Category: Politics and Regulation

Acupuncture

“Non-pharmacological treatments for pain” ≠ CAM, no matter how much NCCIH wishes it so

When it comes to pain, in the mythos of "complementary and alternative medicine" (CAM), which in recent years has morphed into "integrative medicine," anything that isn't a drug is automatically rebranded as CAM, whether it's in any way "alternative" or not.

/ September 5, 2016

Nada for NADA: “acudetox” not effective in addiction treatment

The National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) teaches and promotes a standardized auricular acupuncture protocol, sometimes called “acudetox.” NADA claims acudetox encourages community wellness . . . for behavioral health, including addictions, mental health, and disaster & emotional trauma. I do not know what “community wellness” is or how one measures whether wellness has been successfully “encouraged.” In any event, in the NADA...

/ September 1, 2016
Right-to-try

The cruel sham that will not die: Right-to-try marches on in California and beyond

State "right-to-try" bills are springing up like kudzu all over the US. Their advocates promise that they would save lives by allowing terminally ill patients access to experimental therapeutics. This is a delusion; even the most fervent supporters of right-to-try have trouble pointing to a single patient who has benefited from such a law. In reality, right-to-try laws are a cruel sham...

/ August 29, 2016
homeopathy in the UK flag

Good Thinking Society’s successful challenge to NHS homeopathy

[Editor’s note: For no reason whatsoever other than to share great news, we bring you this contribution from Michael Marshall, project director of the Good Thinking Society and vice president of the Merseyside Skeptics Society.] As regular readers of this blog may know, skeptics here in the UK have been campaigning for some time to end the funding of homeopathic remedies by...

/ August 28, 2016

Science-Based Politics: Lyme, Zika, and the Green Party.

I don’t have much to write about this week. Yeah, yeah, I know. How is that different than the last 50 blog entries? And I will have even less to say next time. But nothing of real interest has crossed my screen the past two weeks, not that I have really been looking. One of my favorite stories as a kid was...

/ August 5, 2016

Kratom: another dangerous “natural” remedy

Kratom (Mitragyna speciose) is a tropical tree from Southeast Asia whose leaves are traditionally chewed or prepared as a powder. Native populations chew the leaves to reduce fatigue when doing manual labor, such as working on rubber plantations. It is also used in cultural performances and consumed as a drink prepared from kratom powder. When the Second World War caused an increase...

/ August 4, 2016
Antivaccine fears

Dealing with vaccine hesitancy and refusal

Almost as long as there have been vaccines, there has been an antivaccine movement. The misinformation promoted by antivaccinationists can infect parents and make them vaccine-averse. Here, we deal with some antivaccine tropes that find their way to the vaccine-averse.

/ August 1, 2016

CARA: Integrating even more pseudoscience into veterans’ healthcare

The pixels were barely dry on David Gorski’s lament over the expansive integration of pseudoscience into the care of veterans when President Obama signed legislation that will exacerbate this very problem. The “Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016” (“CARA”) contains provisions that will undoubtedly keep Tracy Gaudet, MD, and her merry band of integrative medicine aficionados at the VA busy for...

/ July 28, 2016

Legislative Alchemy 2016 Update: Acupuncturists win; naturopaths and chiropractors don’t (so far)

Legislative Alchemy is the process by which state legislatures transform pseudoscience and quackery into licensed health care practices. By legislative fiat, chiropractors can detect and correct non-existent subluxations, naturopaths can diagnose (with bogus tests) and treat (with useless dietary supplements and homeopathy) fabricated diseases like “adrenal fatigue” and “chronic yeast overgrowth,” and acupuncturists can unblock mythical impediments to the equally mythical “qi”...

/ July 21, 2016
A typical VA Medical Center

“Complementary and Integrative Health” at the VA: Integrating pseudoscience into the care of veterans

In return for their service to our country, veterans deserve the best science-based medical care that we as a nation can provide. Unfortunately, the VA is integrating quackery into its medical care even more enthusiastically than medical academia.

/ July 18, 2016