Posts Tagged ‘treatment’
Posted by mattusmaximus on January 17, 2013
Sometimes pseudoscience is stupid, sometimes it is annoying, sometimes it hurts our educational institutions… and sometimes it is outright frakking deadly. Case in point, medical frauds who perpetuate nonsense to vulnerable, desperate people; such as when quacks push supposed “cures for cancer” which are anything but or have yet to be proven, such as in the case of Stanislaw Burzynski and his “cancer clinic”. In such situations, it is literally a matter of life and death because when cancer patients delay reliable medical treatments in favor of pseudoscientific B.S. the delay can cost them their lives. Skeptic James Randi helps to break it down in more detail here:
But rather than curse the darkness, let us instead light a candle…
I am happy to announce that the Skeptical Teacher will be joining a coalition of skeptical activists called the Skeptics for the Protection of Cancer Patients (SPCP). The Skeptics for the Protection of Cancer Patients is a grassroots group devoted to the promotion of promising, ethical, and transparent cancer research. For more about this project and the group sponsoring it, visit thehoustoncancerquack.com or visit their Facebook page. Also, please consider donating either some of your time by promoting the cause (if you have a blog or media contacts) and/or your money to the legitimate scientific research of cancer.
Some more background and info on Burzynski:
*Dr. David Gorski has a new Science-Based Medicine post out as of this past Monday on Burzynski’s antineoplastons treatment. Science-Based Medicine » Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski’s antineoplastons versus patients.
*Burzynski gets warning from FDA: Stop promoting your treatment as “safe” and “effective”
The U.S. FDA has sent a letter to the Burzynski Research Institute to cease claiming that their brain tumor treatment, antineoplastons, are safe and/or effective for the purposed for which they are being investigated. In other words, Burzynski’s claims on websites and promotional materials that this treatment WORKS is a violation because supposed to be testing that!
* Supporters often use patient anecdotes to sell his unproven treatments at the Burzynski Patient Group. We have started curating a collection of patient stories at The OTHER Burzynski Patient Group, the ones Burzynski would rather you not hear. Also, these stories can be exported to your own website IN THEIR ENTIRETY via the storify site they were created on. Free content, people. Just sayin’.
*Orac, an oncologist, cancer researcher, and patient advocate, has written extensively about Burzynski at Respectful Insolence.
*Learn the whole story at Josephine Jones’s Blog. She has kept a comprehensive list of content about Burzynski, his clinic, and his chemotherapy on the web. An invaluable resource!
*You might be interested that the EMPLOYER of one of our members (of SPCP) was recently contacted by one of Burzynski’s misguided supporters.
Posted in medical woo, skeptical community | Tagged: antineoplastons, Burzynski, cancer, chemotherapy, clinic, cure, doctor, FDA, fraud, health, Houston, medicine, Orac, patients, pseudoscience, quack, Respectful Insolence, science, science-based, science-based medicine, Skeptics for the Protection of Cancer Patients, SPCP, Stanislaw Burzynski, Texas, The OTHER Burzynski Patient Group, thehoustoncancerquack.com, treatment | Leave a Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on February 26, 2011
As a follow-up to the successful 10:23 Campaign: “Homeopathy: There’s Nothing In It!”, I wanted to share with you all an excellent video challenge from skeptic James Randi, who is laying down the gauntlet to homeopathy manufacturers and pharmacies that sell this scam “medicine”…
In addition, please consider taking a few minutes to go over to Change.org and sign the petition which encourages these manufacturers & pharmacies to come clean to the public about these bogus products…
Posted in medical woo | Tagged: 10 23 Campaign, 10:23, 2011, alternative medicine, CAM, challenge, complementary medicine, dilution, homeopathy, Homeopathy There's Nothing in it, James Randi, James Randi Educational Foundation, JREF, law of infinitesimals, law of similars, Little Sugar Pills, magic, manufacturers, medicine, pharmacies, pharmacy, potency, quackery, Randi, remedies, remedy, sCAM, skeptical activism, sleeping pills, solution, suicide, treatment, woo, Ziztur | Leave a Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on February 3, 2011
You may recall that about one year ago there was a very widespread and public examination of the pseudoscience of homeopathy in what was billed as the 10:23 Challenge – read more about how homeopathy failed to kill anyone via “suicidal overdose” at that event. In keeping with the spirit of grassroots skeptical activism, the 10:23 Challenge is back for 2011, and it’s taking place this Saturday, Feb. 5th. Check out the 10:23 website for more information…
The 10:23 Challenge is a follow-up to the ‘overdose’ protest staged by the 10:23 Campaign in 2010. International protesters from more than 10 countries, and more than 23 cities will gather for over the weekend of February 5-6 2011, to make the simple statement: Homeopathy – There’s Nothing In It.
The challenge will culminate on February 6th at the QED conference in Manchester, where 300 protesters will participate the largest ever single demonstration against homeopathy.
**Update: As a follow up message, I’d like to share with you a Youtube video by my skeptical colleague from Down Under, Kylie Sturgess…
Posted in medical woo | Tagged: 10 23 Campaign, 10:23, 2011, alternative medicine, CAM, complementary medicine, dilution, homeopathy, Homeopathy There's Nothing in it, law of infinitesimals, law of similars, Little Sugar Pills, magic, medicine, potency, quackery, remedies, remedy, sCAM, skeptical activism, sleeping pills, solution, suicide, treatment, woo, Ziztur | 2 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on February 1, 2010
This is a follow up to my recent “Suicide by Homeopathy?” post – and by calling the event a “miserable failure” I mean that it was the homeopathy that was an epic fail. Hundreds and hundreds of skeptics attempted to overdose on a variety of homeopathic remedies, and not one person was adversely affected. Which begs a question: why do homeopaths bother mentioning anything at all about dosage on their remedies when it is apparent that dosage doesn’t matter?
Apparently, the press caught wind of this public experiment and thought it was interesting – check out the BBC article on it. In addition, here’s an update on the event from the 10:23 Campaign, along with some neat footage as well…
Posted in medical woo | Tagged: 10 23 Campaign, alternative medicine, CAM, complementary medicine, dilution, homeopathy, Homeopathy There's Nothing in it, law of infinitesimals, law of similars, magic, medicine, potency, quackery, remedies, remedy, sCAM, sleeping pills, solution, suicide, treatment, woo, Ziztur | 3 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on January 24, 2010
If you’ve been running around in skeptical circles for any amount of time, then you’ve no doubt heard of the quackery called homeopathy. According to the Skeptic’s Dictionary entry on homeopathy…
Classical homeopathy originated in the 19th century with Samuel Christian Friedrich Hahnemann (1755-1843) as an alternative to the standard medical practices of the day, such as phlebotomy or bloodletting. Opening veins to bleed patients, force disease out of the body, and restore the humors to a proper balance was a popular medical practice until the late19th century (Williams 2000: 265). Hahnemann rejected the notion that disease should be treated by letting out the offensive matter causing the illness. In this, he was right. On the other hand, he argued that disease should be treated by helping the vital force restore the body to harmony and balance. In this, he was wrong. He rejected other common medical practices of his day such as purgatives and emetics “with opium and mercury-based calomel” (ibid.: 145). He was right to do so. Hahnemann’s alternative medicine was more humane and less likely to cause harm than many of the conventional practices of his day. …
Homeopaths refer to “the Law of Infinitesimals” and the “Law of Similars” as grounds for using minute substances and for believing that like heals like, but these are not natural laws of science. If they are laws at all, they are metaphysical laws, i.e., beliefs about the nature of reality that would be impossible to test by empirical means. Hahnemann’s ideas did originate in experience. That he drew metaphysical conclusions from empirical events does not, however, make his ideas empirically testable. The law of infinitesimals seems to have been partly derived from his notion that any remedy would cause the patient to get worse before getting better and that one could minimize this negative effect by significantly reducing the size of the dose. Most critics of homeopathy balk at this “law” because it leads to remedies that have been so diluted as to have nary a single molecule of the substance one starts with.
And this is the real rub with a notion as loony as homeopathy. We already know from modern science-based medicine that, in the case of drugs, there must be a certain amount of active ingredient in the drug in order for it to have the desired effect. Of course, there are dangers from using medical drugs: one of the most common is that of over-dosing. If someone takes too much of a certain active ingredient, it can be harmful or – in the worst case – fatal. For example, we all know about stories of people committing suicide by over-dosing on sleeping pills.
However, with homeopathy, this is all turned completely on its head. Homeopaths, invoking their magical “law of infinitesimals”, insist that by diluting the active ingredient to the most ludicrous extreme (i.e., imagine diluting a solution so much that only one molecule of active ingredient remains in it) this will somehow transfer the healing power of the ingredient to the patient and actually make the solution more potent.
A classic example of debunking this particular woo-woo claim has been performed numerous times by James Randi as he lectures on the topic of homeopathy & other quackery. As he lectures, usually for roughly an hour, Randi will consume an entire bottle of homeopathic sleeping pills that he’d purchased earlier from a nearby pharmacy. Needless to say, despite performing this feat numerous times, James Randi has yet to die from such an “over-dose”.
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Posted in medical woo | Tagged: 10 23 Campaign, alternative medicine, CAM, complementary medicine, dilution, homeopathy, Homeopathy There's Nothing in it, law of infinitesimals, law of similars, magic, medicine, potency, quackery, remedies, remedy, sCAM, sleeping pills, solution, suicide, treatment, woo, Ziztur | 10 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on January 6, 2010
It looks like, upon looking back at the year 2009, that in many ways it was a good one for science & skepticism – at least, it was good for medical science. That’s because, according to a breakdown by LiveScience.com, various forms of alt-med woo woo got a well-deserved smackdown. That’s because a number of popular alt-med ideas were – gasp! – actually tested out under controlled conditions to see if they actually do what their practitioners claim. Let’s look at the results…
Reiki is a spiritual practice developed in Japan in the early 20th century that, in the hands of Westerners, has evolved into a new-age healing practice. Popular in Hawaii and California by the 1970s, reiki has since become a staple at health spas and in granola-loving cities across the United States.
Reiki involves a practitioner (that is, someone who has taken a couple days of training) who places her hands on or just above a patient’s body to transmit healing energy — the “ki” or reiki, better known as qi in Chinese traditional medicine. Reiki has all the trappings of new-age healing: restoring balance and instilling life energy through mysticism and/or vibrational energy. Akin to a hands-off massage, reiki is said to relieve stress, fatigue and depression and promote self-healing for just about any disease, including cancer.
The two largest scientific reviews of reiki, published last year in International Journal of Clinical PracticeJournal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, reveal that reiki is not an effective treatment for any condition. and in November 2009 in the Also in 2009, the U.S. Catholic Church weighed in, stating at a March meeting of bishops that, “since Reiki therapy is not compatible with either Christian teaching or scientific evidence, it would be inappropriate for… Catholic health care facilities… to provide support for Reiki therapy.”
Reiki is not an outright scam; the practitioners seem to believe in what they are doing. In the end the soft music and whispery speech of the practitioners during the reiki sessions merely helps one relax.
Well, regardless of the Catholic Church’s theological opinion on reiki, one thing is clear: the science shows that, despite the fervent belief held by its practitioners, reiki doesn’t work. I can wave my hands in the air just as well as a “qualified” reiki practitioner and achieve exactly the same results… nothing at all. What’s next?
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Posted in medical woo | Tagged: alt-med, alternative medicine, Big Pharma, CAM, chi, complementary medicine, doctors, healing, health, health care, herbal remedies, herbs, homeopathy, kava, ki, magnetic therapy, magnetism, magnets, massage, medicine, New Age, qi, qi gong, qigong, reflexology, reiki, sCAM, science, therapy, treatment, woo | 10 Comments »