Category: Acupuncture

Yes We Can! We Can Abolish the NCCAM! Part II

Pseudoscience and Dishonesty, continued: “Reliable Information”? In the previous post, we examined misrepresentations by the late National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) Director Stephen Straus and Margaret Chesney, written in 2006 as a rebuttal to a critical article by Donald Marcus and Arthur Grollman in Science magazine. Here, we continue. According to Straus and Chesney: Before the establishment of NCCAM,...

/ January 31, 2009
Commander Yevsey Goldberg conducts an acupuncture procedure.

Battlefield acupuncture revisited: That’s it? That‘s all Col. Niemtzow’s got?

It’s like the zombie that wouldn’t die, isn’t it? I’m referring to so-called “battlefield acupuncture,” a topic that I wrote about last week for this very blog. With a week separating my usual posts, I normally don’t write about the same topic two times right in a row, but I’m making an exception for this topic. There are three reasons. First, I...

/ December 22, 2008
BattlefieldAcupuncture

“Battlefield acupuncture”?

THE SCENE: Iraq, Afghanistan, or anywhere where U.S. troops are risking life and limb. THE TIME: The not-too-distant-future. Maybe even 2009. Joe is on patrol. It’s the middle of summer in the desert town. The air hangs heavy, hot, dry and dusty, like a blast furnace firing steel. The heat penetrates Joe’s 80 lb pack in much the same way the heat...

/ December 15, 2008

On the dangers of using valid placebo controls in clinical trials of acupuncture

I don’t recall if I’ve ever mentioned this before on this blog, but there was a time when I was less skeptical of acupuncture than I am now. It’s true. Don’t get me wrong, though. I never for a minute considered that the whole rigamarole about “unblocking” or “redirecting” the flow of that mystical life force known as qi had anything to...

/ November 17, 2008

“It’s just a theory”

I am afraid that the experiments you quote, M. Pasteur, will turn against you. The world into which you wish to take us is really too fantastic. La Presse, 1860 It’s just a theory. Not evolution. Germ theory. Just a theory, one of many that account for the etiology of diseases. I should mention my bias up front. I am, as some...

/ November 7, 2008

Is There a Placebo Effect for Animals?

One of the occasional arguments used in support of “alternative” approaches to human medicine is the observation that since “alternative” medicine is used (with anecdotal success) in animals, and animals don’t know anything about the treatment that they’re getting, then they must work a priori.  Of course, the fallacy of such an observation is pretty obvious to anyone with a logical/skeptical frame...

/ October 25, 2008
Acupuncture

Puncturing the Acupuncture Myth

Note: This is slightly revised from an article I originally wrote as a “SkepDoc” column for Skeptic magazine. It was pre-released online in eSkeptic and it has already generated a lot of comments, including “a truly amazing piece of peurile pseudo-intellectualism,” “an ad hominem attack on one form of alternative medicine so beset by poor thinking that one must come to the...

/ October 21, 2008

Acupuncture for Hot Flashes – Or, Why So Many Worthless Acupuncture Studies?

In yet another round of science by press release, a particularly unimpressive acupuncture study is making the rounds of the major news outlets proclaiming that acupuncture works. I guess that is a sort-of answer to my title question – why are so many scientifically worthless acupuncture studies being done? Let’s take a look at this particular study to see why it is...

/ September 24, 2008

Cavalcade of Quackery: A Pantomine Horse

Last week I received the news release below that Steve Zeitzew, an orthopedic surgeon at VA Hospital Los Angeles and UCLA, sent to the Healthfraud list. It was sent to me by our colleague Liz Woeckner, President of the nonprofit research protection advocacy organization Citizens for Responsible Care in Research (CIRCARE) http://www.circare.org/ Ms. Woeckner sent it on with a cryptic comment, wondering...

/ July 10, 2008

Another Acupuncture Study – On Heartburn

Patients with heartburn are often diagnosed with GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and treated with a drug called a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) to reduce stomach acid production. It is pretty effective, but it doesn’t always work. When it doesn’t, standard practice has been to double the dose of PPI. Doubling the dose only improves symptoms in 20-25%. Most patients who fail the...

/ February 12, 2008