Thank you to a friend for pointing out this by turns arrogant and naive article (which I couldn’t find on the Stylist website), focused on how we have all given up on medicine and are seeking solace in woo. What irks me the most is the suggestion that all women are “wired to the right side of their brain” so are creative, emotional types drawn to hokum treatments. How ridiculous and clearly untrue.
According to this article, “acupuncture, osteopathy, homeopathy, chiropractice and herbal medicine” are supported by scientific evidence. Is this news to you? Because they actually aren’t supported by any real evidence, except to say in some cases there may be a placebo effect. So you could actually be doing more good by prescribing someone a sugar pill, a glass of water or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) if, as the author says, they go to acupuncture in order to talk to someone for an hour and a half.
Why do people believe any of it? Because, as my friend said, “people are stupid.”
The Quackometer blogged recently about the demise of the Princes Foundation for Integrated Health. The charity is now being investigated for fraud. I think that the overall state of healthcare can only improve based on this revelation. The Quackometer puts it best:
“The concept of Integrated Medicine is a trojan horse. Strip away the cosy rhetoric of caring for the “whole person” is a payload of quackery, pseudo-medicine and anti-scientific nonsense. The FIH has been notorious for promoting absurd treatments including homeopathy, reiki and acupuncture despite the evidence overwhelming suggesting these are useless treatments.”
Organic food fine; herbal and quack remedies, not fine. Got that, Prince Charles?
I was pleased to see that NHS Choices denounces homeopathy with a section on ‘lack of clinical evidence’.
Interesting article which features homeopathic practitioners arguing that old chestnut about non-trad medicines not be testable using normal RCT like methodology, what because they are somehow outside the placebo continuum? I fully agree that conventional allopathic medicine is indeed not all based on evidence but that striving to make it so should be the aim, not giving up and saying oh well okay then let’s just support anything that makes people feel better. Or worse fund it on the NHS. Possible public spending cuts may bring about the cutting of courses of alt medicine and not because of scientific protest but if the effect is the same I feel better. Much worse is the MHRA ‘licensing’ herbal medicines. As a child my father offered arnica cream for bruises and I don’t think I thought much of it. As an adult however I really don’t think regulating untested treatments actually makes it any easier for people to decide what medicines they should use and what is horrid pharma and what is a quack. Cynicism about medicines and meddling with our bodies is a result of the muddying of such waters. People see cynicism about alt medicines then as being closed minded and dismissive of people’s feelings. Dabbling in whatever works for you is indeed a practising of free will but in a state funded health care system individual whim surely has to take second place to collective rationing based on what works. Although is there not always a place for trying to at least investigate whether something works. At the London book launch of Thinking about almost everything the audience was reminded of the two cultures divide and I can’t feel like sharing CP Snow‘s pessimism about the ignorance and lack of interest in science and objectivity as if not listening to someone’s feelings and emotions means you are cold and logical and somehow less human. Interdisciplinary thought is useful but losing boundaries as in the new primary school curriculum is something that will lead to more warm fuzzy postmodern eclecticism and no grasp of what was before.