remedy Effects” at the University of Arizona) although no money’s been spent since 2008. Reiki, on the other hand, has gotten almost a million dollars, including over $400,000 paid by the Department of Defense to a “Reiki Master” in El Paso, Texas.

Why are we doing this?

As has been pointed out before, the government should not be funding research of pseudomedicine and quackery because it doesn’t appear to affect CAM practices. Why bother? It is also a terrible waste of resources. How many other worthy projects went wanting due to lack of available funding?

But the spending has another deleterious effect. It perpetuates institutions that have little respect for science. It helps businesses get started that promote quackery. Even where their operations are not directly affected by government largesse, this money allows those institutions to burnish their images with the presumed respectability of, for example, NIH research funding. It also builds infrastructure and allows the hiring of staff. I doubt there would be a Palmer Research Center without government funding. According to its 2011 tax return, over half of the Samueli Institute’s annual expenses of about $12.5 million came from the government. Dr. Jonas’s salary from this and a related organization were reported at just over $500,000.

Gosh, what we wouldn’t give for a measly half a million dollars to promote science-based medicine?

Addendum: I had no idea when I wrote this post that a pointed and well-deserved critique of complementary/alternative/integrative medicine research would appear practically simultaneously in the journal Trends in Molecular Medicine, written by SBM’s own David Gorski and Steve Novella. Be sure to read the post (found here) for more information and a link to this excellent article.

Posted in: Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Clinical Trials, Energy Medicine, Homeopathy, Medical Academia, Naturopathy, Politics and Regulation

Leave a Comment (143) ↓

143 thoughts on “Tens of millions for CAM research — and it’s all on your dime

  1. nutrition prof says:

    Why, there are no coincidences, don’t you know? It is no coincidence your column & the CAM/IM critique appeared simultaneously: it is an alignment of the spiritual/chi/enlightenment (and so on) forces of the universe.
    Unfortunately for those spirits, they didn’t read the content first.
    Great articles-both of them!

  2. RiftPoint says:

    Ugh… I work at MGH as a research tech, I had no idea we were getting that much money for acupuncture studies. I knew there were some kicking around, we get emails for research studies looking for volunteers… but over $23 million?!?!?!? I know of several researchers that have struggled HARD to try and gain their own funding, with good sound scientific reasoning, and have failed. Makes me angry…

  3. Cervantes says:

    Right now NIH paylines are around 10-15th percentile. It’s incredibly difficult to get legitimate research funded, and there are prominent investigators who are losing their jobs and substantial research programs that are going belly up. We have promising Ph.D.s who will never get a decent job or be able to repay society for the investment in their education. And we’re squandering money on this bullshit. It’s a disgrace — and I’m talking to you, Tom Harkin.

  4. MM, Ph.D. says:

    Thanks Jann for another illuminating post. One point to note, though. You mention guided imagery as an alternative therapy. I’m a clinical psychologist, and I use guided imagery as a legitimate cognitive strategy for anxiety reduction as a component of a larger treatment plan. I wouldn’t put it outside of accepted scientific treatments any more than any other psychotherapy technique. Thanks again for your good work.

    1. Jann Bellamy says:

      According to this 2013 article in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22936306, the evidence is weak for guided imagery, but the authors of a review of the evidence cited in the article did say that while the evidence was “inconclusive” it was “encouraging.” I have changed the article to say “healing touch” instead, which is a much better example. Thanks for your compliment, This is the kind of reasoned criticism we appreciate at SBM.

    2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Guiding imagery makes sense when talking about anxiety. It doesn’t make sense when talking about curing cancer. It is the latter that is CAM.

  5. chemical says:

    As a US veteran, it doesn’t really suprise me to see the DOD funding some of this research. The US has a colossal military budget, and the DOD has always thrown money at stuff that isn’t likely to pay off but would be pretty sweet if it did (the high risk, high reward scenarios).

    I’d predict some of you reading this blog would say, “But the things they’re researching don’t have any benefit at all!” And I would agree. The DOD doesn’t know that, though, because they’re a military organization, not a medical one. There are very few doctors in the armed forces, so they don’t have a very loud voice. Since they don’t know, they research these things.

    But I do have some good news: The DOD is a lot more skeptical than most organizations, since they deal with more life-or-death scenarios than most organizations deal with. When they make mistakes, people die, and they know this. I’d suspect that they would listen to real doctors who know better.

    1. Nick J. says:

      The military has a very substantial medical infrastructure, along with a research arm to complement that infrastructure. Just head over to Bethesda, MD to get an idea. Clinical and rehabilitative care is a core focus area of the Army Medical Research and Materiel Command. There are people who should know better.
      http://mrmc.amedd.army.mil/index.cfm?pageid=medical_r_and_d.overview

      That said, I wouldn’t mind so much to see something like “cost benefit analysis of the use of __CAM Technique XYZ___ as placebo for the management of pain in post recovery patients”. But, funding reiki as if it could actually work? that’s just silly.

  6. Kevin Brown says:

    Our tax dollars at work. Good job.

  7. I wish I had something to say more than “Ugh!”, but I don’t.

    Ugh!

    Thanks for a great but depressing article, Jann.

  8. whoa says:

    It’s a catch 22 — say that CAM is worthless because not supported by RCTs, then try to make sure it doesn’t get funding for RCTs.

    You already made up your mind based on your philosophical preferences, and you ahve no interest in gathering evidence.

    If CAM research gets funding and the results repeatedly show no benefit, it will die out. But you are afraid of positive results which would make you “skeptical” materialists look like unscienttific dogmaticst (which you are).

    1. DevoutCatalyst says:

      Cry baby.

    2. Chris says:

      “It’s a catch 22 — say that CAM is worthless because not supported by RCTs, then try to make sure it doesn’t get funding for RCTs”

      It does get funding.

      “If CAM research gets funding and the results repeatedly show no benefit, it will die out.”

      There are several studies showing the CAM is worthless, but the promoters still push it. This blog has several articles on the Gonzalez regimen for cancer that failed to show it worked in a study. And yet Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez still has patients literally dying for his treatment.

      There are several articles on this blog about acupuncture failing in many ways. One of the studies showed that toothpicks were just as effective. But there are still those who want acupuncture.

      Possibly because they are like you and believe in magic, like water can have memory. Good luck with that, and don’t try to record videos with a glass of water, it could hurt your computer. You know that device that you are communicating with us because of creative use of Maxwell’s Equations.

      1. whoa says:

        “There are several studies showing the CAM is worthless”

        As in most medical research, some studies are negative and others are positive. That’s why meta-analyses are needed. You can’t just pick the ones you like and ignore the ones you don’t like.

        1. Chris says:

          Which is why you need to provide the studies that prove that homeopathy works. You can’t complain that we will not like a study if you don’t tell us what you think is the best evidence that homeopathy works.

          So I have asked for the studies that prove Andre Saine’s claim that homeopathy works better for rabies than the modern protocol. Why won’t you provide that?

          I also gave you the option to provide the studies showing homeopathy is better than the standard preventative medicines for malaria. Where are those?

        2. Chris says:

          Also, you read Dr. Hall’s first post on this blog. It is a review of a book that you should read:
          http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/4/

        3. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          As in most medical research, some studies are negative and others are positive. That’s why meta-analyses are needed. You can’t just pick the ones you like and ignore the ones you don’t like.

          Except with most CAM modalities, as the controls improve, it’s no longer “some negative, some positive”. With good controls, in nearly all cases, it’s totally resoundingly negative. Consistently. Again and again. And even worse – generally you don’t have good studies, you have anecdotes, case studies, uncontrolled trials, comparisons with “usual care” or my personal favorite – comparing one group that had their doctor telling them “lose weight” and another group that got five extra hours with a naturopath discussing weight loss, spread over weeks. That could have been a good study – just have all groups getting an extra five hours of attention and discussion. It’s like the naturopaths went out of their way to produce a bad study that would have uninterpretable results.

          Also, when you look at most Cochrane reviews of CAMs, the conclusion is almost universally “the studies were so badly done you can’t really tell if it works or not”. So it’s not just me saying that.

        4. Frederick says:

          No, you want systematic reviews, because they take into account the quality of studies, Meta analysis used all data, so garbage studies with poor control, that turn over optimistic result, gets in. Garbage in garbage out.

    3. KayMarie says:

      More of a limited resources than dogmatic thing, IMO.

      In an ideal world we would have unlimited resources for every scientific endeavor. But we don’t.

      Not that having the money to do all the RCT for everything would change anything. For every one thing that in some small way fills in a hole of information and creates a new paradigm to be over-thrown once again by science in a decade or three there will be at least 100 that will never be abandoned by the true believers because science will be told it couldn’t measure it anyway, so there, nyah.

    4. Windriven says:

      “If CAM research gets funding and the results repeatedly show no benefit, it will die out.”

      Strike 11. You’re still out.

      NCCAM alone has spent ca. $1 BILLION in the last decade. That is real money, even in Washington, DC. And CAMs have been shown, repeatedly and consistently, to be no better than placebo. Yet they have not died out. The reason is that there are many like you who don’t really care about the scientific evidence. It sounds true to you, therefore it must be true.

      And as an aside, NIH funds lots of medical research. But pharmaceutical and device companies fund very many FDA mandated studies themselves. sCAMs, not being actual medicine, generally fall outside the purview of FDA and consequently don’t have to pony up. Too bad, that. I’d love to see Boiron have to fund safety and efficacy studies for its little vials of water.

    5. R. Miller says:

      Sigh.

      “It’s a catch 22 — say that CAM is worthless because not supported by RCTs, then try to make sure it doesn’t get funding for RCTs.”

      That’s the problem – INSTEAD of using the money to try and design definitive RCTs that we can use to answer clinical questions, the money is spent on small trials that do not impact practice, basic science that is often premature, or the always vague “education” category.

      “If CAM research gets funding and the results repeatedly show no benefit, it will die out. ”

      Again, the problem is the exact opposite. For example, there’s over 3000 acupuncture studies available in the literature – a vast majority of which are inconclusive or negative. How has the failure to consistently demonstrate a benefit impacted acupuncturists? It hasn’t.

    6. weing says:

      “If CAM research gets funding and the results repeatedly show no benefit, it will die out.”
      This only applies to scientific research. The less results showing benefit, the less funding. CAM research should be consistent with homeopathy and should increase in results and potency with decreasing funding. Why doesn’t NCCAM use this homeopathic principle and decrease funding for CAM, and regularly shaking it out, to zero? We would then have very powerful results proving once and for all that science is wrong. Then, with this confirmation, we will be able to apply this principle to scientific research.

  9. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    It’s a catch 22 — say that CAM is worthless because not supported by RCTs, then try to make sure it doesn’t get funding for RCTs.

    No it’s not. All other medical interventions require prior probability research to reach the stage of it being ethical to spend money on a trial. CAM wants to skip all of that pesky and inconvenient “proof” and “mechanism” stuff and jump right to trials.

    Actually, CAM wants to jump right to selling their preferred intervention and avoid the whole issue of whether the SCAM works or not completely.

    Why is it so unreasonable to ask for evidence, consistent with what is known about the world based on centuries of replicable, convergent, reliable results, before we dump resources into it?

    You already made up your mind based on your philosophical preferences, and you ahve no interest in gathering evidence.

    No, we’re interested in evidence-based and -informed decision-making, particularly for scarce treatment and research resources. Part of the process to parse medical claims is looking at prior probabilty. No SCAMs have good prior probability beyond perhaps herbalism and chiropractic for back pain.

    Unless you define our philosophical preference as “having a basis in reality” (which I would actually be fine with), then it’s not our philosophical preferences that prevent SCAMs from being respected – it’s the fact that SCAMs seem to have no link to reality whatsoever.

    Want to convince me that homeopathy works better than just water (or lactose pills)? Show me that it reliably influences health and disease, or even behavior, in rats and mice (cells are a better starting point though). Or for that matter, show me existence of a the vital force they are supposed to influence.

    If CAM research gets funding and the results repeatedly show no benefit, it will die out. But you are afraid of positive results which would make you “skeptical” materialists look like unscienttific dogmaticst (which you are).

    Actually, there are many SCAMS that have been researched and have failed and are still being sold. Shark cartilage. Glucosamine. Homeopathy. Acupuncture. Reiki. The only positive results that exist occur in unblinded, or small-n, or uncontrolled trials. Now, why would only unblinded, uncontrolled trials show positive results do you think? For many there are sufficient numbers of trials for there to be Cochrane reviews that universally conclude “better controlled research is needed to make a conclusion.” The thing is, even when CAM proponents get money for research, they end up conducting the research so badly that it’s useless for anything except promotion of their favored CAM intervention.

    Before you talk about what skeptics believe, you might want to check the evidence base. Turns out skeptics have been examining the research for decades now, and the research is either negative, or really poorly designed.

    1. whoa says:

      “Want to convince me that homeopathy works better than just water (or lactose pills)? Show me that it reliably influences health and disease, or even behavior, in rats and mice (cells are a better starting point though). ”

      pubmed has plenty of articles showing benefits of homeopathy. A lot are from the journal Homeopathy, so you will automatically not believe them. Because you think all CAM researchers are liars and it’s all a big conspiracy to deceive the public.

      1. KayMarie says:

        Oh how about just one paper that reliably proves memory of water until the expiration date on the bottle?

        FWIW, we don’t believe all the small scale, poorly controlled, in vitro or otherwise preliminary evidence from things that have plausible mechanisms of action.

      2. Chris says:

        ” Because you think all CAM researchers are liars and it’s all a big conspiracy to deceive the public.”

        Wrong. Because those studies are badly done and show no real benefit. I really love the ones that claim to find “nano” silica in the water that they shook up in glass containers. The silica is actually from the container since the uber pure water is a solvent.

        But you could always post the best studies that you think prove homeopathy. Perhaps like this one: Use of CAM results in delay in seeking medical advice for breast cancer. Which says:

        Twenty nine percent practiced CAM before visiting any physician. Common methods used were homeopathy (70%), spiritual therapy (15%) and Ayurvedic medicine (13%). CAM use was associated with delay in seeking medical advice (OR: 5.6; 95% CI: 2.3, 13.3) and presentation at an advanced stage of disease (OR: 2.2; 95% CI: 1.01, 4.6). Patients who delayed seeking medical advice more often had positive axillary nodes and stage III/IV disease. Breast cancer patients in Pakistan frequently (53%) delay seeking medical advice. Antecedent practice of CAM is widespread and a common underlying reason. The delay results in significant worsening of the disease process.

        Or even this study of patients needing intensive care where the groups were unbalanced because the controls were demonstrably sicker.

        Or how about you prove Andre Saine’s contention that homeopathy works better for rabies than the modern treatments based on Pasteur’s work? Show us the animal study showing that the ones that got homeopathy for rabies did better.

      3. Chris says:

        And if you don’t want to prove Andre Saine’s contention that homeopathy works better for rabies than the modern rabies vaccine, then show it works better for malaria.

        Here are a couple of references for you:

        Homeopathic Resistant Malaria

        Homoeopathy may not be effective in preventing malaria

      4. Thor says:

        You obviously didn’t read the post by Novella and Gorski that Jann referred to in the addendum to her post (not that that would make any difference to you). In it they make the distinction between EBM and SBM quite clear. It’s all about prior probability. In reality, no RCTs are even needed for something like homeopathy because it has zero plausibility – none whatsoever. We could just as well perform an RCT to gather evidence about ghosts. Ghosts don’t exist so there is no reason to spend good money trying to see if they do. The upsetting part to so many is that despite this we’re still pouring money into studying imaginary entities. We say enough already!

      5. Badly Shaved Monkey says:

        whoa, you seem very free with your assertions but incredibly parsimonious with evidence, facts and rational argument.

        I’d still like to see you attempt a response to the following;

        Even if water had usable memory, you then need to explain how this is transferred to sugar pills from which that water has been evaporated.

        You then need to explain how one such pill can transfer this to a whole pot of blank pills (grafting).

        You then need to explain how writing the name of the remedy on a piece of paper and sitting a pot of sugar pills on top transfers these hypothetical water-based memories to the pills (paper remedies).

        [Hint: you can't]

      6. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        pubmed has plenty of articles showing benefits of homeopathy. A lot are from the journal Homeopathy, so you will automatically not believe them. Because you think all CAM researchers are liars and it’s all a big conspiracy to deceive the public.

        Yes, because journals like that take as a starting point that homeopathy works. Their purpose is proving homeopathy, not testing it.

        But hey, you’re a big fan of meta-analyses you say, what do you think of these ones?

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24222383
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24277681
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23876573
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23235586
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22568455

        Any particular diseases you want me to look for a Cochrane review for? Because they’re basically all like this. “Results can’t support because shoddy methodologies.”

        It’s not a conspiracy – homeopaths and other CAM proponents are generally incompetent scientists and worse doctors, and their interventions have basically no chance of efficacy in the first place.

  10. Writerinacoma says:

    Lovely. Our government is burning money on the National College of Natural Medicine while the CSU I attend doesn’t have the funding to offer students adequate financial aid or even make sure we graduate in the usual four years.

  11. Kiiri says:

    I’m sorry whoa but you are just wrong. For example, if I were a pharmaceutical company representative and you came to me complaining of illness, let’s say back pain, and I handed you a pill. You would ask ‘what’s in the pill?” I would say ‘it’s all natural!” You would ask “Does it work?” “Of course” I reply, “I have dozens of patients who swear by this pill as being completely effective for their back pain.” Would you take the pill? Would you stand for a pharmaceutical company to market products or procedures and ask that you take their word for it that they work? You would not! you would demand proof that this pill is effective and safe. The problem with CAM is that even with proof that it doesn’t work (or is even unsafe if you look at the appalling pancreatic cancer trial) they never disappear. You never see a CAM practitioner who has negative trials on TV or on the internet saying it doesn’t work. They continue to rake in money off of people who are hoodwinked by their lies. All you have to do whoa is to show us proof, real genuine proof, it works and we will be convinced. But patient anecdotes, non-random trials, and complete lack of scientific plausibility is not going to constitute proof.

  12. JD says:

    Great post. I really wish I did not know exactly how much research funding has been sunk into acupuncture and chiropractic (subluxation “theory” specifically). Truly disheartening sections for someone competing for these funds in the next few years.

    The facts are that VADs are very, very rare events, and there’s absolutely no research that shows a cause-and-effect relationship between chiropractic care and stroke,” said Dr. Goertz. “Doctors need to be careful about how they counsel patients based on misleading statements, like this one from the American Heart Association.

    Sorry if this is repetitive, but I feel like it is worth mentioning after watching her video,

    I feel like Goertz has fallen into the same trap that all valiant defenders of the Cassidy study have, being an armchair epidemiologist. I read her claim as the same old drivel, that because the odds ratios (or rate ratios) were similar for seeing a chiropractor and seeing a PCP, that there is no association between cervical SMT and VBA stroke. This is erroneous, what this study tells us is that people with VBA stroke seek care prior to the event. We can’t even come close to interpreting this the way that Goertz and others have, not only because of the oft-discussed methodological flaws, but because this study did not address the question which they are inferring the answer to.

    She devotes a substantial portion of her time in this presentation to her erroneous interpretation and it irks me so.

  13. mho says:

    A quick look shows that the naturopath colleges have surprisingly low default rates around 1-1.5%, except for University of Bridgeport, which is over 8%
    I’d have to do more thorough research to figure out how many students that encompasses, but by only estimating, its worth a minimum of $500,000-

    1. mho says:

      per year.

  14. stanmrak says:

    What a bunch of crybabies. Doesn’t the pharmaceutical industry give you guys enough money?

    1. Badly Shaved Monkey says:

      No. Where do I apply?

    2. Chris says:

      The Pharma Shill Gambit is lame and very silly.

    3. EBMOD says:

      Says the guy who makes his money by scamming people into buy his supplements with exaggerated and delusional claims.

      http://ezinearticles.com/?Glaucoma-Prevention-is-Possible—With-Antioxidant-Nutrition&id=2626262

      “Glaucoma Prevention is Possible – With Antioxidant Nutrition”

      Show me what evidence you based that decidedly specious claim on…

      It gets pretty tired hearing the pharma shill gambit from you when the main person with a conflict of interest here is you. I get zero money from companies for prescribing/recommending their products. In contrast, your livelihood depends on it.

    4. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      What a bunch of crybabies. Doesn’t the pharmaceutical industry give you guys enough money?

      It doesn’t give us any money (except for pharma researchers, but they’re probably too busy doing real science to bother commenting).

      Also, the issue isn’t how pharma uses its money. The issue is that public money, tax dollars, lots of it, is being not just used, but wasted – on research that is almost deliberately bad, almost designed to give no meaningful answer.

      Oh, and such funding and attention by government agencies makes it look like CAM deserves some respect when it doesn’t.

    5. Frederick says:

      well, no, I still have to work my summers for my old employers to make money to pay for college. On their last payment they were cheap as hell. lol sarcasm of course.

      And you? how much money do you make selling untested stuff?

  15. whoa says:

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn3817-icy-claim-that-water-has-memory.html#.U_Z7pGfD-P8

    Water memory is a controversial research topic, and a scientist must be willing to risk his career and reputation if he studies it. But there is research going on.

    As with quantum entanglement in biological systems, materialist “skeptics” get very scared when they hear about water memory. OH NO, MAGIC!

    Well some of these things do seem magical. But things we now take for granted, like electric power and radio waves, at first must have seemed like magic.

    My advice for you materialists (which of course you won’t take) is to get used to things like water memory and quantum entanglement, because that is where science is headed. We are very far from your beloved 19th century now.

    1. brewandferment says:

      electric power and radio waves, at first must have seemed like magic
      …only to those who were ignorant of the science behind it, not to the scientists and engineers who were building the devices that produced those things.

    2. weing says:

      “My advice for you materialists (which of course you won’t take) is to get used to things like water memory and quantum entanglement, because that is where science is headed.”
      Who is not used to quantum entanglement? It is well recognized, described, and reproducible. Watery memory, on the other hand, is none of these.

    3. Badly Shaved Monkey says:

      whoa

      I see another post from you and, by the (to you obviously inexplicable) miracle of cut and paste, I present again these points you have not addressed;

      Even if water had usable memory, you then need to explain how this is transferred to sugar pills from which that water has been evaporated.

      You then need to explain how one such pill can transfer this to a whole pot of blank pills (grafting).

      You then need to explain how writing the name of the remedy on a piece of paper and sitting a pot of sugar pills on top transfers these hypothetical water-based memories to the pills (paper remedies).

      [Hint: you can't]

    4. Badly Shaved Monkey says:

      whoa

      By the way, that link to an 11-yr old New Scientist article by Lionel Milgrom is typical stupidity from a defender of magic sugar. In it even “Benveniste advises caution. “This is interesting work, but Rey’s experiments were not blinded”. Do you have any inkling why this might matter? [i suspect not]

      For a longer debunking read this;

      http://apgaylard.wordpress.com/2009/09/25/a-homeopathic-refutation-part-three/

      If you find Milgrom’s advocacy of Rey’s 2003 paper convincing, then, and there is no point being polite about this, you are an idiot and a gullible fool.

      1. aada says:

        The Gaylrade refutation is old, this is a response for the skeptikal arguments (note: In Spanish Mexico):

        http://homeopatiayseudoescepticismo.wordpress.com/2014/01/30/20-anos-del-desinformador-mauricio-jose-schwarz/

    5. Badly Shaved Monkey says:

      Oh, and another thing, if you are so opposed to “materialism” why are you so keen to pimp incompetent materials science experiments in your commentary?

    6. J Hudson says:

      I don’t get ‘scared’, I get interested.
      I read about it, and then wonder about the practical application for my patients.

      I then look for useful trials e.g. on homeopathy and can’t find anything well designed with a useful number needed to treat (if any).
      Show me good quality evidence in a practical trial and I’ll consider using it, because it’s exactly what I try to achieve in my daily practice.

      No scientist in my book would “risk his reputation” if they did a well considered and robust trial, then HONESTLY reported the findings.

    7. Chris says:

      Oh, yawn:
      http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=29424

      Where is the study showing that homeopathy works better than modern treatments for rabies… or malaria?

    8. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn3817-icy-claim-that-water-has-memory.html#.U_Z7pGfD-P8

      Question – are any of the homeopathic preparations you own maintained at 170K? Where do you get all the liquid nitrogen from?

      Water memory is a controversial research topic, and a scientist must be willing to risk his career and reputation if he studies it. But there is research going on.

      The ones that risk their career and reputation are the ones who take experiments run at -100C and pretend they apply to humans who aren’t naked in the Arctic circle in the midst of winter. Or the ones who do a single experiment, with poor controls, get an equivocal result and proclaim the subject closed. Or who do preliminary research, absurdly far from the conditions even cell studies occur in, using exotic materials, delicate equipment costing millions of dollars, then proclaim it must automatically apply to humans. That’s not good science, and that’s why they are justifiably mocked.

      As with quantum entanglement in biological systems, materialist “skeptics” get very scared when they hear about water memory. OH NO, MAGIC!

      Quantum entanglement is incredibly fragile, exponentially so as the size of the particle or molecule increases. Getting a single proton to be entangled and stay that way requires millions of dollars worth of equipment. Getting something like a lactose molecule to stay entangled would be essentially impossible. Quantum states only apply to incredibly tiny scales and incredibly brief durations. Putting an entangled particle into a vial of water or alcohol and shaking it would disentangle it in a femtosecond. It’s the pro-homeopath quacks, who don’t understand quantum physics, who invoke it as if it were magic.

      Well some of these things do seem magical. But things we now take for granted, like electric power and radio waves, at first must have seemed like magic.

      Actually, quantum states are readily understood, bar their inherent randomness. And electric power and radio waves are so well understood now that you can literally channel both with some copper wire and coconuts. The Professor from Gilligan’s Island probably could have rigged up something using pure water and electrolytes to work as a battery. Actual physical phenomena are replicable, and rise out of the noise relatively rapidly when even partially understood. They do not languish with equivocal results for two centuries, devising newer pseudoscientific explanations whenever a new, poorly-understood idea bubbles into the mind of popular culture.

      My advice for you materialists (which of course you won’t take) is to get used to things like water memory and quantum entanglement, because that is where science is headed. We are very far from your beloved 19th century now.

      Great, if they can prove it and replicate it, water memory will revolutionize physics, and probably biology. It will open whole worlds of research, and will be tremendously exciting!

      Of course, it’ll never be due to quantum entanglement, we know enough about quantum entanglement that we know it won’t ever have anything to do with homeopathy unless the preparations are mixed in a vacuum, far separated from any other particle that might cause a collapse of the wave function by even the faintest contact.

      Yeah, actual physicists have looked a the issue. I seriously recommend you read How to Teach Physics to your Dog (actual title, serious book), as it will demonstrate explicitly why homeopathy can’t invoke “quantum” to explain it’s alleged efficacy.

      1. whoa says:

        “Quantum states only apply to incredibly tiny scales and incredibly brief durations.”

        Recent research has shown that birds can use quantum entanglement for navigation. I suggest you ask your dog for help in understanding.

        1. Chris says:

          Define “quantum” and explain the meaning of the “quan” bit.

          Tell us the difference between potential energy and kinetic energy, and how they are related.

          Show us you know what you are talking about when it comes to physics. You would know the answer to both questions if you had high school physics.

        2. EBMOD says:

          Science fail yet again by Whoa:

          http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2010-05/quantum-mechanics-may-help-birds-migrate-south

          The proposed mechanism is that quantum entanglement allows a real time image of the magnetic field, not that quantum entanglement stores the location of their navigation waypoints.

          The quantum entanglement is used to facilitate cryptochromes ability to sense the magnetic field, it is not the primary mechanism, assuming that further science validates this hypothesis.

          This notion does nothing to support the idea that long term information storage is possible on a macro scale with quantum entanglement.

          It would be much better for you to simply admit you have no idea what you are talking about at this point.

        3. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          Recent research has shown that birds can use quantum entanglement for navigation. I suggest you ask your dog for help in understanding.

          Did you read that summary? It tested an idea that quantum entanglement might help with navigation; it actually proposed an experimental test that could demonstrate the point. That’s pretty far from even a maybe.

          And, of course, even if quantum entanglement helps birds navigate – that doesn’t mean that homeopathy works, or involves quantum entanglement. That study at best, if confirmed, would suggest that quantum entanglement may interact with magnetic fields to allow birds to see the fields. That’s at best a psychophysics-neurological event (and a well-understood one at that) where single photons can make a difference in a medium and sense organ designed to detect single photons.

          Rather far from molecules that aren’t even present in a solution transferring their magical essence to water, which is splashed on lactose, which is dissolved in the mouth, producing a specific effect in the whole body.

          Oh, and clinical trials of homeopathy carried out with adequate controls (which is incredibly easy to do by the way, yet rarely done by homeopaths) have found no difference between homeopathic preparation and placebo. So nyah.

    9. Chris says:

      “My advice for you materialists (which of course you won’t take) is to get used to things like water memory and quantum entanglement”

      So you are calling us materialists, and that we have to deal with “quantum entanglement.” Can you tell us what the word quantum means, and what is the meaning of the “quan” bit? Hint: it is a pretty common word.

    10. Chris says:

      Now I’ll repeat a question to see what your understanding of basic physics:

      What is the difference between potential energy and kinetic energy, and how are they related?

    11. Sawyer says:

      If no one has mentioned it yet, I’d like to point out whoa has a nasty habit of bringing up materialism (or the completely made up atheistic materialism) at the drop of a hat. While methodological naturalism is a key foundation of science based medicine, the issue of philosophical materialism is completely separate. It doesn’t have a damn thing to do with CAM research. I wonder why he veers us off topic in every single discussion?

      Perhaps whoa’s mission here is not to learn, debate, or inform, but instead to pigeonhole people he doesn’t like into positions that are easier to dismiss? Of course that would suggest some level of deliberate planning and critical thinking on his part, and I’m not seeing much evidence of that in his posts.

      1. simba says:

        That can be automatic, though. The one I’ve seen (not on here) is someone deciding that everyone who complained about their trolling is a woman, and that women are tone sensitive and think that perfectly normal behavior is rude. When it was pointed out that many (about half) of those posting were men, they decided the men were being bullied by their female spouses, or were intimidated by all the angry women.

        So everyone disagreeing with Whoa is a nasty materialist, presumably including those people who cut him/her off at the traffic lights, or who get the last ice cream before they can get it. It allows for automatic dismissal of dissenting views and thus obviates the need for potentially unpleasant (for Whoa) self-appraisal.

        1. n brownlee says:

          All the above, and, and, and QUANTUM!

      2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        Perhaps whoa’s mission here is not to learn, debate, or inform, but instead to pigeonhole people he doesn’t like into positions that are easier to dismiss? Of course that would suggest some level of deliberate planning and critical thinking on his part, and I’m not seeing much evidence of that in his posts.

        Actually one of the bugs of the human brain is that it does this automatically. No need for planning.

    12. Frederick says:

      Nothing more worth a face palm then a Cam advocate using QUANTUM to proves his point and saying that we are the ones who do not understand it… Whoa, you just demonstrated how much poorly YOU have no idea what you are talking about. And water memory is not controversial. And why only water? why mercury does not have memory? of helium? and how does the water does not remember the dinosaur poops it been in but memorize want you want?

      no controversy only cranks trying to prove their pseudo-science.

  16. rork says:

    Oh wonder, what a marvelous writer.

  17. Thinking_Chiro says:

    Many of the posts above have make the assumption that the research at Palmer is into Subluxation. This is incorrect. If you look at it here http://www.palmer.edu/Research/GrantsandProjects/ and you look throught PubMed at their leed researcher Joel Pikar in particular, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=picar+jg you will see that it is subluxation free!
    I have been closely watching their research over the years and had also initially made the same assumption as you in regards to subluxation, but the more I read, the more impressed I was! They are asking the right questions and are pushing researching in the right direction. They are also collaborating with medical researchers which is important. Additionally, if you lok at where the funding is coming from, it is not all government funded. They are investing a lot of their own money into research!.Food for thought!

    1. MadisonMD says:

      Not researching subluxations would seem necessary but not sufficient to demonstrate a good research program. I would be more impressed if you cited the strongest single scientific publication from Palmer and showed how it changed clinical practice.

      Even if the word ‘subluxation’ is scrubbed from the research program, Palmer is still rife with it.
      1. Their What is Chiropractic? page says this:

      No part of your body escapes the dominance of your nervous system. Improper function of the spine due to slight misalignments—called subluxations—can cause poor health or function, even in areas far removed from the spine and spinal cord itself. Misalignments can also reduce the ability of your body to adapt to its ever-changing environment. Even the slightest malfunction of your spine may alter the regular transmission of nerve impulses, preventing that portion of your body from responding optimally.

      Chiropractic is a natural form of health care that uses spinal adjustments to correct these misalignments and restore proper function to the nervous system, helping your body to heal naturally

      Doesn’t this seem to indicate that correcting subluxations is the very definition of chiropractic, according to Palmer?

      2. Palmer seems to teach subluxations. See also their current course catalog which is rife with subluxation theory.

    2. Jann Bellamy says:

      I disagree with your assertion that Palmer is not doing research on the chiropractic subluxation for reasons stated in the post. But my problem with taxpayer dollars going to Palmer is not based solely on that research.

      My point is not that Palmer isn’t doing any legitimate research. That is, in fact, irrelevant to my criticism. My point is that Palmer tolerates and promotes pseudoscience and that the head of its Research Center apparently puts loyalty to chiropractic ahead of good science. I also strongly suspect, with what I feel are good reasons, that the education of Palmer students is deficient with regard to the public health benefits of vaccination, or even the basic science of immunology. Thus, Palmer should not get ANY government funding because the government should not tolerate these positions or support them with the public’s money. I would also point out that any good research done at Palmer could also be done at any number of other colleges and universities who respect the scientific method and who do not endanger patients with the improper use of cervical manipulation or anti-vaccination ideology. This includes their physical therapy programs.

      1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        I also strongly suspect, with what I feel are good reasons, that the education of Palmer students is deficient with regard to the public health benefits of vaccination, or even the basic science of immunology.

        I would venture that not only are they deficient in knowledge about immunization, I would venture that they are actively misinformed – which is why they so uniformly deny vaccines and spew the same “toxins”-type nonsense.

        I would also point out that any good research done at Palmer could also be done at any number of other colleges and universities who respect the scientific method and who do not endanger patients with the improper use of cervical manipulation or anti-vaccination ideology. This includes their physical therapy programs.

        Physiotherapists, now that it has been tested, are offering spinal manipulation for low back pain. If they continue on this path, they might research thoracic and cervical manipulation as well and establish a research base supporting adjustments in those areas of the spine also. At which point, chiropractic will basically be redundant, right? Oh happy day!

  18. FAIRCHIRO says:

    Government appropriations are all too often politically based decisions. You bring up many good points. It also seems that people are desperate to find solutions to their problems that don’t involve drugs or surgery and are “natural.” Medicine often doesn’t provide proper care to pain patients, so these patients have to look elsewhere. For example, if your back is hurting a lot and the medical doctor can’t find anything wrong with you, what are you supposed to do? Physical therapy without insurance is usually too expensive. Many people would rather just pay a chiropractor to “crack” there back and give them some other therapies- perhaps heat, massage, traction, and electrical muscle stimulation.

    1. Badly Shaved Monkey says:

      For example, if your back is hurting a lot and the medical doctor can’t find anything wrong with you, what are you supposed to do?

      If rational, reasonable medical options and physical therapy still leave you with a problem?Put up with it. You will at least have avoided a deluded chiro parasitising your family’s finances.

      You seem to labour under the misconception that it is given to is to fix every physical defect in the body. I would similarly love fairies to live at the bottom of my garden, but it’s only rabbits.

    2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Doctors do need better training in dealing with back pain – but what is really needed is better solutions for back pain in general. It’s ubiquitous, but nothing works very well.

      Best might be simple reassurance – back pain gets better over time for most people. It sucks while it’s happening, but it usually goes away.

  19. Filip says:

    HAHA Expecting the gov to do research for you is like expecting a monkey to watch over your bananas. Much more money is spent on war, maybe this is a problem ;)

  20. enkidu97 says:

    This makes me so sad. The virology lab I work in has been continuously funded for over 30 years, and all our grants dried up last year. We are submitting grants out the whazoo but even though we are a very productive lab, the funding level is so low we keep striking out. We do basic research and apparently it’s just not enough anymore. We have enough money to make it until next August, with 3 more grants submitted and our fingers crossed. We have also been selling reagents to pharma companies (antibodies, proteins) to try to make ends meet.

  21. freespeechisahumanright says:

    The entire system and business of medicine needs to be revisited.

    This article needs a to be compared to say … back surgery or how much is spend on R and D of artificial knees. or cancer research, Alzheimer’s etc.

    I have regular Acupuncture and adjustments and know that they works for me.

    Besides we are the government but we have no voice in any of these decisions.

    Conspiracy — yep — I get a sense that you want to feed into these deceptions.

    1. Jopari says:

      The current article fufills it’s objective nicely, it needs little revision.

      ” This article needs a to be compared to say … back surgery or how much is spend on R and D of artificial knees. or cancer research, Alzheimer’s etc”

      What the post has pointed out is that there’s a lot of funding going into research on topics that are not scientificly backed. Therefore, a breakdown of where the money goes in actual scientificly backed medicine isn’t really relevant. What you’ve done is a deflection.

      You “know” that acupuncture and adjustments work for you because of a subjective change in perception and possibly the placebo effect, without an actual objective reference and measurement it is hard to say that you have actually improved from the treatment given. Not to mention that most of the things treated regularly by acupuncture and chiropractice normally resolves on it’s own.

      Therefore, we all would prefer if it managed to prove an actual scientific theory that made it work rather than rely on a subjective measurement of it’s ability based on humans, whose reference is fickle.

      Conspiracy- Now this is really old stuff, somehow some group of people seem to believe that the medical establishment wants to poison us or milk us for cash, yet the only people who can help the people have no working methodologies? So which conspiracy are you talking about? Maybe the conspiracy isn’t there at all?

      1. freespeechisahumanright says:

        Why so condescending? I think you think science will cure everything, what about all those ODs on pain meds that are happening??!!

        It works for me and my sister, plus a waiting room full of people.

        Who would use acupuncture or a chiropractor to cure cancer? That is not very practical or even scientific.

        1. Andrey Pavlov says:

          Why so condescending?

          Pointing out some scientific facts is not condescension.

          I think you think science will cure everything, what about all those ODs on pain meds that are happening??!!

          A poor assumption followed by a spectacularly performed non sequitur. Science will certainly help everything by informing it, and certain things are almost exclusively within the bailiwick of science, but no, science will not “cure everything” whatever that is supposed to mean. And people ODing on pain meds has nothing to do with the incorrect and half-assed accusation in the first place.

          It works for me and my sister, plus a waiting room full of people.

          And 38 people believed they would be riding on a UFO from Hale-Bopp. Funny what sorts of crazy things people can convince themselves are real and work.

          Who would use acupuncture or a chiropractor to cure cancer? That is not very practical or even scientific.

          Well, at least there is one correct statement in there. It would be more correct if you just said this:

          Who would use acupuncture or a chiropractor? That is not very practical or even scientific.

          FTFY.

          1. freespeechisahumanright says:

            Condescending meaning, I know what helps me and someone else can not tell me what by body is telling me. My sister too she has been greatly helped.

            ODing is just the issue science did not help them!!
            or
            my Aunt and her back pain, or my cousin who had her knee replaced who is still limping around like she is a 100.

            OK how does a UFO compares to how I feel? and dozens of others in my Acupuncturist office? Is this a game or something? You are saying what I feel is the same as what I think I see?

            So you have a crystal ball and know what I feel and think? For a scientist if you seen to use telepathy. And there is a name for know-it-alls.

            I was a premed but life got in the way so I know a little something!

            1. weing says:

              “Condescending meaning, I know what helps me and someone else can not tell me what by body is telling me.”

              I know. And you’re willing to pay for it. I think Sarah Silverman mentioned something about people being willing to pay someone to urinate on them. Whatever floats your boat. Just don’t expect me to pay for it. Unless you are a close friend and it’s your birthday or something like that.

            2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

              ODing is just the issue science did not help them!!
              or
              my Aunt and her back pain, or my cousin who had her knee replaced who is still limping around like she is a 100.

              So what you’re saying is, if science can’t fix all problems, perfectly, the first time, then it’s worthless?
              or
              If science can’t can’t fix all problems, perfectly, the first time, then quackery works?

              Interesting.

              OK how does a UFO compares to how I feel? and dozens of others in my Acupuncturist office? Is this a game or something? You are saying what I feel is the same as what I think I see?

              I think Andrey’s point is – the number of people who believe in something isn’t any indication of the veracity of it.

              And for some context – pain is incredibly labile. Soldiers during war can run on blown-off stumps. Mothers in childbirth can ignore tears that run straight through their anus. You can get surgery while hypnotized. Sugar pills can be incredibly effective, but not as effective as saline injections. Fixing pain temporarily is what we expect of a placebo, so it’s not very impressive in any treatment.

              So you have a crystal ball and know what I feel and think? For a scientist if you seen to use telepathy. And there is a name for know-it-alls.

              I don’t claim to know what you feel and think – merely that the human brain is an imperfect instrument that fails regularly and often spectacularly. It then resists changing it’s mind. Have a look at Mistakes were made by Carol Tavris.

              I was a premed but life got in the way so I know a little something!

              Do you know what Dunning-Kruger is?

            3. Andrey Pavlov says:

              LOL. Unoriginal troll is unoriginal.

              Thankfully I am too busy actually doing real medicine and having a life to care enough to continue with this babble.

              It is mildly entertaining though. Mostly because I can see how this is going to play out. And it doesn’t end with troll being happy.

            4. Harriet Hall says:

              No one is questioning what you felt and experienced, but we are justified in questioning your interpretation of what happened, because we know how easy it is to fall into post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy and to come to believe an ineffective treatment has helped you.

            5. simba says:

              Basic reading comprehension- he’s saying that personal testimonials, what people feel and see, aren’t proof that a medicine works. This is a very basic concept in medicine, even some of the ancient Greeks knew it. Most people, for most diseases, will get better in a certain period of time: if they take something in that period of time it will be logical for them to think they got better because they took something. But that isn’t the case.

              Your body can tell you it got better- but it may have got better by itself simply with time, or it may have felt better because you believed it would (the placebo effect.) We can actually see this stuff happening- give enough people a sugar pill for a headache or backache, and a certain number will report it helped them.

              The only reason we have science is because listening to our bodies wasn’t working out for us, so lots of people had to work at different times to gradually come up with a better system. ‘Listening to our bodies’ gave us bloodletting and Perkins mechanical tractors.

              http://www.badscience.net/2004/04/whats-wrong-with-the-placebo-effect/

        2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          Why so condescending?

          I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’m condescending when I see some pro-quack rube using a scientifically fallacious argument for the fiftieth time. After a while, you just get sick of watching scientifically ignorant people lecture you about how narrow-minded you are by repeating the same nonsense they were spoon-fed by their favorite quack.

          I think you think science will cure everything, what about all those ODs on pain meds that are happening??!!

          What about them? They’re bad. Science is looking into better treatments for pain, and ideally better prevention for conditions that cause pain. Science won’t cure everything in my lifetime, but it is certainly better than the quack alternatives, which simply waste money for placebo effects. I’d rather that money go into hiring more competent doctors.

          It works for me and my sister, plus a waiting room full of people.

          Bloodletting worked for lots of people for thousands of years. And acupuncture doesn’t work for people when it’s compared to sham acupuncture. Doesn’t matter where you put the needle, if you penetrate the skin, or if you use a needle at all. All that really matters is you think you’re getting acupuncture, and your acupuncturist is nice to you. Sounds like a placebo to me.

          Who would use acupuncture or a chiropractor to cure cancer? That is not very practical or even scientific.

          Yes, I agree, that’s why I get upset when chiropractors and acupuncturists claim it can.

          Also, using acupuncture to treat anything isn’t very scientific.

          1. Jopari says:

            While I was writing my comment I actually felt rather detached, I wasn’t trying to be condescending, though maybe I don’t need to. *shrug*

    2. Jopari says:

      As for the point that we are the government but cannot make the decisions.

      It’s because of the government listening to the people that the Right To Try Bill, for all it’s demerits, is being put into action, not to mention that many senators actually agree with your viewpoint on alternative medicine.

      If anything, science has a harder time influencing the government.

      1. freespeechisahumanright says:

        Why can’t people try what ever they want? I wish my insurance would cover my Acupuncture!

        Everyone know money influence politics and medicine??!!

        We as citizens are the government anyway … but money rules and people suffer. You did not know that?

        1. Andrey Pavlov says:

          Why can’t people try what ever they want?

          Oh they can! Everyone has the right to make stupid decisions. But we can point out that they are stupid as well.

          I wish my insurance would cover my Acupuncture!

          But you have to do it on your dime. I am not willing to pay more on my premium so that the insurance company can cover your quackery.

          And the rest is yet another excellent non sequitur. You are very good at those.

          1. freespeechisahumanright says:

            You are creepy and crazy!

            The only stupid decision I made was finding this site … Science based bunch of bull patties.

            You guys are narcissistic and just like religious zealots.

            1. weing says:

              “You guys are narcissistic and just like religious zealots.”
              Please elaborate. What is your evidence for the above? I’m especially curious about the link between narcissism and religious zealotry.

            2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

              You are creepy and crazy!

              You are astonishingly unconvincing and borderline incoherent.

              The only stupid decision I made was finding this site … Science based bunch of bull patties.

              “Science” is not decided based on what you happen to believe, it is determined by data. And the data suggests that acupuncture doesn’t work. Sorry!

              Also, feel free to leave. If you go to an alt med discussion board, I’m sure you will find many people who will agree with you.

              You guys are narcissistic and just like religious zealots.

              You apparently need a dictionary!

            3. Windriven says:

              “The only stupid decision I made was finding this site …”

              Well please allow me to help you find the exit. We can’t start airing the place out till you’ve gone.

        2. Badly Shaved Monkey says:

          money rules and people suffer. You did not know that?

          Well, d’uh, I think it’s fairly obvious that you just described the business model that sustains chiropracthc and all other quackeries.

    3. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      The entire system and business of medicine needs to be revisited.

      If you live in the US, I can understand the sentiment. Lacking a public health care option truly is absurd and harmful to the entire population. Why people are fighting it, I’m just not sure.

      I have regular Acupuncture and adjustments and know that they works for me.

      How do you define “works”? If you’re having “regular” adjustments and acupuncture, doesn’t that suggest it only “works” for a short time? Which, might I add, is a characteristic of placebo effects, which also seem to explain the benefits of acupuncture and chiropractic care?

      Conspiracy — yep — I get a sense that you want to feed into these deceptions.

      Well, that may be the case, but a more parsimonious explanation is that you are simply paranoid and use conspiracy theories to explain a complicated world you don’t understand. Don’t feel bad, nobody really understands it.

      1. freespeechisahumanright says:

        It helps my headaches!

        My Acupuncturist is a cool old dude, he just says it works, like breathing works. Stop breathing and you die, stop the acupuncture and the headache may come back. You know he is correct. Now I don’t need to see to see him as often. My sister sees him like clock work — thank the Lord.

        Try it you may like it!! (that is what they say) it hurt a little but not bad. My massage lady … now she can hurt you with those little hands of hers.

        I just wish my insurance covered my visits.

        1. Lawrence says:

          I, for one (and probably many), am glad it doesn’t, since it would affect my premiums & I would prefer that you pay for your quackery in cash….

          1. freespeechisahumanright says:

            Another sick dude … what does premiums have to do with Acupuncture?

            The ACA will take care of higher premiums (hopefully). (not unless your dummies are in charge)

            1. weing says:

              “Another sick dude … what does premiums have to do with Acupuncture?”
              Please present the evidence that money grows on trees. I’m like mouse. I want to go to a resort in Hawaii for 2 weeks every 3 months. It’s the only thing that works for me. I hope my insurance under the ACA will cover it.

            2. Chris says:

              “what does premiums have to do with Acupuncture?”

              Even under ACA many people pay for their own health insurance premiums. Also companies that provide health insurance as a benefit pay for that insurance.

              The point is to keep those premiums lower, and one way is to not pay for ineffective nonsense like acupuncture.

            3. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

              Another sick dude … what does premiums have to do with Acupuncture?

              Insurance plans work by the healthy subsidizing the sick. Everyone pays a premium, only those who actually get sick get “paid back”. It’s a form of gambling. But all of those premiums go towards the costs of treatment. Acupuncture costs money, therefore part of your premium would go towards those who seek acupuncture. Since the supply of money is finite, but you are adding another treatment to the potential pool that finite supply of money must cover, premiums must increase. And because of something called “moral hazard”, the increase will be disproportionate – people who would never had acupuncture before will now seek it out, because it is essentially “free”. This causes an increase in the cost of covering care, which results in premiums going up.

              See Filthy Lucre by Joseph Heath.

              The ACA will take care of higher premiums (hopefully). (not unless your dummies are in charge)

              In which case your taxes will increase instead, for the same reason.

        2. mouse says:

          I wish my insurance covered trips to Hawaii. They are the only thing that work for me.

        3. MadisonMD says:

          It blows my mind how many people do not understand the placebo effect. My son learned about it in 6th grade.

          Anyway, this might be helpful but probably not to an uncritical believer.

          1. Peter S says:

            As the countless online “testimonials” to countless bullshit modalities show, most people do not understand the placebo effect at all. One suspects the “practitioners” of these modalities do, and just take advantage of their ability to elicit it, but who knows.

          2. freespeechisahumanright says:

            Hey that cartoon is nothing like Acupuncture??

            But a link on the page made me think of what you guys are up to:
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Human_Centipede_(First_Sequence)

            Shit in and shit out. lol

            1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

              Yes, but that’s because you aren’t really grasping our points in a meaningful way, and can’t conceive of your mind ever being in error. But don’t worry – you’re just like most people in that regard. And fortunately no major decisions or significant resources are given to you, so the world will continue to totter onwards.

            2. Badly Shaved Monkey says:

              Hey that cartoon is nothing like Acupuncture??

              Explain IN YOUR OWN WORDS why the cartoon is not accurate. I don’t think you can, which is why you resort to inane brain burps.

              1. Stephen S. Rodrigues, MD says:

                Hey … I saw Acupuncture in the feeds and was wondering if you dummies have learned anything. or are you still up to building a following to make money?

                Ha ha, you imposters with no honor or integrity, whatsoever, the only evidence you know is in the form of cash in your pockets.

                Deceiving everyone with the word “Science” into thinking you are real humanitarians.

                Continue on with this joke of a site.

              2. MadisonMD says:

                How do you think anyone here could make money by pointing out acupuncture doesn’t work? The only one here making money on acupuncture is you, SSR. Do you know what irony is?

              3. Badly Shaved Monkey says:

                are you still up to building a following to make money?

                I do this as a hobby, SSR, because I find it interesting.

                What do you charge per hour?

              4. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                Hey … I saw Acupuncture in the feeds and was wondering if you dummies have learned anything. or are you still up to building a following to make money?

                How on earth do any of us make money on this site? Do you really think the ads churn in the filthy lucre? And how do you explain the what, six years where the site had no ads?

                Or are you claiming that Big Pharma is so afraid of acupuncture that it’s wasting tens of thousands of dollars bribing all editors and commentors to stick around and use basic science and common sense to point out how stupid CAM is? Because I do this for free.

                Of course, what you’re really doing is trying to distract from the fact that you are consistently and thoroughly trounced in your efforts to promote acupuncture, which you do make money off of, you hypocrite.

                Ha ha, you imposters with no honor or integrity, whatsoever, the only evidence you know is in the form of cash in your pockets.

                What cash? I haven’t seen any. How exactly do you think this cite is monetizing its web presence, you really think Taboola click-throughs are that profitable?

                Also, do you charge money to offer your customers the privilege of being subjected to unproven, unscientific treatments? Hypocrite. That is, when you’re not violating HIPAA by posting them online as a form of advertising and practice-building in an eminently-identifiable fashion, you unethical shill.

                Deceiving everyone with the word “Science” into thinking you are real humanitarians.

                What does science have to do with being a humanitarian?

                Continue on with this joke of a site

                I hope they do, but I hope you don’t. Your random flailings are irritating.

        4. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          My Acupuncturist is a cool old dude, he just says it works, like breathing works. Stop breathing and you die, stop the acupuncture and the headache may come back. You know he is correct. Now I don’t need to see to see him as often.

          Breathing involves a complex interplay between nerves, muscles, bones, blood and lung tissues. Acupuncture involves needles. They’re not really comparable, but framing the treatment in that manner sure makes you more likely to be a repeat customer.

          Also, have you tried stopping treatments to see if your headaches return? They might have stopped. Or your recovery might be due to your massage therapist, not your acupuncturist.

  22. weing says:

    Your bad writing and logic make me think of SSR. Are you his sockpuppet perchance?

    1. Windriven says:

      The awful writing and indecipherable logic are the same but he lacks SSR’s incoherence, so I don’t think he’s a sock puppet. A brother-in-law or something, maybe.

  23. kxmoore says:

    What a waste of money. The money would have been much better spent investigating therapies that show promise but don’t get private funding because they aren’t patentable. .

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      The money would have been much better spent on anything else.

      Also, you can make money on off-patent medications. Think aspirin, advil, tylenol, pedialyte, etc. There are myraid off-patent medicines that can make money, and the idea that drug companies are only interested in off-patent medicines is wrong.

  24. Mike says:

    Don’t forget the millions that go to the National Organic Program to help market quackery.

  25. Stephen S. Rodrigues, MD says:

    “What does science have to do with being a humanitarian?”

    Exactly! You just choked on your own words.

    Science without a test in reality is just a facade for corrupted beliefs and behaviors that is being fueled by greed, arrogance, dogma and ignorance. No ethics, no integrity and no honor. This is where you all seem to live:
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/57nsjhku59ustux/Where%20SBM%20bloggers%20live.jpg?dl=0

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Science without a test in reality is just a facade for corrupted beliefs and behaviors that is being fueled by greed, arrogance, dogma and ignorance.

      Actually, I would suggest that science without tests of reality is de facto not science, but I understand your meaning. Of course, your statement is facile given you completely ignore the fact that you consistently ignore the evidence (i.e. tests) that acupuncture simply doesn’t work. You are thus exhibiting dogma, arrogance, ignorance, and since you charge patients for it – greed.

      No ethics, no integrity and no honor. This is where you all seem to live

      Why? Because we turn to the scientific literature instead of taking you at your empty word? The main reason we don’t take you at your word is because you generally don’t provide any evidence to support your opinions, and on the rare occasion when you do, it turns out your “evidence” is just a random collection of unrelated and unconvincing references that don’t support your point.

      It’s not our fault you can’t provide any research to support your assertions. It’s not our fault you are completely unconvincing in your demands that we ignore the scientific literature.

      And we are not the ones responsible for breaking federal law. That’s pure you. And yet again, I’m not clicking on your link, because I trust neither your intentions nor your competence to maintain a valid and up-to-date antivirus software suite.

    2. n brownlee says:

      And what IS a test, in reality, you fraud? Would that be a (whole huge bunch of) double-blinded tests against placebo? Or would that be the guy who sells the acupuncture saying, “It works! Believe me! Look away from the curtain!”

  26. Richard says:

    After reading this blog, and a large portion of the comments, I feel the author’s disdain for chiropractic, and other alternative treatments compromises his message.

    There is no doubt in my mind that many people are helped by chiropractic manipulation. Although I believe an inversion table, which can be found on Craigslist for around the cost of one treatment can achieve the same results faster.

    Certainly much of the medicine produced by the pharmaceutical industry is often times no better and more harmful than alternatives.

    When I was in my mid 40s I developed chronic diarrhea, combined with severe fatigue. Multiple trip to allopathic practitioners, and many tests, and cameras shoved up my rectum revealed nothing. The medicine to relax my innards, made me feel terrible, and had no other effect, and the expense to my insurance company was significant. I was losing a lot of weight and my eyes were dark and sunken. My family and I feared for my life. As this was before the internet, I got every book I could from the public library on the subject. After many hours of research I suspected i may have had parasites. At the alternative health food store I was able to get a bottle of walnut oil, combined with wormwood oil, and clove oil. A few drops added to a glass of water a couple times a day and in a week I felt much better and was starting to recover. My instinct tells me this was not a placebo effect. The alternative treatment was less than $15 and cost my insurance company nothing. Had I depended solely on allopathic medicine, I may not have been here to share this story.

    That said, this is otherwise an excellent blog, and very alarming, but I feel the author could be slightly more open minded to alternative treatments.

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      After reading this blog, and a large portion of the comments, I feel the author’s disdain for chiropractic, and other alternative treatments compromises his message.

      Chiropractic and other alternative treatments are consistently dishonest, insist upon equal respect (and funding) compared to proven medicine, are sometimes dangerous and resist change. Don’t you think they deserve disdain? When faced with evidence that cervical adjustments can tear arteries and cause strokes, chiropractors do not assess the evidence and research if their treatments are safe and effective – they lock ranks and criticize the research as best they can. Homeopaths have never acknolwedged their nostrums are worthless. Acupuncturists haven’t switched as a profession to retracting needles that can’t puncture your lungs.

      If you agree with the message but not how it is said, you are tone trolling, add nothing to the discussion and should be ignored. If you disagree with the message but want to pretend you aren’t and just don’t like her “being mean”, then you are, like so many CAM proponents, dishonest and should be criticized.

      There is no doubt in my mind that many people are helped by chiropractic manipulation. Although I believe an inversion table, which can be found on Craigslist for around the cost of one treatment can achieve the same results faster.

      That’s great, what is your evidence for either?

      At best chiropractors are physiotherapists who hyperfocus on one treatment only, spinal manipulation (and physiotherapists are now adding spinal manipulation to their list of treatment modalities, since it has been proven to work with low back pain). At worst, chiropractors claim they can cure cancer, infectious disease and congenital conditions, sometimes adjusting rubber-boned infants fresh out of hte womb in the process. Meanwhile, the only thing proven is that spinal manipulation can help with the short-term amelioration of low back pain. It might help with more – but we don’t know because chiropractors don’t bother conducting meaningful research.

      Certainly much of the medicine produced by the pharmaceutical industry is often times no better and more harmful than alternatives.

      Bullshit. Medicines do carry risks, but they also do what they are supposed to. Big Pharma can’t sell something until it is proven to do something with an adverse effects profile that is commensurate with benefits. This issue is frequently brought up by quacks and their supporters spoon-fed this “argument” but apparently not able to see the flaw. Even if no drugs or medications worked, even if they killed everyone who touched them, that is totally irrelevant to whether or not CAM works. You are presenting a false dilemma – that either medicine is perfectly safe and effective, or CAM works. That is not true on either side. Medicine is effective but has dangers, and that has absolutely no bearing on whether or not CAM treatments work.

      And most do not. Most are profoundly irrational, and often have been tested and failed. Rarely they are tested and shown to be effective, at which point they become part of mainstream medicine (such as spinal manipulation for low back pain, and the use of St. John’s Wort for depression).

      All that is asked for is an even playing field, where CAM hucksters prove their nonsense works before they sell it, and abandon practices found to be ineffecitve and dangerous. Does that really seem like too much to ask?

      When I was in my mid 40s I developed chronic diarrhea BLAH BLAH ANECDOTE BLAH My instinct tells me this was not a placebo effect. The alternative reatment was less than $15 and cost my insurance company nothing. Had I depended solely on allopathic medicine, I may not have been here to share this story.

      And what a tragedy that would have been. The reality is, you have no idea what caused your symptoms or your recovery. Your anecdote is meaningless. Researching remedies from natural sources is called pharmacognosy and is an active area of real, mainstream research. Your instincts, like the instincts of all humans, are unreliable about what is placebo and what is effective medicine. That’s why we need science. How do you know you didn’t recover spontaneously? You don’t. And that’s why anecdotes are scientifically meaningless.

      Oh, and there’s also a chance you are simply a shill for an essential oil company looking to drum up business. We have no way of knowing. And CAM companies are just as dishonest as Big Pharma, but with fewer restraints.

      That said, this is otherwise an excellent blog, and very alarming, but I feel the author could be slightly more open minded to alternative treatments.

      The problem is, people use the words “open minded” as a form of code. What they really mean is “you should accept my anecdote and preferred form of nonsense without seeking or requiring any other evidence, and never look at it critically or skeptically”. The many authors of this blog (it’s a group blog, did you know that?) are all open-minded. They are willing to change their minds given one thing – good evidence.

      Why is that so unreasonable? Why are CAM practitioners and their supporters so unwilling to provide any good evidence? Why proclaim someone “closed minded” merely because they are unwilling to take the word of a salesman as gospel? Would you buy a used car sight-unseen and without having it looked at by a mechanic first? If so, then there is nothing anyone here can say that will help you.

    2. Harriet Hall says:

      “My instinct tells me this was not a placebo effect.”

      Oh, goody! Clinical science can stop. We don’t need to do any more expensive placebo-controlled studies; we can just hire Richard and ask him what his instincts say.

      Richard’s instincts were good enough to diagnose parasitosis, to know that those natural oils effectively treat parasites, and to know that his symptoms couldn’t possibly have resolved without treatment, in the natural course of illness. We doctors weren’t endowed with Richard’s infallible instincts. We have to test for the presence of parasites before making a diagnosis, and we don’t use natural oils because there is no scientific evidence that they work.

      1. Badly Shaved Monkey says:

        And chronic GI disease is susceptible to a whole host of factors (diet, stress etc etc) that are controlled for and/or randomised for in any fair trial, which is exactly what was not done in Richard’s n=1 personal anecdote.

        I am, by the way, minded to stop using the acronym for Randomised Controlled Trials and simply call them ‘fair trials’ in future. RCT makes them sound more complicated, sciency and alienating to the untrained than they really are and the idea of the term fair trial is that it highlights the SCAMsters advocacy of alternative testing methods, which are at heart unfair trials of various types.

  27. Anna says:

    I have received great relief from a Chiropractor for bursitis pain in my hip. No traditional doctor has ever been able to help me with it. I take a homeopathic tablet for allergies that works better than Benadryl with zero side effects. Inhaling Lavender helps me relax and sleep through the night. Most “alternative” treatments are inexpensive, especially when compared to a pharmaceutical, and can be helpful for minor ailments when taken/used safely and responsibly. I do not believe they should be a substitute for traditional medicine, but they are effective in helping your immune system kick a cold, ease mild anxiety or relax sore and achey muscles. Integrating these practices assures that alternative treatments are being used safely and are overseen by a medical doctor. I can’t see anything wrong with this.

    1. Harriet Hall says:

      I don’t see anything wrong with doing this for yourself, but it is wrong to make the claim to others that alternative treatments are effective on the basis of testimonials or personal experiences that have not been tested with scientific methods. You may not realize how often beliefs as strong as yours have been proven wrong and how easily people can come to believe ineffective treatments work. http://www.csicop.org/si/show/why_bogus_therapies_seem_to_work/

      1. Stephen S. Rodrigues, MD says:

        “I don’t see anything wrong with doing this for yourself, but it is wrong to make the claim to others that alternative treatments are effective”

        This is calling the kettle black!!

        You hack! You made a bold statement about Acupuncture not working based on you biased research and are actually stubbornly resistant to change your ideas knowing there are more data to consider! That is the definition of a ignoramus. Why would be believe you???

        Anna made a discovery that an alternative option helped her case. That is her testimony and it is valid evidence.

        You crummy evidence based on a narrow view and your personal vendetta towards alternative makes your argument worthless and sinister!! You should remove that deceptive argument off of the web, if you had any honor or integrity.

        Don’t be a pissed scientist, just let it go, you are wrong!

        1. MadisonMD says:

          Not pissed. Just that acupuncture doesn’t work.

          You don’t understand science. Yeah, there could be more evidence about the shape of the earth later. But that evidence isn’t likely to reveal that the earth is actually flat and has an edge with water flowing over it. So I confidently state that the earth is not flat and, similarly, after thousands of studies, that acupuncture doesn’t work.

        2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          Steve, you claim that Dr. Hall has only conducted biased research – her conclusions are based on and in line with the conclusions of the best form of research summary available, the meta-analysis and specifically Cochrane reviews. Even highly pro-acupuncture researchers have to admit that the conclusions are null or weak because the research is terrible:

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25146086
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25146082
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25064021
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0011712/
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25038176

          Meanwhile you are consistently asked for evidence that acupuncture works, and your replies are consistently “in my experience”, which is even less evidence than the uncontrolled trials that meta-analyses consider insufficient to conclude on. And in the rare case you do provide some peer-reviewed data, it turns out that your sources are irrelevant. So rather than claiming Dr. Hall is a terrible scientist, perhaps be a little more honest about your own failings.

          Anna made a discovery that an alternative option helped her case. That is her testimony and it is valid evidence.

          Yeah, no. Anecdotes are not valid evidence. Want to know why? I had acupuncture when I had ankle pain last year, and it didn’t help. So who is right, Anna or me? Because of this “crummy evidence” you can’t make any conclusions – anecdotes are not data.

          And it’s amusing that someone who is currently being investigated for a HIPAA violation and makes actual money from acupuncture is critical of another’s integrity.

          Don’t be a pissed practitioner, just let it go, you are wrong!

        3. Windriven says:

          “Anna made a discovery that an alternative option helped her case. That is her testimony and it is valid evidence.”

          Valid evidence of what, Steve? Quit with your silly flailing and jabbering and demonstrate that you know .016 jack turds about science and give us a careful explanation of the evidentiary value of Anna’s comment.

    2. weing says:

      “Integrating these practices assures that alternative treatments are being used safely and are overseen by a medical doctor. I can’t see anything wrong with this.”

      Of course you can’t. You are not a doctor. Only practices that have proven, not just claimed, benefits ought to be integrated. Unlike in the paternalistic past, we are not allowed to lie to patients. Informed consent requires that we tell the patient that there is no scientific proof that this works and that it is just placebo effect. This ethical and legal standard does not apply to CAM practitioners. They can lie to patients as much as they want. Do you want us to go back to the paternalism of the past and lie to you? Self-limited conditions are by definition that. Your sore muscles will get better in 72 hours with CAM treatment and in 3 days without.

      1. Stephen S. Rodrigues, MD says:

        @weing

        You are absolutely stupid to think that a chronic problem, as hers, would just go away and disappear into thin air. Duh! You and your group are good at twisting peoples testimonies up into your dark sinister minds. Stop it will you!! (i know you won’t — just needed to be dramatic)

        Yes injuries to heal automatically within a week or so, but any lingering pain requires the proper PT. Chiropractic care is a form of PT!

        1. MadisonMD says:

          You think trochanteric bursitis cannot improve spontaneously? Oh, no, you contradict yourself in the second paragraph by stating it can.

        2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          Chiropractic care is a form of PT!

          Yep, in terms of what they can actually do. In terms of what they claim they can do (i.e. curing cancer) they are useless and in fact a danger.

      2. Anna says:

        I wasn’t experiencing sore muscles. This was severe, debilitating pain that I experienced for over 20 years. I am an otherwise normal, healthy adult. I was very skeptical of chiropractic treatment, but was very desperate for relief when I went for my first appointment. After one adjustment I could walk without limping and after two adjustments I had no pain at all. People can do what they want with their own health, but a Chiropractor helped me when no U of M doctor could.

        1. KayMarie says:

          While an anecdote sometimes one good crack and restore function depending on how something is out of position.

          My Mom had severe hip pain after a head on collision. She finally went to see the Osteopathic physician after all the other docs couldn’t find what was causing the pain and couldn’t fix it. He was the doc that worked on my hips when I was an infant. He was doing a range of motion exam and just so happened to move it just the right way (wasn’t even an adjustment, it was an evaluation) and with a loud crack my Mom’s pain was all gone.

          Doc didn’t need to pretend he fixed some invisible subluxation or anything wooful. He didn’t know why that particular move fixed it, but if she didn’t hurt anymore, she didn’t need to come back. It was so loud he was afraid he’d broken a bone or something, but nope, one loud crack and all was well and stayed that way.

          1. Anna says:

            I have had several range of motion exams and they are similar to what a chiropractor does. I am very happy to have been helped by a chiropractor. I do not take any prescription medication and don’t intend to. I am pretty much an average, middle class white woman who lives a healthy lifestyle, but doesn’t overdue on organic food or the latest fad vitamin. This is my experience and that is all I can offer.

  28. Thinking_Chiro says:

    There have been some interesting comments above.
    Palmer college has a research department doing the right research, pushing evidence based chiropractic and change, while the teaching department is a slave to the past and supports subluxation.
    The problem and the solution under one roof.

    1. Stephen S. Rodrigues, MD says:

      They need to lose that subluxation word and focus on what is true.

      Medical Acupuncturist also need to clarify why modern acupuncture is different than the Chinese type.

      For that matter, formal orthopedic surgeons need to nix the “bone-on-bone” lie.
      Once they do the lawsuits will be astronomical!!

      Flawed concepts need to be updated.

      1. MadisonMD says:

        You seem to have a great deal of expertise in flawed concepts.

      2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        They need to lose that subluxation word and focus on what is true.

        The truth is that chiropractors are redundant to physiotherapists, or a frank danger to patients, and acupuncture appears to be a placebo.

        Medical Acupuncturist also need to clarify why modern acupuncture is different than the Chinese type.

        You are assuming it IS different from Chinese (and Tibetan, and Japanese, and Korena, and Indian, and French, and German, and Russian) acupuncture. So far none of the “types” of acupuncture have been proven superior to placebo for any condition.

        For that matter, formal orthopedic surgeons need to nix the “bone-on-bone” lie.

        Assuming it is a lie, and note that this is irrelevant to the effectiveness of either chiropractic or acupuncture, neither of which work.

        Flawed concepts need to be updated.

        Yes. For instance, acupuncture should be abandoned, or at best restricted solely to short-term and unreliable relief of pain and nausea.

  29. Woo Fighter says:

    From the link that WLU provided to the blog of Ms. Wendy Coburn, Edmonton chiropractor:

    SUBLUXATIONS affect all of us.
    Subluxations damage the nervous system.
    A damaged nervous system weakens the immune system. A weakened immune system leads to cancer. If you believe cancer is serious, do YOU believe subluxations are serious?
    Subluxations are SERIOUS.

    Chiropractic does not cure back pain, asthma, ear infections, or cancer. In fact, Chiropractic doesn’t cure anything.
    Chiropractic adjustments restore life to your body by reducing subluxations and allowing your God given ability to heal to flow from above – down, from the inside – out.
    The difference between your oncologist and your Chiropractor is your Chiropractor believes in your body’s ability to HEAL cancer. Your Chiropractor believes in your body’s ability to function, heal, and recreate better free of subluxations.

    I am truly sick to my stomach now. This moron is ACTUALLY SAYING that a) subluxations cause cancer and b) she can cure it with adjustments.

    1. Peter S says:

      If God gave people the innate ability to heal, why does he or she give them subluxations that interfere with said ability? I guess the logic of Coburn’s blog post is that chiropractors are agents of God?

  30. BrettMD says:

    No worse than the Missouri Medical Board wasting upwards of 100,000 dollars of Tax-payer money to reprimand the cardiologist Dr. Antoine Adem for providing good medical care to six patients that, per the guidelines, could be treated by stent placement.

    Why would the doctors on the Medical Board waste an hour of their time looking up the clinical practice guidelines in order to determine if the care was appropriate, when they can rely on hearsay, that the care was indeed inappropriate, toss the case to their lawyer, and have no responsibility for costing this man $100,000+ in his legislative fees, and wasting as much from the State.

    In addition, the medical board members oversaw, and presumably condoned the commission of fraud for each of the patients. The charges against Dr. Adem were fraudulent claims that had relationship to the testimony of the their expert witness.
    The Medical Board committed fraud repeatedly, and did it for each patient Dr. Adem allegedly provided bad care for,

    Thus, in spite of the medical board’s repeated acts of fraud against Dr. Antoine Adem, they chose not to reprimand their own licenses for their unethical and unprofessional conduct. A medical student would likely have been able to determine that the care was approrpriate within an hour.

    Kind regards.

    based on testimony of their expert witness.

    testimony that was reported by the State Medical Board to the judge

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