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Wednesday, 31 August 2016

An alternative method for resuscitation? | Edzard Ernst

For far too many proponents of alternative medicine, belief in alternative methods seems disappointingly half-hearted. Not so for this enthusiast who invented an alternative form of resuscitation – but sadly failed. 

This article explains: 
A Russian woman spent more than 4 months trying to bring her dead husband back to life. How? With the help of holy water and prayer! 

The retired therapist said she didn’t report the […]

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Does chiropractic have a future? | Edzard Ernst

As has been discussed on this blog many times before, the chiropractic profession seems to be in a bit of a crisis (my attempt at a British understatement). The Australian chiropractor, Bruce Walker, thinks that, with the adoption of his ten point plan, “the chiropractic profession has an opportunity to turn things around within a generation. Importantly, it has an […]

Monday, 29 August 2016

The European Congress for Homeopathy 2016 – it’s a must for sceptics! | Edzard Ernst

If you are free on 17 – 19 November, why not pop over to Vienna and attend the European Congress for Homeopathy? The programme looks exciting (and full of humour); here are eight of my favourite lectures: R G Hahn ‘Homeopathy from a scientific and sceptic point of view’ L Ellinger ‘Homeopathy as a replacement of […]

Sunday, 28 August 2016

The only accredited Integrative Medicine diploma currently available in the UK | Edzard Ernst

Would you like to see a much broader range of approaches such as nutrition, mindfulness, complementary therapies and connecting people to green spaces become part of mainstream healthcare? No? Well, let me tell you about this exciting new venture anyway! It is being promoted by Dr Dixon’s ‘College of Medicine’ and claims to be “the […]

Saturday, 27 August 2016

More on the German ‘Heilpraktiker’: are his days counted? | Edzard Ernst

The Subject of the German ‘Heilpraktiker’ has recently been the topic of one of my blog-posts. In Germany, it has been a taboo for decades, but now the ‘Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’ (FAZ) have courageously addressed the problem. In today’s article, the FAZ reports that, Josef Hecken, the chair of the an organisation called ‘Selbstverwaltung im Gesundheitswesen’ (self-administration in healthcare), demands […]

Friday, 26 August 2016

Middlesex University supports dangerous quackery | Edzard Ernst

On the website of THE CENTRE FOR HOMEOPATHIC EDUCATION (CHE), an organisation which claims to operate ‘in partnership with’ the MIDDLESEX UNIVERSITY LONDON, we find the most amazing promotion of quackery. Under the title of ’10 Top Homeopathic Remedies for your First Aid Kit’ they state that “we wanted to give you some top tips to put […]

Thursday, 25 August 2016


It has been reported that the ‘American Society of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine’ (A SCAM) has published a list of the top 10 achievements in medical history. The spelling of ‘complimentary’ and the acronym might be hints suggesting that none of the below is meant too seriously – but it could be good fun. Here is the top 10 list unabbreviated and unaltered: […]

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Cranio-sacral therapy: misleading? dishonest? unethical? | Edzard Ernst

Cranio-sacral therapy has been a subject on this blog before, for instance here, here and here. The authors of this single-blind, randomized trial explain in the introduction of their paper that “cranio-sacral therapy is an alternative and complementary therapy based on the theory that restricted movement at the cranial sutures of the skull negatively affect rhythmic impulses […]

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Food the Forgotten Medicine: More bait and switch from the “College of Medicine”

‘We know little about the effect of diet on health. That’s why so much is written about it’. That is the title of a post in which I advocate the view put by John Ioannidis that remarkably little is known about the health effects if individual nutrients. That ignorance has given rise to a vast industry selling advice that has little evidence to support it [...]

Read the rest at: Food the Forgotten Medicine: More bait and switch from the “College of Medicine” DC's Improbable Science: Truth, falsehood and evidence: investigations of dubious and dishonest science

Friday, 19 August 2016

The German ‘HEILPRAKTIKER’ is a relict from the Nazis that endangers public health | Edzard Ernst

Two of my recent posts directly related to the German ‘Heilpraktiker’ (here and here) and to the risks which this profession poses to public health in Germany. As this is a very German phenomenon, it might be time to provide some explanations to my non-German readers. 

The German ‘Heilpraktiker’ (literally translated: healing practitioner) is perhaps best […]

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Homeopathy = a dangerous and unethical branch of pseudo-medicine that is impervious to progress | Edzard Ernst

Dengue is a viral infection spread by mosquitoes; it is common in many parts of the world. The symptoms include fever, headache, muscle/joint pain and a red rash. The infection is usually mild and lasts about a week. In rare cases it can be more serious and even life threatening. There’s no specific treatment – except for […]

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

The future of cupping: it’s bright, profitable and vacuous | Edzard Ernst

As predicted, thanks to its high visibility in Rio, to the journalists, editors, photographers, numerous ‘experts’ crawling out of the woodwork, and last but not least the gullible public, cupping has fast become fashionable, ‘cool’ and ‘en vogue’.

Yes! Literally ‘en vogue’! 

It has conquered the pages of ‘VOGUE’ (and any quackery that achieves this feast must have a bright […]
Read on: The future of cupping: it’s bright, profitable and vacuous

Monday, 15 August 2016

Encyclopedia of American Loons: #1705: Vani Hari

A.k.a. The Food Babe
A.k.a. The Jenny McCarthy of Food

Food Babe is the blog of Vani Hari, an internet troll and “consumer advocate” who specializes in advice on nutrition and health-related matters, topics on which she has no background, education (she has a degree in computer science and background as a management consultant) or even minimal understanding – trusting the Food Babe on food or health is much like trusting Donald Trump on vaccines or the random Deepak Chopra quote generator on life wisdom. She is, in other words, full of shit...

More shit here: Encyclopedia of American Loons: #1705: Vani Hari

Chinese herbal medicines for the symptoms of the menopause? Probably not! | Edzard Ernst

A new Cochrane review evaluated the effectiveness and safety of Chinese herbal medicines (CHM) in the treatment of menopausal symptoms. Its authors conducted a thorough search for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing the effectiveness of CHM with placebo, hormone therapy (HT), pharmaceutical drugs, acupuncture, or another CHM formula in women suffering from menopausal symptoms. 

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Two compelling reasons for avoiding weight-loss supplements | Edzard Ernst

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to enjoy food and drink to one’s heart content and, once the pounds are piling up, simply swallow a pill and the weight goes down to normal? There are plenty of such pills on the market, but here I advise you to avoid them – mainly for two reasons. […]

The fact is: your ancestors would have vaccinated

The post The fact is: your ancestors would have vaccinated by Anarchic Teapot first appeared on Plague of Mice.

It’s Friday evening, and a Twitter moron has to go and post this:
fact-I vaccinated my kids. Fact-my son suffered an encephalopathy. Let’s talk facts…
Facts. Oh yes, facts are great. You can use them as bricks to construct whole edifices of knowledge. The trouble with buildings, though, is that they need rather more than bricks to be of use. You have to use the right bricks for the type of construction, where it’s situated, etc. There’s got to be some kind of mortar to bind them together, or your building of unrelated facts will just fall apart at the first puff of wolf’s breath. And you need a roof, and a door etc.

For example, I’ve had a great time this week trying to build up my family tree using an online genealogy database. You input what you know about your family, it goes and looks up records that … Continue reading

Friday, 12 August 2016

There is a sucker born every minute – more thoughts on the Olympic cupping craze | Edzard Ernst

“THERE IS A SUCKER BORN EVERY MINUTE” – this quote is commonly attributed to P.T. Barnum. If he really coined the sentence, he certainly did not think of the little cups sucking in the skin of patients undergoing cupping therapy. Yet, the recent media coverage of cupping made me think of this quote. The suckers here are not […]

Read on: There is a sucker born every minute – more thoughts on the Olympic cupping craze

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Cupping: bruises for the gullible, and other myths in sport

This is my version of a post which I was asked to write for Indy Voices. It’s been published, though so many changes were made by the editor that I’m posting the original here.

So much has been said about cupping during the last week that it’s hard to say much that’s original. Yesterday I did [...]

Read the rest at: DC's Improbable Science: Truth, falsehood and evidence: investigations of dubious and dishonest science

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

The current cupping craze | Edzard Ernst

No, I don’t want to put you off your breakfast… but you probably have seen so many pictures of attractive athletes with cupping marks and read articles about the virtues of this ancient therapy, that I feel I have to put this into perspective: I am sure you agree that this is slightly less attractive. […]

Read on: The current cupping craze

Monday, 8 August 2016

Homeopathy: ‘the days of fighting are over’ | Edzard Ernst

When a leading paper like the FRANKFURTER ALLGEMEINE ZEITUNG (FAZ) publishes in its science pages (!!!) a long article on homeopathy, this is bound to raise some eyebrows, particularly when the article in question was written by the chair of the German Association of Homeopaths (Deutscher Zentralverein homöopathischer Ärzte) and turns out to be a completely one-sided […]

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Why are there so many reports of autism following vaccination? A mathematical assessment | The Logic of Science

The idea that vaccines cause autism is one of the most persistent myths that I have ever encountered, and it seems that no amount of evidence will ever cause it to disappear. Indeed, I recently wrote a lengthy post in which I thoroughly reviewed the scientific literature on this topic, and I showed that there are no high quality studies supporting this myth, but there are multiple very large studies that debunked it. Nevertheless, many people responded to the post by insisting that vaccines must cause autism because there are so many cases of parents reporting the onset of autism shortly after vaccinating. They were adamant that these anecdotes could not be chance results and must mean that vaccines cause autism. To quote one commenter:
“How can you sit there and say that observing an adverse reaction AFTER a vaccine is given doesn’t mean it was the vaccine? So, what…? It’s just a random coincidence? I think not...”
Read the full post, accessible even to the worst of mathematicians, right here: Why are there so many reports of autism following vaccination? A mathematical assessment | The Logic of Science

Fatalities in a German alternative medicine clinic caused by 3BP? | Edzard Ernst

According to an article in DER SPIEGEL, 4 patients of an alternative medicine centre died, while several other websites reported that the figure amounted to ‘just’ three. The centre in question is the Klaus Ross clinic in the German town of Bruggen-Bracht on the border with the Netherlands. In addition to these fatalities, several further patients are being treated in hospital […]

Friday, 5 August 2016

A new acupuncture review is a perfect example for the ‘rubbish in, rubbish out’ phenomenon | Edzard Ernst

The aim of a new meta-analysis was to estimate the clinical effectiveness and safety of acupuncture for amnestic mild cognitive impairment (AMCI), the transitional stage between the normal memory loss of aging and dementia. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of acupuncture versus medical treatment for AMCI were identified using six electronic databases.

Five RCTs involving a total of 568 subjects were included. The methodological […]

Read on: A new acupuncture review is a perfect example for the ‘rubbish in, rubbish out’ phenomenon

Thursday, 4 August 2016

ASA welcomes successful prosecution of alternative therapy provider Electronic Healing

Quacks beware: ignoring the ASA can cost you dear. Given the importance of the case, the full text is below.

ASA welcomes successful prosecution of alternative therapy provider following misleading advertising

4 August 2016

We have today welcomed the outcome of legal action taken against Electronic Healing – a provider of complementary and alternative therapies and devices – by trading standards officers from the London Borough of Camden on behalf of National Trading Standards.

We referred Electronic Healing to National Trading Standards, our legal backstop power, on account of the company’s refusal to comply with the rules in place to prevent consumers from being misled by irresponsible advertising.

Following guilty pleas by the owners of Electronic Healing, Steven and Susan Lee, to offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations and Food Safety Act, the pair were today (Thursday 4 August) fined £1,000 each. They were also each ordered to pay £7,000 costs, as well as a £100 victim surcharge. Moreover, the defendants agreed to forfeit £7,000 cash seized on the day of the warrant.

Electronic Healing was subject to two formal investigations by the ASA, following which the company was found to be in breach of the rules against making misleading efficacy claims (specifically in respect of claims made on its website about products named ‘Bob Beck Protocol’ and ‘Liquid Oxygen Drops’). The ad claimed that Bob Beck Protocol “kills or disables microbes (virus, bacteria, and fungus) in the body” while Liquid Oxygen Drops were “credited with a multitude of significant health benefits from healthy energy to immunity and disease prevention”. A video on the company’s website also claimed that The Bob Beck Protocol could “amplify the immune system, remove the need for flu vaccinations, increase oxygen in the blood, reduce HIV infection levels and help fibromyalgia”.

The advertiser failed to provide adequate evidence to support its claims and was placed on a list of non-compliant online advertisers on our website. Despite the sanction, the company continued to make claims that had the potential to mislead consumers. Responding to these continued breaches, we referred the company to Trading Standards for prosecution – a process that culminated in today’s sentencing hearing.

Following changes in the law, in 2013 The London Borough of Camden contracted with National Trading Standards to provide the ASA’s legal backstop in relation to misleading, aggressive or otherwise unfair non-broadcast advertising.  Where an advertiser is unwilling or unable to stick to the rules and continues to mislead consumers or business we can refer to National Trading Standards who will consider statutory action, including warnings and seeking criminal prosecutions or civil enforcement orders.

ASA Chief Executive Guy Parker said:
“We welcome the robust enforcement action taken by National Trading Standards and the London Borough of Camden against Electronic Healing. It’s a significant and important outcome and underlines our commitment to protecting consumers from misleading advertising claims. Moreover, misleading health claims have a real potential to cause harm.  It also sends out a clear and strong message to advertisers that, where they are unwilling to cooperate and stick to the rules, there can be legal consequences.”

Lord Toby Harris, Chair, National Trading Standards, said:
“These adverts deliberately misled consumers by making false claims around the products’ healing properties, which saw it promote one product as equipment that could help cure cancer. Such claims can be dangerous to consumers and I am delighted that our partnership working with colleagues at the ASA and the London Borough of Camden has led to these sentences.”

Original post: ASA welcomes successful prosecution of alternative therapy provider following misleading advertising - Advertising Standards Authority

Taking the piss again? The story of urine therapy in India | Edzard Ernst

We have discussed the subject of urine therapy before. And, as I did then, I again apologise for the vulgar title of my post – but it describes urine therapy just perfectly. My new post is based on what I recently found on a website that is entirely devoted to this strange form of treatment:
Around 4 am, […]
Read on: Taking the piss again? The story of urine therapy in India

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

The Questions About PrEP | PrEP

Until now, adopting safer behaviors—including condom use—has been the only option available for people who wished to protect themselves from becoming infected.

Are you PrEP skeptical?

Maybe you’re not completely sold on this new HIV prevention strategy. You think it’s a hard pill to swallow and not all it’s cracked up to be. Here are the most common questions we’ve heard so far about PrEP...
Read on: The Questions About PrEP | PrEP

The current state of research into homeopathy | Edzard Ernst

This is a post that I wanted to write for a while (I had done something similar on acupuncture moths ago); but I had to wait, and wait, and wait…until finally there were the awaited 100 Medline listed articles on homeopathy with a publication date of 2016. It took until the beginning of August to […]

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Use of alternative medicine is associated with absenteeism | Edzard Ernst

An analysis of the 2012 National Health Interview Survey Data examined the associations between self-reported use of various forms of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies (dietary supplements, mind-body practices) and the number of days missed from job or business in the past 12 months due to illness or injury. Multivariable Poisson regression was used to […]