Category: Acupuncture

“Quackery: A $10 Billion Scandal”

Who would you guess authored a 250-page report which begins with this Preface? This report marks the culmination of an intensive four-year review of quackery and its impact on the elderly. . . As this report details, quackery has traveled far from the day of the pitchman and covered wagon to emerge as big business. Those who orchestrate and profit from the...

/ October 30, 2014
From the Wikimedia Commons.

Placebo Speculations

I have a new term to add to the English language, ebolasmacked, a derivative of the British term gobsmacked. Ebolasmacked defines my life the last few weeks since Ebola, or at last preparations for Ebola, have taken a huge bite out of my time with many interesting twists and turns. I think this is maybe the 9th outbreak (HIV, MERS, SARS, Legionella,...

/ October 17, 2014

Neuro-Acupuncture and Stroke

On the home page of Zhu’s Neuro-Acupuncture Center there is a video relaying a testimonial of how scalp acupuncture helped a patient recover from acute stroke. The use of testimonials is very common in the promotion of dubious health treatments. A personal story and endorsement is psychologically more compelling than dry data. Testimonials are completely unreliable, however, and in fact I would...

/ October 15, 2014

Chaperones Needed. On acupuncture.

I receive a monthly newsletter from my medical board. Among other issues discussed are the results of disciplinary actions for physicians. Occasionally a physician who has boundary issues is required to have a chaperone present when doing exams. I was thinking that the concept of a chaperone could be more widely applicable. Consider “You Docs: Amazing acupuncture,” the latest from Drs Oz...

/ October 3, 2014
The Cleveland Clinic Foundation

Quackademia update: The Cleveland Clinic, George Washington University, and the continued infiltration of quackery into medical academia

Quackery has been steadily infiltrating academic medicine for at least two decades now in the form of what was once called “complementary and alternative medicine” but is now more commonly referred to as “integrative medicine.” Of course, as I’ve written many times before, what “integrative medicine” really means is the “integration” of quackery with science- and evidence-based medicine, to the detriment of...

/ September 29, 2014

Rationalizing the Ridiculous: Acupuncture

I remain flummoxed. How do physicians and health care systems, trained in all the sciences that lie at the heart of medicine, justify the use of pseudo-medical interventions with no basis in reality? Rationalization. Making excuses: a defense mechanism in which controversial behaviors or feelings are justified and explained in a seemingly rational or logical manner to avoid the true explanation, and...

/ September 19, 2014
A Chinese barefoot doctor performing acupuncture

The Reality of Ancient Wisdom: Acupuncture and TCM Weren’t So Great

A mythology has grown up around traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). The ancient wisdom of the inscrutable Orient supposedly helped patients in ways that modern science-based medicine fails to understand or appreciate. A typical claim found on the Internet: “The ancient beliefs and practice of traditional Chinese medicine have been healing people for thousands of years.” As Steven Novella has said, “TCM is...

/ September 9, 2014

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

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...

/ August 21, 2014
chiropractor adjusting basset hound

Chiropractic scope of practice includes . . . well, you won’t believe it

Ladies, how would you like a chiropractor to deliver your baby? How about perform your annual well-woman exams, such as breast exam, bi-manual pelvic exam, speculum exam, recto-vaginal exam and Pap smear? Sound out of their league? I thought so too. Way out. But, in some parts of the U.S., the law allows chiropractors to do all of these things and a...

/ August 7, 2014

Acupuncture for Menopausal Symptoms

A newly published meta-analysis of studies looking at acupuncture for symptoms resulting from natural menopause (not drug or surgically induced) by Chiu et. al. is entirely negative. That is not what the authors or the press release conclude, however. This disconnect between the study results and the interpretation of those results is a persistent problem in medicine generally to some degree, but...

/ July 16, 2014