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Gazing on a 1000 points of pseudo-medicine.

Selections from the Society for Science-Based Medicine’s Points of Interest, a daily compendium of links of interest with comments.

There is not enough time to write a complete blog post on the thousand points of pseudo-medicine that show up in my feeds. But some stars need to be noticed and commented upon. Duty Calls.

NECSS will be June 29-July 2, 2017 in New York City with an entire day, June 28, devoted to science-based medicine. More details to follow but registration is open.

What’s the harm?

This week there was a death from intravenous turmeric: “A Naturopath’s Human Experiment Ends In Death.” Experiment. Somehow I do not think the headline writer knows what an experiment is. Turmeric is a spice with alleged anti-inflammatory effects. Why use it IV?

“There are some doctors who use Turmeric extract in IV form to try and heighten the physiological effects, so the anti-inflammatory effects of the turmeric,” Stengler explained. “It hasn’t been well studied. It’s more theoretical, so it’s more investigational.”

Investigational? Like an IRB approved protocol? Or ND investigational: screwing around killing people because they really have no idea what they are doing.

The patient died after a cardiac arrest while receiving the preparation. I am sure the ND involved also has extensive experience in resuscitating a cardiac arrest. I except to see similar cases as more NDs are licensed and given free rein to inflict whatever ‘investigational’ therapy they see fit.

NDs are not the only ones trying to kill people. I have seen one case of tetanus in my 31 years. It was an elderly Asia immigrant who never received the vaccination series as a child. It was a terrible disease, every muscle in her body contracting at once. I hope to never witness another, but I am not optimistic. As Clay discussed on Friday, in Australia an unvaccinated 7-year-old developed tetanus: “Vaccination debate flares on NSW north coast after 7yo contracts tetanus.” The NW of Australia evidently has the lowest vaccination rates in the country, so they are also likely to see measles and mumps.

Acupuncture

Mice, cows, children and our soldiers often suffer due to those in authority over them. A researcher, a farmer, a parent, or a commanding officer gets the erroneous idea that acupuncture has efficacy, and it is mouse, child, or soldier who gets to suffer. As in “Acupuncture becomes popular as battlefield pain treatment.” It was once noted that I seemed angry. Let’s see, is giving a wounded solider a theatrical placebo worthy of anger? I would think so. And they are wasting 5.4 million dollars in the process of training others to apply battlefield acupuncture.

The training is standardized to ensure it’s done right,

There is no such thing as the right acupuncture. But at least they are using gold needles. “Battlefield acupuncture was considered the worst quackery of 2011.” The result? More battlefield acupuncture not less. Sigh. Such a waste. And our troops deserve better.

Swiss trainee vets to give cows acupuncture in new classes.” How now brown cow acupuncture? They see it as:

a way of maintaining animal health without the use of antibiotics.

Like that is going to work.

Be it opiate overuse or antibiotic overuse, the solution to problems with medicine is not to turn to pseudo-medicine.

Chiropractic

Pseudo-medical providers often say their interventions are risk free. Not so, of course. Everything has risk and, as “Adverse events in a chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy single-blinded, placebo, randomized controlled trial for migraineurs” shows, mild complications are not rare, occurring about 20% of the time. Local tenderness, tiredness and neck pain were the most common AEs. Fortunately no severe reactions occurred in the study.

The adverse effects from chiropractors also come from their advertising and general practice. An investigation into DC advertising in Canada found they often run counter to science-based medicine. Including:

  • Offers of treatments for autism, Tourette’s syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, colic, infections and cancer.
  • Anti-vaccination literature and recently published letters to the editor from chiropractors that discourage vaccination.
  • An article claiming vaccines have caused a 200 to 600 per cent increase in autism rates.
  • A statement that claims the education and training of a chiropractor is “virtually identical” to that of a medical doctor.
  • Discouraging people from getting diagnostic tests such as CT scans, colonoscopies and mammograms.
  • An informational video discouraging the use of sunscreen.

No surprise. It is not as if chiropractic training is based in science and, like many pseudo-medical providers, they are prone to crank magnetism. One reaction was “Manitoba chiropractors need proactive oversight over members, says health lawyer.” As if their professional organizations are any better at understanding SBM. They are made up of chiropractors after all.

I suspect there is no way to improve chiropractic practice. Can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

Herbs and supplements

Two more supplement fails this week: “Vitamin E and Selenium Fail to Prevent Alzheimer’s.”

And:

Sorry, moms: Prenatal vitamins with DHA won’t boost your kids’ IQ after all.”

Not that such results will have much impact on the 21-billion-dollar-a-year vitamin and supplement market.

In the literature

Some papers of note.

Can We Determine Sasang Constitutional Body Type Merely by Facial Inspection?” Nope.

As SC type cannot be precisely diagnosed using anthroscopic examination alone

But what is the Sasang Constitutional Body Type? A form of classification in traditional Korean pseudo-medicine where people have one of four types that inescapably determine their destiny. It is one of many forms of medical astrology and total nonsense. No surprise that its practitioners can’t reliably make the diagnosis. Good luck with your goal of “a definitive objective and scientific diagnosing method to [become] a scientifically verified alternative medicine”.

Pseudo-medicine promotion

Your Craniosacralist Will See You Now: Can A Startup Bring Alt Medicine To The Mainstream?”

SereneBook, a subscription-based holistic health network, is betting on the $30 billion alternative medicine industry.

It looks like they are trying to be the Angie’s List of pseudo-medicine.

Every practitioner on SereneBook is certified, rated, vetted and approved. We bring you the best of the best in wellness worldwide.

Certified, rated, vetted, and approved pseudo-medicine is still pseudo-medicine.

Legal and legislative

Last week we, and by we I mean me, noted the patients who became blind after stem cells were injected into their eyes to treat macular degeneration. The problem of stem cell clinics is further discussed at “Strip mall stem cells” and “Sunrise stem cell clinic behind blindness cases is largely unregulated.” Stem cell clinics has been described as the Wild West of medicine. More like Boot Hill.

Really, we need to start our own science-based medicine predatory/opinion journal to promote SBM. Such an approach is de rigueur in the pseudo-medical world. Take Issues in Law & Medicine which is described as:

A One-Stop Journal for Anti-Vaccine, Anti-Abortion Pseudoscience.

SBM is so behind the times.

Remember to go to Summary Pending Legislation 2017 to keep abreast of the pseudo-scientific legislative shenanigans in your state.

Weirdness

As I have mentioned in the past, no pseudo-medicine ever goes away. Like leeches. “Garfield Therapist Specializes In Mankind’s Oldest Medicine: Leeches.” I wonder if there is a parallel with the world’s oldest profession. The leech whisperer mentions he is not a doctor and cannot diagnose or treat illnesses. Well duh.

I just wonder if he is aware of the risk Aeromonas infections from leeches. I bet not. But:

the Comprehensive Body Leech Detoxification has no equal in the world.

I am sure it doesn’t.

And that’s it. See you next week.

Posted by Mark Crislip

Mark Crislip, MD has been a practicing Infectious Disease specialist in Portland, Oregon, since 1990. He is a founder and  the President of the Society for Science-Based Medicine where he blogs under the name sbmsdictator. He has been voted a US News and World Report best US doctor, best ID doctor in Portland Magazine multiple times, has multiple teaching awards and, most importantly,  the ‘Attending Most Likely To Tell It Like It Is’ by the medical residents at his hospital. His growing multi-media empire can be found at edgydoc.com.