Tag: acupuncture

Society of Integrative Oncology

Selling “integrative oncology” as a monograph in JNCI

The Society of Integrative Oncology publishes its "evidence-based" guidelines for the supportive care of breast cancer patients, along with a whole lot of musings on integrating quackery with medicine. But are the guidelines science-based? I think you know the answer to that one.

/ December 1, 2014

In the Spirit of Choosing Wisely

Oh, loneliness and cheeseburgers are a dangerous mix. – Comic Book Guy Same can be said of viral syndromes and Thanksgiving. My brain has been in an interferon-induced haze for the last week that is not lifting anytime soon. Tell me about the rabbits, George. But no excuses. I have been reading the works of Chuck Wendig over at Terrible Minds. (Really,...

/ November 28, 2014
Chairman Mao propaganda poster

Retconning the story of traditional Chinese medicine

Proponents of "integrating" traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) into medicine paint a tale of an ancient, unified system of medicine that's been tested over at least two millennia and found to be effective. The real story is very different and is best explained with a term more commonly used to discuss comic books. Basically, the "integration" of TCM into "Western medicine" is nothing...

/ November 10, 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

Naturopathy vs. Science: Infertility Edition

This is another post in the naturopathy versus science series, where a naturopath’s advice is assessed against the scientific literature. It’s Naturopathic Medicine Week in the United States, so it’s time for another look at the alternative medicine practice that a friend of the blog likes to call the One Quackery to Rule them All. Naturopathy is an oddity among alternative medicine,...

/ October 9, 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

Legislative Alchemy 2014 (so far)

Legislative Alchemy is the process by which credulous state legislators turn practitioners of pseudoscience into state-licensed health care professionals. In addition to unleashing quackery such as homeopathy, colonic irrigation, moxibustion, reiki, cranial sacral therapy and the detection and correction of subluxations on the public, these practice acts typically give chiropractors, naturopaths and acupuncturists the freedom of being governed by their own regulatory...

/ May 15, 2014

A tale of quackademic medicine at the University of Arizona Cancer Center

Quackademic medicine. I love that term, because it succinctly describes the infiltration of pseudoscientific medicine into medical academia. As I’ve said many times, I wish I had been the one to coin the phrase, but I wasn’t. To the best of my ability to determine, I first picked it up from Dr. R. W. Donnell back in 2008 and haven’t been able...

/ March 17, 2014

More Acupuncture Misrepresentation

Poorly done acupuncture studies are published every week, so I can’t write about every one that comes out. I probably would have passed this one by, except for the New York Times article using it to tout the effectiveness of acupuncture. The headline reads: “Acupuncture, Real or Not, Eases Side Effects of Cancer Drugs.” I know that authors, in this case Nicholas...

/ January 22, 2014