Friday, February 26, 2010

Woo-Woo On the Run in 2010!!!

Just another quick followup on my recent posts about homeopathy.

First, there is this article: Homoeopathy discredited by UK panel (thanks to David for the link).

Second, there is an excellent article on the Neurologica blog: Homeopaths On The Run, which shows that they really are on the run. You can always recognize woo-woo by the way it reacts to real criticism.

Hopefully, this will add some weight to the discussion in this country as well, and we'll see homeopathy go away. Enough money has been wasted, which would've been better used in real medicine.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Some Good News: Homeopathy Is... Nothing!

Following my last post, there is actually some good news from the center of the homeopathic universe: the U.K. (that's because homeopathy enjoys "royal" support there).
This piece of info comes via Orac's exceptional "Respectful Insolence" blog:

"[...] yesterday, when the Science and Technology Select Committee delivered its verdict on homeopathy. Indeed, the Committee has gone so far as to call for the complete withdrawal of NHS funding and official licensing for homeopathy."

The Long Dark Tea-Time of Homeopathy

As with other woo-woo... let's hope this gets the ball rolling and shines some much needed critical light on the issue. One can hope.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Homeopathy... Continued...

You might remember my post from last year about my own, close encounter with woo-woo: homeopathy.
I wrote about someone unfortunate, who, out of desperation had dived into the world of homeopathic nothingness (isn't that exactly what homeopathy is???). I also posted some funny documents received from the homeopathic quack. Those were meant to be instructions on how to take the special concoctions, and they make any reasonable person laugh, except you feel really bad for the one who's being taken here (and for hundreds of dollars, no less!).
The red flags started popping up even before I saw the documents, as I had some insight into the initial interview process, which was meant to determine the exact course of treatment, however, it turned out to be more like a cold reading session, designed to extract various information about the patient and his past. This information was later used to create an impression that the homeopathic practitioner created a 'holistic" approach to the treatment, as it was somehow better and more effective in treating the actual problem.
Well, after almost six months it's time for an update. Did it help? Did the person get better? Did it work any better than any conventional medicine approaches?

Do I hear drum rolls...

It did not work. Period.

Is that a surprise for anyone with a shred of rational thinking left? No!
A little more background information is in order.
The problem in this case is a traumatic brain injury and it seems that conventional medicine does not offer easy answers. In such cases, time appears to be the best healer, and the normal brain functions return slowly, as they are picked up by other regions of the brain, not damaged by the trauma. It's easy to become desperate, it is very easy to cling to any hope, and look for help anywhere. That's when the alternative medicine often steps in, giving false hopes for a hefty price.

Homeopathy is CRAP. There is nothing there! You buy a nicely wrapped placebo, which might work for your headache, or cold (do I hear confirmation bias?), but will not, and can not work for specific, physical problems.
Not only it did not help after hundreds of dollars spent, but the "practitioner", who initially prescribed and sold the "medication", stopped returning phone calls, and is basically unreachable.
It is makes me mad to see quacks and frauds exploiting others for profit, and selling them sugar pills, or (mostly) pure water.

We should all think about it next time we buy a homeopathic remedy. You'd be better off donating that money to some worthy cause.

UPDATE (2/26/2010):
I forgot to include the link to the place in question:
Quantum Health
You know, when something hes "quantum" in it, it must be scientific...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

More On Vaccines and Wakefield's Research

All the news from the vaccine field has been very good in the last few weeks, validating all of the research done in the past decades.
First, Andrew Wakefiled, the doctor behind the original 1998 MMR study, was found guilty of acting unethically and irresponsibly by the British General Medical Council, which meant that his study was basically "full of bull****". We need to remember that not only this study was never replicated (and not because people did not try), but 10 out of 13 authors withdrew their support long time ago, which plainly shows that there was something seriously wrong with it, even before the whole thing was investigated.
Next, The Lancet actually retracted the paper from their record, which, as far as I can tell, is a big deal, since they don't do it lightly and in their history had retracted very few research papers.
Since the above "study" (we must put it in quotes from now on) was the only one which supposedly linked vaccines to autism, and now it is officially debunked, there is nothing left on the anti-vaxx side of the equation. There are numerous studies DISPROVING any link between autism and vaccines, mercury, thimerosal, vaccine schedule, etc.
It really is time to abandon this non-existent issue and put the money and energy where it belongs: finding real causes and cures for autism!!!

As a side note, it's nice to see a voice of reason on the most "un-reasoned" Web news source: the Huffington Post:
One more time, just so nobody misses the point here - Andrew Wakefield lied to you. He lied, and because of his lies, children are dead.

Let's be clear - science works. You fly in airplanes because we understand lift. You watch television because we understand electromagnetism. And you live in a small-pox free world because we understand germ theory and vaccination. This understanding is a direct result of the scientific method being applied rigorously and openly. This scientific methodology unequivocally gets the job done - and if you don't believe me, turn your computer off and make your response to this article by casting a spell over a clear pond. Go ahead, I'll wait.
I applaud The Lancet for retracting this flawed article by this flawed, unlicensed, and discredited man. I only hope that we can now, finally, begin to undo the damage that Wakefield and his ilk have inflicted on the world.
Don't let your kids be Andrew Wakefield's next victims.
Waking Up From the Wakefield Nightmare

Of course, the real "believers", or to use more correct term DENIERS, will not stop, as one can plainly see in the same Huffington Post, analyzed nicely here: David Kirby, King Of Denial.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

No Comments Needed

No comments needed:

Medical journal retracts study linking autism to vaccine

The medical journal The Lancet on Tuesday retracted a controversial 1998 paper that linked the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine to autism.

The study subsequently had been discredited, and last week, the lead author, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, was found to have acted unethically in conducting the research.