How to spot bad regulation of alternitive medicine

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How to spot bad regulation of alternitive medicine

Post: #267104 demi
Sun Oct 07, 2012 7:19 am

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Re: How to spot bad regulation of alternitive medicine

Post: #267119 MKG
Sun Oct 07, 2012 1:10 pm

It was bloody obvious where Andy Lewis's opinions lay before he finished the first sentence. I'm not one for quackery, but he really lays it on thick and includes everything he can think of. But including herbalism? That's a bit silly, given that a lot of modern medicine is based upon derivatives of herbalism. Yes, there are herbalist quacks - but there are also people who actually think about what they're doing. And there are also bad practitioners of modern medicine.

I'm only saying this so that Green Aura owes me a favour, by the way.

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Re: How to spot bad regulation of alternitive medicine

Post: #267127 Green Aura
Sun Oct 07, 2012 3:01 pm

Another Mike? :roll: :tongue:

I'm not sure why you have such a negative attitude to alternative medicines, demi. It's purely your choice whether to use any of them, or not.

I'm afraid Ben Goldthingy and his ilk have no more right to claim access to the ultimate truth about these things than anyone else. They pick and choose their research to fit their argument and leave out any bits they don't like. An example of this is some Japanese research into Lavender essential oil - they "proved" that Lavender is dangerous for young boys because of its feminising effect. The media went mad for a short while warning of the dangers. On reading the actual paper, rats had been given daily doses of neat lavender EO in doses so far above those which would be used clinically, and for such a sustained period, it was completely meaningless. All that could be deduced is that overdoses of neat Lavender EO, given over several weeks, caused a drop in male hormones - in rats.

Medical herbalism is a science-based discipline with very clear research and careful checks and balances. Aromatherapy, although unfortunately closely linked with beauty therapy, is increasingly following the same route - well at least the top flight, reputable training establishments are. Not all herbalists or aromatherapists will be founts of all knowledge but very few doctors are either. Iatrogenic conditions are pretty much unheard of in alternative medicines.

Of course there are some weird and wonderful "alternatives" that desperate people will turn to - mainly when mainstream medicine has failed them - or at least its practitioners have.
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Re: How to spot bad regulation of alternitive medicine

Post: #267130 Zech
Sun Oct 07, 2012 4:07 pm

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Re: How to spot bad regulation of alternitive medicine

Post: #267140 demi
Sun Oct 07, 2012 6:15 pm

Green Aura wrote:Another Mike? :roll: :tongue:

I'm not sure why you have such a negative attitude to alternative medicines, demi. It's purely your choice whether to use any of them, or not.

I'm afraid Ben Goldthingy and his ilk have no more right to claim access to the ultimate truth about these things than anyone else. They pick and choose their research to fit their argument and leave out any bits they don't like. An example of this is some Japanese research into Lavender essential oil - they "proved" that Lavender is dangerous for young boys because of its feminising effect. The media went mad for a short while warning of the dangers. On reading the actual paper, rats had been given daily doses of neat lavender EO in doses so far above those which would be used clinically, and for such a sustained period, it was completely meaningless. All that could be deduced is that overdoses of neat Lavender EO, given over several weeks, caused a drop in male hormones - in rats.

Medical herbalism is a science-based discipline with very clear research and careful checks and balances. Aromatherapy, although unfortunately closely linked with beauty therapy, is increasingly following the same route - well at least the top flight, reputable training establishments are. Not all herbalists or aromatherapists will be founts of all knowledge but very few doctors are either. Iatrogenic conditions are pretty much unheard of in alternative medicines.

Of course there are some weird and wonderful "alternatives" that desperate people will turn to - mainly when mainstream medicine has failed them - or at least its practitioners have.



I have a negitive attitude to harmful lies being promoted by money grabbing sharlitons. People have died from refusing to recieve medical treatment for live threatning illnesses like cancer and instead recieving homeopathic treatment after being wrongly scared away from docters by said homeopathic practitioners. The homeopaths put peoples lives at risk by promoting things like anti malerial homeopathic remedies ( its just water!) then people come back from africa with maleria, what are the chances! And theres the whole vaccine issue as well. Its it totally immoral.
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'If you just close your eyes and block your ears, to the acumulated knowlage of the last 2000 years,
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Re: How to spot bad regulation of alternitive medicine

Post: #267154 Green Aura
Sun Oct 07, 2012 8:04 pm

demi wrote:People have died from refusing to recieve medical treatment for live threatning illnesses like cancer and instead recieving homeopathic treatment after being wrongly scared away from docters by said homeopathic practitioners. The homeopaths put peoples lives at risk by promoting things like anti malerial homeopathic remedies ( its just water!) then people come back from africa with maleria, what are the chances! And theres the whole vaccine issue as well. Its it totally immoral.


And people die from the medical treatments too demi. I'm no defender of homeopathy, although I've seen good results, albeit short lived. I know, and have worked with, several GPs and a consultant anaesthetist, who were homeopathic practitioners, so the two treatment methods are by no means mutually exclusive.

Morality is a whole other subject, but your belief that Western medicine is the be all and end all of healthcare could equally be argued immoral. And picking out odd examples, like anti-malarial treatment to dismiss alternative therapies may not be immoral but it is bad science.
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Re: How to spot bad regulation of alternitive medicine

Post: #267156 oldjerry
Sun Oct 07, 2012 8:34 pm

Anyhow, ALL doctors bury their mistakes,..right??

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Re: How to spot bad regulation of alternitive medicine

Post: #267166 MKG
Mon Oct 08, 2012 2:11 am

Lewis's article is awful. It's written from an obvious pre-existing bias and is categorically wrong in several places. I hope, though, that everyone noticed that its headline was how to spot bad regulation rather than bad medicine. I hope that everyone did because the author obviously didn't.

I rail about alternative therapies - the ones which are developed because someone simply wanted them to exist (sometimes because of a predilection for magic, sometimes just for profit). My opinion is that chiropractic, homeopathy, etc. etc. etc. (add your favourite one) belong to that class. However, I also rail about bad journalism, terrible research and sheer bo**ocks - and the article is full of all three. A good example is the insistence in the article that homeopaths prescribe sugar pills (he said that twice). Anything but - I totally agree with you that a lot of homeopathic remedies are simply water with a tacit acceptance of the fairy-tale of molecular memory - so the article falls at the first hurdle.

Two things - modern medicine sometimes kills people, and modern medicine does not have the answer to everything. That's where the quacks sneak in, and they are ably supported by the placebo effect (which exists, which can be demonstrated to exist, and which usually costs money). The placebo effect, by the way, is just as active within conventional medicine as it is in any of the more esoteric forms of treatment.

The must-have criterion is evidence, and Lewis is correct in stating that there is zero evidence for the effectiveness of most alternative medicine systems (lots of anecdotes, but they don't count). By its very nature, for instance, evidence of the effectiveness of homeopathy will never be forthcoming. But that is not so for all types of herbalism - the effectiveness of some herbal remedies is beyond question, given that the effectiveness of their derivatives as used within conventional medicine is beyond question. Aspirin (disregarding its other effects) is a damn good painkiller - so preparations of willow bark will provide the same effect, and a preparation of willow bark seems to me to be a herbal remedy. Lewis seems not to know this.

As evidenced in another thread on here, I wholeheartedly supported the recent introduction of legislation designed to eliminate quackery. But that doesn't imply that I'm going to fall into the trap of insisting that modern medical techniques are always correct. Which brings me to the point, which is embarrassing because I've forgotten what it was.

Oh yes - Demi, if people choose to refuse conventional treatment and go homeopathic, that is not the fault of homeopathy. It is the refusal which is questionable in that particular instance. Homeopathy is, I believe, a collection of errors accepted as real by gullible people, but we can't lay wrong personal decisions at its door.

The article gives blanket rejection to anything which is not generally accepted within conventional medicine and, as such, is necessarily going to be in error. Journalists like Lewis do nothing to forward the cause of a more rigorous approach to medicine - they simply put people's backs up.

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Re: How to spot bad regulation of alternitive medicine

Post: #267170 demi
Mon Oct 08, 2012 5:27 am

It is the falut of homeopathy in that homeopathy exists and encourages people towards its lies, discouraging them from potentially life saving conventional treatments. It cherry picks bad outcomes of conventional medicine, lies about the meanings of the results to make it seem as bad as possible and generally uses scaremungering to frighten people off their medical docters and turn to the more 'natural', 'safe', 'alternitive' treatments. This blatent lieing done by homeopaths and other 'alternitive' practitioners is all designed to get people through the door to make their mega bucks, denieying them of proper medical treatment which can compromise their health and potentionally lead to more scerious health problems and even death from failling to recieving proper medical treatment.

I never said conventional medicine doesn't have flaws, on the contrary, there is a whole other issue with negitive results never being published to make it look like their drug is better than it is ect ect. But thats another issue, and it exists for both conventional and alternitive medicine.

My problem is with the outright lies proclaimed by altenitive practitioners, lies which are potentially harmful to public health. Homeopathy is a billion dollar indistry, same goes for the whole alternitive scean. They are sharlitons praying of the gullable and endangering peoples lives.
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Re: How to spot bad regulation of alternitive medicine

Post: #267182 Green Aura
Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:11 am

I'm not personally of the opinion that scientists have to prove something to make it real. The human race survived on old wives tales and anecdotal evidence for millenia before hard science said it was OK, or not. And scientists have led us up a number of blind alleys, depending on their own bias and funding source (anyone who believes all scientists are totally objective is just as deluded as those that believe the moon is made of green cheese - but that doesn't make science as a discipline wrong or a lie).

Repeatedly saying that homeopathists are all liars doesn't make it true. Whether the discipline is built on a scientifically accepted knowledge base or not is immaterial really. If, like you say, it's a billion pound business then it must be doing something, for a lot of people. I accept that it may be down to the time given in consultation, the placebo effect, or a number of other possibilities that aren't reliant on water having a memory ( I just don't know - I don't use homeopathy but know people who do, with good results). But I've never seen it advertised anywhere (other than the alternative medicine journals that I occasionally read). You have to seek practitioners out, unless you live near the Homeopathic Hospital, and yet still it's a major industry apparently. The NHS probably couldn't cope if all those suddenly turned to it for treatment for their various ills.

But any alternative practitioner who discourages people from using conventional treatment is, I agree, very wrong. That (again) doesn't mean that all practitioners do that, or that the whole discipline is bad. That is probably why many practitioners choose to use the term complementary rather than alternative.

Even if homeopathy didn't exist there's nothing to suggest that these refusers of conventional treatments would roll over and accept it. Conventional cancer treatment, at best, is pretty horrible with side effects that some just can't contemplate. At it's worst many have told me that had they known what it was going to be like they'd have refused it - and they still died, having spent their last few months in a terrible state, from the "cure" not the disease.

You may not believe that homeopathy can cure cancer or other diseases (and I agree it takes a huge leap of the imagination that's too far for me) but are all the people who say they've been successfully treated liars too?
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Re: How to spot bad regulation of alternitive medicine

Post: #267186 demi
Mon Oct 08, 2012 10:13 am

The whole concept of homeopathy is a lie, therefore advocates of homeopathy are promoting that lie to the public, wither they themselves believe it or not. There is no truth in homeopathy. It was made up purely as a business plan by shoddy sharlitons.

Anecdotal evidence alone doesn't have a leg to stand on. Especially as they only tell you the success stories and leave out all the millions of failed ones. The placebo effect is a really fascinating thing to study, but when we need medical treatment we need something that is effective, safe and the best treatment available. What we don't need is an under effective placebo.

Homeopathy has repeatedly been shown to be NO BETTER THAN PLACEBO. That is NOT an effective treatment, especially so in potentially serious medical conditions.
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Re: How to spot bad regulation of alternitive medicine

Post: #267193 Green Aura
Mon Oct 08, 2012 2:55 pm

I can't help feeling that you may have been personally affected by this subject somehow.

So I have one more point that you might consider and then I'll leave my arguments there. Branding, repeatedly, everyone who has anything to do with homeopathy as either a liar or a gullible idiot who is hoodwinked by a snake oil salesman isn't going to win you any arguments, no matter how strongly you feel you are right.

I'm sure, despite your strong feelings on this particular subject, that you reserve the right to make your own choices re your diet/lifestyle/healthcare etc. Allow others theirs.
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Re: How to spot bad regulation of alternitive medicine

Post: #267199 grahamhobbs
Mon Oct 08, 2012 3:37 pm

I have suffered from hayfever for many, many years. I tried conventional medicine and took antihistamines, these just knocked me out. Through trying to think about what my body was saying and trial and error, I discovered that if on potentially bad days, if I didn't drink during the day and avoided certain foods I could avoid attacks. Then later in life I discovered if I got caught out (it's not easy always not drinking during the day) and got an attack, eating the leaves of narrow leaf plantain (usually readily found) that it would rapidly stop the symptoms.

Now I am definitely not one for believing things that do not have a scientific base, however we have to recognise Western medicine is still at a low level of understanding about the body and generally tries to cure isolated symptoms directly with a chemical fix, rather than looking more holistically at the situation (where Eastern medicine tends to start). Therefore conventional medicine maybe the best we have, but you have to keep a sceptical view of it and as I have discovered others, like herbalists, may have better solutions. This is I believe is a proper sceptical scientific approach.

As for homoeopathy, the evidence appears to be strongly against it. Unfortunately large numbers of people put more faith in faith. The situation being confused by the fact that placebos do work sometimes (occasionally more often than some drugs).

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Re: How to spot bad regulation of alternitive medicine

Post: #267209 Thomzo
Mon Oct 08, 2012 6:22 pm

Ok - I know I shall get shot down for this but here goes:

Like Graham, I suffer from hayfever. For years I found that homeopathic pills gave a fair amount of relief from the mild symptoms at the start and end of the season. Antihistamines, as others have already mentioned, make me extremely tired so I'd like to avoid them if possible.

When I discovered what homeopathy is, I decided it must be a load of rubbish and that they couldn't possibly work and, hey-presto, they stopped working.

Placebo effect - certainly, but so what? Hayfever isn't life-threatening (in my case). Now I'm reliant on chemicals and I wish I could replicate the placebo effect of the homeopathic remedy.

I understand that some people rely on homeopathy to stand in when they think that modern medicine has failed them but then isn't that the fault of modern doctors for not treating them, listening to them, talking to them and counselling them properly?

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Re: How to spot bad regulation of alternitive medicine

Post: #267221 MKG
Mon Oct 08, 2012 11:19 pm

No, it isn't, Zoe. How can it be? Sure there are doctors who could do with a serious course on establishing good relationships with patients, but saying that it's the fault of those doctors that people feel driven to alternative therapies is entirely equivalent to Demi's insistence that all homeopaths are pathological liars. Rejecting a system which is (let's choose a figure) 95% reliable for a system which is constantly proved to be based upon pseudoscience is the responsibility of the person who makes that choice.

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