Suckers: How Alternative Medicine Makes Fools of Us All
by Rose Shapiro
Reserve your copy now It will be available in late February 2008
Suckers reveals how alternative medicine can jeopardize the health of those it claims to treat, leaches resources from treatments of proven efficacy and is largely unaccountable and unregulated. In short, it is an industry that preys on human vulnerability and makes fools of us all.
In “The Cure Within,” her splendid history of mind-body medicine, Anne Harrington tries to explain why we draw connections between emotions and illness, and helps trace how today’s myriad alternative and complementary treatments came to be. A professor and chairman of the history of science department at Harvard, Harrington has produced a book that desperately needed to be written.
Snake Oil Science:
The Truth about Complementary
and Alternative Medicine
by R. Barker Bausell
Millions of people worldwide swear by such therapies as acupuncture, herbal cures, and homeopathic remedies. Indeed, complementary and alternative medicine is embraced by a broad spectrum of society, from ordinary people, to scientists and physicians, to celebrities such as Prince Charles and Oprah Winfrey.
In the tradition of Michael Shermer's Why People Believe Weird Things and Robert Parks's Voodoo Science, Barker Bausell provides an engaging look at the scientific evidence for complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and at the logical, psychological, and physiological pitfalls that lead otherwise intelligent people--including researchers, physicians, and therapists--to endorse these cures.
The book's ultimate goal is to reveal not whether these therapies work--as Bausell explains, most do work, although weakly and temporarily--but whether they work for the reasons their proponents believe. Indeed, as Bausell reveals, it is the placebo effect that accounts for most of the positive results.
He explores this remarkable phenomenon--the biological and chemical evidence for the placebo effect, how it works in the body, and why research on any therapy that does not factor in the placebo effect will inevitably produce false results. By contrast, as Bausell shows in an impressive survey of research from high-quality scientific journals and systematic reviews, studies employing credible placebo controls do not indicate positive effects for CAM therapies over and above those attributable to random chance.
Here is not only an entertaining critique of the strangely zealous world of CAM belief and practice, but it also a first-rate introduction to how to correctly interpret scientific research of any sort. Readers will come away with a solid understanding of good vs. bad research practice and a healthy skepticism of claims about the latest miracle cure, be it St. John's Wort for depression or acupuncture for chronic pain.
CDC Recommendations for Meningococcal Vaccine"Anyone can get meningococcal disease, but it is most common in infants
under 1 year, and people with certain conditions. College freshmen,
particularly those who live in dormitories have a slightly increased
The CDC also points out that the vaccine only works against two of the
three most common forms.
Young adults are becoming increasingly susceptible to Meningitis, perhaps because of the way they live when they go off to college. For thousands of teens all across the country, it's that long anticipated day leaving the security of the family nest for the uncertainty of college living and dormitory life.
(Dr. Polevoy's comments: When I put together the Meningitis Outbreak Hotline for the massive oubreak in Kitchener-Waterloo in 1997, I wrote the local newspaper to protest the failure of the local health department to close the bars and nightclubs until after the epidemic that eventually killed two local high school teenagers was over. The impression I got, was that they didn't want to rock the boat which might damage their precarious relationship with the downtown bar owners, who would be hurt by such a massive closure. I regret to this day, and so do many of the citizens of this region, that the massive spread of this indescriminate killer was allowed to cultivate even more victims.)
Late News - Latest U.S. outbreak
Search for news Meningitis
Canadian Meningitis Outbreaks
The K-W Record looks back at the
impact of the epidemic of December 1997
The Metropolis did during the meningitis outbreak
of signs went up all over Waterloo during finals week. They were next
to McDonalds, banks, pizza shops, high schools, and just about everywhere
you looked. Their presence is just another sign of the deteriorating state
of events, and the sleazy nature of the bar and club scene in our region.
Instead of helping to control the epidemic bar owners, student promoters,
and the university itself did nothing to assist in the control process.
In fact, a pub located on the campus of the University of Waterloo, under
the blessed guidance of a president who sits on the board of Tennis Canada
(an unsworn agent of Imperial Tobacco), hosted a New Year's Eve party for
1200 joyous young people. That's where the last reported case of meningitis
occurred. None of their employees had been treated with antibiotics, and
I doubt if their employees had even been warned that pubs on college campuses
are a major source of outbreaks in North America.
and your families deserve to know
does the rash look like? - Mosby's pediatric encyclopedia - Chances
are that your medical doctor has never seen one of these. Ask your MD to
visit this sight often. If they find out that you know more than they do
about what the meningococcemia rash looks like, they might pay more attention
to you, even when the outbreak is over.
is really at risk? Bar and club workers, and those exposed to second hand
If you work in a bar or club you may handle thousands of glasses
and bottles every night. Do you think that Workman's Compensation covers
you if you acquire the meningococcus bacteria as part of your work experience?
A simple sneeze or cough when someone has a cold can spread droplets
over a wide area. Did anyone see the movie Outbreak? If they also carry
the meningococcus bacteria in their throat or nose, it can land on your
food and drink. It doesn't dry up in just 3-4 minutes like the health department
wants you to think.
articles about outbreaks in other parts of the world
School-based clusters of meningococcal clusters Three quarters of the school clusters occurred in secondary schools, with over 70% of subsequent cases occurring within 2 weeks of the index case. Rapid initiation of treatment after 2 cases of meningococcal disease in a school would have potentially prevented 50% of subsequent cases in the clusters described.
Georgia outbreak - links and review of cases. Between November, 1992 and January, 1993, an unusual cluster of meningococcus Group C disease occurred in a small area around Carroll County.
Vaccine Institute - try their links to Connaught
Canada - they make the vaccine used here in Waterloo. Their site is
so bad that there is no information, even on their Canadian based server,
about the current vaccine being used. Why should Canadian consumers rely
on half-baked, illogical, and dangerous propositions by those in the alternative
health fields, who know little or nothing about the death and destruction
that meningococcal meningitis can inflict on a community.
You would think that Connaught,
formerly owned by the University of Toronto, and our Provincial government
would have taken the bull by the horns and created an information page
for consumers and doctors alike. Shame on Connaught.
They have emerged as just a small partner of Pasteur-Merrieux, part of
an infinitely larger multi-national conglomerate. The funny thing is that
the company Rhone Poulenc produces pesticides
to help grow tobacco. They were featured in the new best selling novel
by Richard Preston called the Cobra Event about biological warfare
Pharma Canada - Biochem announces that Canadian researchers discovered
a potential vaccine that could prevent all types of Meningococcal Meningitis,
including Type B