Alternative Medicine News
$2.5 billion spent, no alternative cures found
"Big, government-funded studies show most work no better than placebos"
- MSNBC - June 10, 2009
Ten years ago the government set out to test herbal and other alternative health remedies to find the ones that work. After spending $2.5 billion, the disappointing answer seems to be that almost none of them do. The government also is funding studies of purported energy fields, distance healing and other approaches that have little if any biological plausibility or scientific evidence.
Taxpayers are bankrolling studies of whether pressing various spots on your head can help with weight loss, whether brain waves emitted from a special "master" can help break cocaine addiction, and whether wearing magnets can help the painful wrist problem, carpal tunnel syndrome.
The center was handed a flawed mission, many scientists say.
Congress created it after several powerful members claimed health benefits from their own use of alternative medicine and persuaded others that this enormously popular field needed more study. The new center was given $50 million in 1999 (its budget was $122 million last year) and ordered to research unconventional therapies and nostrums that Americans were using to see which ones had merit.
The case against cure-alls
"Millions of patients are wasting their money and risking their health by turning towards a snake-oil industry."
- Dangers of Alternative therapies - Book review in Sydney Morning Herald. Despite the billions spent on alternative therapies, experts say many do not work, writes Deborah Smith.
Edzard Ernst, the world's first professor of complementary medicine, is on a mission. He wants people to know the truth about the "potions, pills, needles, pummelling and energising" that make up the multibillion-dollar global alternative medicine industry.
And the news is not good.
At a time when alternative therapies are rapidly growing in popularity, promoted by princes, pop stars and more than 40 million websites, the German-born British expert has a harsh conclusion.
Reaction to Prince of Wales's recently published guides to promote alternative medicine.
- Dangers of Alternative therapies - Letter to the editor TimesonLine from Edzard Ernst and Simon Singh
There have been well over 4,000 research studies into alternative medicine since 2000, and in our new book, Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial, which is published next week, we have evaluated this evidence rigorously and fairly. A few treatments seem to work. However, the majority of alternative therapies appear to be clinically ineffective, and many are downright dangerous.
In light of this “rigorous scientific evidence”, we strongly advise that the Prince of Wales and the Foundation for Integrated Health withdraw the publications Complementary Health Care: A Guide for Patients and the Smallwood report. They both contain numerous misleading and inaccurate claims concerning the supposed benefits of alternative medicine. The nation cannot be served by promoting ineffective and sometimes dangerous alternative treatments.
- Prince of Wales's guide to alternative medicine ‘inaccurate’ - Mark Henderson - Science Editor
The Prince of Wales is being challenged to withdraw two guides promoting alternative medicine, by scientists who say that they make misleading and inaccurate claims about its benefits.
Vitamin Supplements Found Ineffective Against Lung Cancer - Feb. 29, 2008 - MedPage Today
The development of lung cancer appears to overwhelm any putative protective effects of prolonged use of vitamins C, E, and folate supplements. In other words, supplements don't work, and some of them may actually increase the cancer rate!
The Empire of Homeopaths Strike Back - Feb. 25, 2008 - Quackometer Blog
We know it is going to be a fun year for watching Homeopaths in the UK. The fight is well and truly on for who gets to pretend to regulate the profession. The beleaguered Society of Homeopaths have today gone on the offensive for total and unyielding control.
Colloidal Silver Products - Consumer Advisory from NCCAM
Reviews in the scientific literature on colloidal silver products have concluded that:
- Silver has no known function in the body.
- Silver is not an essential mineral supplement or a cure-all and should not be promoted as such.
- Claims that there can be a "deficiency" of silver in the body and that such a deficiency can lead to disease are unfounded.
- Claims made about the effectiveness of colloidal silver products for numerous diseases are unsupported scientifically.
- Colloidal silver products can have serious side effects (discussed further below).
- Laboratory analysis has shown that the amounts of silver in supplements vary greatly, which can pose risks to the consumer.
Are You Considering Using Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)? - NCCAM
Decisions about your health care are important--including decisions about whether to use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) has developed this fact sheet to assist you in your decisionmaking about CAM. It includes frequently asked questions, issues to consider, and a list of sources for further information.
FDA Warning on Androstenedione (Andro) -March 11, 2004
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced a crackdown on products containing androstenedione, commonly known as "andro." The products are marketed over the counter as dietary supplements that enhance athletic performance. In the body, androstenedione is converted into testosterone and estrogen.
10 Things To Know About Evaluating Medical Resources on the Web - NCCAM
The number of Web sites offering health-related resources grows every day. Many sites provide valuable information, while others may have information that is unreliable or misleading. This short guide contains important questions you should consider as you look for health information online. Answering these questions when you visit a new site will help you evaluate the information you find.
Ongoing Problem with the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Skeptical Inquirer - September 2003
Kimball C. Atwood IV, M.D.
In spite of statements to the contrary by its director, the NCCAM continues to fund and promote pseudoscience. Political pressures and the Center's charter would seem to make this inevitable. Ethics and the public interest are compromised.
- Pointless Research and Dangerous Promotions
- Implausible Claims and Unacknowledged Scientific Fraud
- Research Centers, More Implausible Claims, and "Integrative Medicine" Centers
- Cynicism and Fear
- Human Studies Ethics and CAM
- Advisory Councils
- Conflicts of Interest
- Conclusion - After more than ten years and $200 million, OAM/NCCAM-sponsored research has not demonstrated efficacy for any CAM method, nor has the Center informed the public that any method is useless. It continues to fund and promote pseudoscience. It continues to be influenced by powerful ideologues. The problem with so-called Complementary and Alternative Medicine, in a nutshell, is that it is an assortment of implausible, dishonest, expensive, and sometimes dangerous claims that are exuberantly promoted to a scientifically naïve public. The NCCAM, so far, has not been part of the solution.
Integrative Medicine - A balanced account of the data - 168 pages in one large .pdf file
Stephen Wirth, MD, MPH and others edit this look at what professionals need to know about alternative medicine when faced with patients who use them.
A Different Way to Heal - Scientific American Frontiers with Alan Alda
Watch the entire series and you decide for yourself if all of this alternative medical mumbo jumbo deserves to be funded by your government, or insurance company.
Institute of Medicine - Critical look by Quackwatch.com
In February 2003, the IOM Web site posted the names of 15 appointees and asked for public comment about their suitability. Unfortunately, the proposed committee does not appear to contain a single knowledgeable critic. At least half of its members have a direct or indirect economic interest in the project's outcome, and several of these have actively promoted quack methods.
MD Homeopath in U.K. loses license over homeopathic Rx. of infant
A family doctor let her faith in alternative medicine cloud her medical judgment, the General Medical Council (GMC) has found. Dr Langdon told baby's mother that her home was built on geopathic stress lines which might be making the child ill.
Click here for more Acupuncture articles
Fear for future - Toronto Star - Dec 22, 2002
Acupuncture visit becomes woman's ongoing ordeal
Health officials seek more than 100 ex-patients who may have been seen and treated by her. She works in clinic affiliated with a licensed Toronto OB/GYN who believes that "traditional acupuncture is often successfully used as an alternative to medications or even surgery." Oh, did I fail to mention their qualifications such as "Both Doctors Pettle and Testaguzza have been featured on the Erin Davis Television Show on several occasions." Plus, for those of you who know how fond we are of York University, she is the Women's Health Consultant at York University Wellness Center. Wow, am I bloody impressed. Don't they teach sterile technique there. I assume that it must be one of their most favourite topics in the philosophy department. And who can forget the little letter we sent to Chatelaine Magazine about their piece on alternative medicine in 1999.
Acupucturist in Toronto re-used needles - A dozen people in the Toronto area are infected with Mycobacterium abscesses. City councillor calls for regulation. Health officials refuse to identify the name of the acupuncturist, the names of the two clinics involved, or the doctors associated with them. It so happens that there is absolutely no regulation of acupuncturists in Ontario. Why even tattoo parlors are probably under more scrutiny. My question to the government of Ontario is basically this, when the hell are you going to take action to protect the unwary public. I wonder how many cases of AIDS, or Hepatitis-C might be spread by people like this.
E-mail Dr. Barbara Yaffe an ask her why she is keeping a secret from the public. We deserve to know where these idiots practice. If this was a restaurant that failed to keep their hot tables at the right temperature, it would be public knowledge. Are these people Canadians, are they foreign MDs from China, are they licensed massage therapists, chiropractors, naturopaths, or did they learn their trade over a few weekends with Dr. Ho at the Toronto Convention Centre.
Links to Mycobacterium abscessus
Wallace Sampson wants NCCAM defunded - December 9, 2002
$200 million down the drain to support unscientific studies by U.S. Federal government. Enough is enough. Stop wasting the taxpayers money.
Ethical Considerations of Complementary and
Alternative Medical Therapies in Conventional
Medical Settings - October 2002
Ann Intern Med. 2002;137:660-664.
Karen E. Adams, MD; Michael H. Cohen, JD, MBA, MFA; David Eisenberg, MD; and
Albert R. Jonsen, PhD
Increasing use of complementary and alternative medical (CAM) therapies by patients,
health care providers, and institutions has made it imperative that physicians consider
their ethical obligations when recommending, tolerating, or proscribing these therapies.
The authors present a riskÐbenefit framework that can be applied to determine the
appropriateness of using CAM therapies in various clinical scenarios. The major relevant
issues are the severity and acuteness of illness; the curability of the illness by
conventional forms of treatment; the degree of invasiveness, associated toxicities, and
side effects of the conventional treatment; the availability and quality of evidence of utility
and safety of the desired CAM treatment; the level of understanding of risks and benefits
of the CAM treatment combined with the patient's knowing and voluntary acceptance of
those risks; and the patient's persistence of intention to use CAM therapies. Even in the
absence of scientific evidence for CAM therapies, by considering these relevant issues,
providers can formulate a plan that is clinically sound, ethically appropriate, and targeted
to the unique circumstances of individual patients. Physicians are encouraged to remain
engaged in problem-solving with their patients and to attempt to elucidate and clarify the
patient's core values and beliefs when counseling about CAM therapies.
Medicine men at NIH - October 7, 2002 - Townhall.com
Somebody is as busy as a bee, wasting your money on moonshine.
Congress is spending tens of millions of dollars a year on "scientific" research to explore alternative mind-body healing techniques. These can include "aromatherapy," how perfume from the petals of
flowers can affect mood and energy; "ayurveda," a 5,000 year old practice from India that uses body, mind and spirit to treat disease; and "Reiki," Japanese for the laying
on of hands to balance a patient's "vital energy" and heal emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual problems. NCCAM will do research on "chelation therapy" for heart disease, a method that has been disproved and is potentially dangerous. An award for $1 million will examine
psychic healing and $1.5 million will be used to study homeopathy, or home-based medicine. This may be petty cash on the Potomac, but taxpayers are allergic to it,
and more than bee pollen will be required for a cure.
Science Fiction - Washington Monthly - April 2002
Chris Mooney - After spending half a billion taxpayer dollars, alternative medicine gurus still can't prove their methods work--how convenient. CAM's supporters are trying to have it both ways---and succeeding. Today, a guilty silence shrouds an increasingly important question: Can a field like alternative and complementary medicine, which in many cases is inherently hostile to science, survive its arrival into mainstream medicine? Or are American taxpayers the victims of an expensive medical swindle being abetted by the nation's leading medical schools?
Complementary medicine and children don't mix - Medical Post - June 4, 2002
Viewed as natural, side-effects still serious, even deadly, this report by Marilyn Bitomsky covers an Australian study that demonstrated the serious risks of complementary medicine. Dr. Alissa Lim of the department of general medicine at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne, told the
conference that these were just the tip of the iceberg because they covered only events that came to the
attention of Australian pediatricians.
St John's Wort worthless for depression - April 9, 2002
The popular herbal supplement, St John's wort, is an ineffective
treatment for depression, a major study has found. The use of herb has
grown massively in recent years as more people opt for so-called natural
medicines. The researchers, from Duke University Medical Center in North
Carolina, found it had no more impact than a dummy medicine.
New governing body for alternative med a waste - Medical Post - April 9, 2002Health risks too minimal to warrant spending large sums
VANCOUVER – Regulating natural health products is a waste of time and money, according to
a study released by the Fraser Institute, an independent think-tank. The Natural Health Products Directorate (NHPD) will make for more onerous
regulations that are costly and can prolong the approval times for certain products.
NCAHF Challenges White House Commission on Alternative Medicine Report
The National Council Against Health Fraud, Inc. (NCAHF) has concluded that policies prescribed in a report
(http://www.whccamp.hhs.gov/finalreport.html) issued this week by the White House Commission on Complementary
and Alternative Medicine Policy (WHCCAMP) would lead to widespread adoption of unproven, disproven, and
irrational methods and would cost the American public billions of dollars and thousands of human lives.
Chelation therapy for coronary heart disease: An overview of all clinical investigations.
Am Heart J 2000 Jul;140(1):139-41
BACKGROUND: Chelation therapy is popular in the United States.
The question of whether it does more good than harm remains
controversial. AIM: The aim of this systematic review was to
summarize all the clinical evidence for or against the
effectiveness and efficacy of chelation therapy for coronary
heart disease. METHODS: A thorough search strategy was
implemented to retrieve all clinical investigations regardless
of whether they were controlled or uncontrolled. RESULTS: The
most striking finding is the almost total lack of convincing
evidence for efficacy. Numerous case reports and case series
were found. The majority of these publications seem to indicate
that chelation therapy is effective. Only 2 controlled clinical
trials were located. They provide no evidence that chelation
therapy is efficacious beyond a powerful placebo effect.
CONCLUSION: Given the potential of chelation therapy to cause
severe adverse effects, this treatment should now be considered
British House of Lords comes down on CAM - Nov. 28, 2000
Science experts in Britain's House of Lords called Tuesday for tougher regulation of alternative medicines, saying many practices offered no
evidence of helping the ill.
Peers in parliament's upper chamber said there was also a risk that patients would pursue alternative therapies at the expense of traditional treatment, endangering
``One of the main dangers of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is that patients could miss out on conventional medical diagnosis and treatment because
they choose only to consult a CAM practitioner,'' the Lords' science and technology committee said in a report.
NCCAM News JAMA - Feb 23, 2000
Donna Shalala appointed Stephen E. Straus as the new head of National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the NIH last February. The name has changed from OAM to NCCAM, and the focus will be less woo woo, we hope!
Mehl-Madrona forced out as University of Pittsburgh's Alt. Med. head honcho - Feb 6, 2000With a national quack-watch publication questioning his competence, Mehl-Madrona has stepped down as medical director of the Center for Complementary Medicine at UPMC Shadyside. Though he continues to see patients there, he is the subject of a investigation. Mehl-Madrona treats patients with acupuncture, hypnosis, relaxation therapies, talk therapy and a technique called EMDR, in which patients use eye movement and other exercises to reprocess information stored in the nervous system.
One of the most controversial aspects of his methods is the use of Indian medicine, and the Sweat Lodge. I guess it may have been the use of the sacred tobacco pipe that finally ended his reign.
This article includes interviews with Patrick Curry and Wallace Sampson.
AM NewsWatch - Alternative Medicine News
HealthWatcher.net presents a special section on alternative medicine. As part of our overall goal to provide consumers with a scientific review of alternative medicine, AM NewWatch hopes to bring you news and views, with a Canadian point of view.
The goverment of Canada moves into the realm of woo woo medicine as it funds the Office of Natural Health Products. It's about to fund $100 million research institute to study alternative medicine in Hamilton, Ontario. Without the support of organized medicine, and the government, much of alternative medicine would be considered quackery and fraud. The derogation of the responsibility of science based medicine and their cooperation with pseudo-science based health gurus is a big mistake. Canadian medicine is hurting, our hospitals are starving for support and our patients are dying in ambulances in our major cities because our government funds alternative medicine.
We strongly feel that the government and insurance companies should not bend to the whims and wishes of a few lobby groups who feel that they should have funding. If you feel the same way, you will enjoy this site.
Do you keep your eye on regulators, or those who criticize them?
- Reform MP Grant Hill, M.D. is suspicious - why is a medical doctor and member of Parliament now a poster boy for natural health products lobby?
- The Regulation of Dietary Supplements in Canada - Eileen McMahon, LLB
Canada's Food and Drugs Act and Regulations currently classify any product that makes a therapeutic claim as a "drug". Drugs cannot be marketed in Canada unless they
have been pre-approved by the Health Protection Branch and issued a drug identification number or DIN. This article explores the current law regulating dietary
supplements in Canada and the changing face of that regulation.
- Herbal Products: Determining Quality - by Jane Gillis, B.Sc.(Pharm), Pharm.D
This continuing education course lays out criticism of current situation, and makes suggestions. It's too bad that pharmacists have become part of the problem.
- Coroners to track alternative medicine cases - by Leslie Papp - Toronto Star
Ontario has begun tracking deaths involving alternative medicine in a move putting unorthodox therapies under
A computer code has been created enabling the Ontario coroner's office to catalogue deaths in which excess
devotion to alternative medicine may have been a factor. And notice of the new classification is being sent to all
320 coroners in Ontario, with instructions to use it when documenting any death which might be linked to
Blind trust: Herbal `cures' - by Leslie Papp - Toronto Star
It's a free-for-all of weak
standards, few rules and unknown
Canada's herbal medicine industry bottles
millions of ``natural'' pills and capsules
each week but ultimately sells a single
product - blind trust.
For that, there's an open market as
Canadians become increasingly
- FDA warns firms on herbal additives
Products never approved for consumption in food - MSNBC
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned
companies that put herbal additives in food and drinks that their
products could be illegal because the ingredients might not be
generally recognized as safe, the New York Times reported in
its online edition on Thursday
- FDA warns on herbs CNNfn
Agency tells food companies herbal
additives could be illegal and unsafe
- It's "Buyer Beware" with Alternative Botanical Treatments for Menopausal Symptoms - ACOG
Consumers cannot be assured of any particular product's actual content and efficacy. More importantly, this lack of quality control may
result in contamination, adulteration, or misidentification of plant products that may ultimately harm the consumer. Many alternative
therapies that are promoted and touted as substitutes for HRT, in fact, do not offer any substantiated health benefits.
Quack Organizations and links
- Consumer Health Organization of Canada
- 2002 Meeting
- 2001 Meeting
- 2000 Meeting
- 1999 Meeting in Toronto
The infamous American Biologics clinic, the former sponsor of the event in 1999, was featured in a series of articles in the Kansas City Star. Here is a short exerpt:
If you want to see the most absurd collection of alternative practices ever assembled in one place, just click on one of the meetings above. The total Health Expos usually last 2-3 days. They are filled with all sorts of quack exhibits, and politically charged presentations.
Then you might enjoy the discussions on vaccine safety, quacks from Mexico will bring their absurd ideas across two international borders, and more.
American Biologics Mexico runs a daily shuttle from motels on the American side of the border to its clinic a half a block off a busy Tijuana thoroughfare. Riding in the
clinic's van one day in May was the family of Randy Boone, members of a sect of plain people known as Old German Baptist.
Boone brought his clan to Tijuana first in January after his 19-year-old son, Daniel, was diagnosed with a kidney disease American doctors have described as incurable and eventually fatal.
"How did we get here? Providential guidance," explains Boone. That and promises about the healing powers of cow embryos.
"We couldn't get the answers we were seeking at home from our medical doctors. They weren't offering any hope. Down here, we got some hope."
Boone said he didn't fully understand the treatment his son received at American Biologics, but that Roberto Tapia believed that part of the answer rested in injecting Daniel with embryonic tissue taken from cattle.
"In Europe," Tapia says, "they use sheep."
In theory, the therapy regenerates and stimulates damaged tissue and corrects hormone imbalances.
Tapia said the clinic draws plain people "because they cannot receive this treatment in the states."
He's right about that. Neither the National Kidney Foundation nor the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has any evidence that the embryo therapy can successfully treat kidney problems.
Tapia complements the embryo remedy with vitamin supplements and the removal of heavy metals using a treatment known as chelation. Again, the two kidney groups say no studies support the idea that chelation can treat kidney problems. Rather, they specifically warn against it as a therapy
Healthy You - a Chatham-Kent Ontario web page - not one warning or disclaimer on this page that links to dozens of unregulated alt. med. sites.
Greg Prytula, BASc., N.D. - a licensed naturopath practices iridology, an utterly useless quack procedure
Pam Robinson - says she has a B.A., but not anything else to justify her treatment of arthritis, asthma, hyperactivity, colitis, etc. But she does do regression therapy and parasite and heavy metal detox programs. Thank God, we have consumer protection laws, eh?
Sally Joyce - Spread Your Wings & Soar, Discover
Transformational Healing Arts
She says she has a B.E.S. degree, which she from the University of Waterloo in 1983. The B.E.S. according to her is a Bachelor in Environmental Studies. She practices:
Feng - Shui
Jin Shin Jyutsu
Natural Food & Wellness Wisdom
Ruth Aerssen, R.N. -- She says she is a Holistic Health Practitioner, which of course is not regulated in Ontario. She is a registered nurse and is subject to the regulations of that College. She practices at her home, which in many cities in Ontario is not allowed. Among her techniques are Muscle
Testing (dispersement of negative energy, emotional releasing), Reiki and Core Shamanism.
Magnetic Healers of Petrolia -- Cathy Richard and Hilda Van Wyka belong to the long list of magnetic healers. These have been debunked by many reputable scientists. They also do ear candling, a dangerous and fraudulent alt. med. technique. One of the most dangerous things that they recommend is colloidal silver treatments. If you want to spend big bucks for total quackery, then "caveat emptor". These people are not regulated by anyone in Ontario, or in Canada. They can make any claims they want.
Mercedes Mancari, B.A., Shaman -- London, Ontario -- Mercedes says she is a "Creative Healing Consultant", "Reiki Master Teacher", and "Energy Master". She runs the Prism Healing Centre. If you want your "Auric Field" cleared, or your "Chakra" balanced, it's the place to go. She says she is working on a Masters in Education at the University of Toronto. She is not regulated by either Middlesex County, the City of London, or the Province of Ontario. That means she is not required to have malpractice insurance if her treatments lead to "psychic" scarring. But then again, that would be in the "eye" of the beholder if you look at her practice with a prismatic view.
College of Veterinarians of Ontario - Why did this regulated health profession suck up to chiropractors who manipulate and advertise that they are certified in veterinary chiropractic. According to the proposed regulations of the CVO, those chiropractors who are taking the certificationn course in veterinary chiropractic in the U.S. may apparently ask for an exemption so that they can treat animals in their offices, before they are certified. No mention was ever made in the proposed legislation that is was actually part of the Veterinarians Act in Ontario. Therefore, are those chiropractors who claim to be manipulating your dog, cat, gerbil, or emu really doing anything except ripping off your precious resources. It is truely unforgiveable for the CVO to have proposed this. It is unscientific hogwash, not just for animals, but for most human ailments as well.
No wonder the heart of Ontario Veterinary training is being ripped apart, and being replaced by pseudoscientific trickery and fraud by the chiropratic profession. It's bad enough that they have done that with the Regulated Health Professions in Ontario.
For a look at a lead article in the Kitchener-Waterloo Record, just click on Jennifer Heick, D.C., Animal Chiropractor.
Ontario Homeopathic Association - Homeopathy is the worst example of alternative medicine because there are actually some medical doctors who believe that it works. These purveyors of "nothing" want regulation so that they can build their credibility. They compare themselves to other branches of medicine as if they actually are able to prove that their methods of treatment work. Well, they can't do that.
Canadian alternative medicine physicians
- FDA and supplement warnings misleading,
exaggerated or unproven -- Article by Dr. Zoltan P. Rona MD MSc This well-read author of alternative medical books for the public takes on the whole world of regulation of snake-oil salesmen and other quacks. He is a licensed medical doctor who regularly appears at public forums such as the Total Health Expo in Toronto. Readers of the Toronto Star will recognize him and his great support for quack medicine.
Alternative Medicine in Canadian Medical Journals
Canadian Family Physician
- Ignore growing patient interest in alternative medicine at your peril, MDs warned - Heather Kent - 1997Canada now has an institute to study alternative medicine and seek evidence concerning it.
The founder, endocrinologist Wah Jun Tze, says most physicians appreciate that the institute
will seek to find evidence for unproven therapies. It recently named a research director, and
expects to have protocols for randomized, controlled studies in place by the new year.
Herbal remedies are one likely candidate for study.
Dr. Allan Best, a psychologist, was recently named research
director and chief executive officer at the institute, and prospective patients are being
identified. (Allan recently told me that they were involved along with a top oncologist in Vancouver were involved in the study of whether or not two well-known Canadian quack products, ESSIAC, and 714-X might be useful in Breast Cancer patients. I can tell that if the quality of that research equals the quality of the research done at St. Paul's Hospital on tobacco that is funded by RJR tobacco conglomerate, it will be worth it. What is going on out there in B.C.? Is the air full of something funny?)
- MDs remain sceptical as chelation therapy goes
mainstream in Saskatchewan -- Murray Oliver -- CMAJ 1997;157:750-3
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan recently agreed to allow
physicians to administer chelation therapy. Supporters, relying on anecdotal
evidence, say it works wonders in overcoming heart disease, but many physicians
remain profoundly sceptical. In Saskatchewan, the college decision has proved
popular with patients but has drawn an angry reaction from doctors.
- Search "alternative medicine" in the CMAJ
- A witch hunt against alternative practitioners? -- CMAJ 1999;160:1130
- Treatment limitations drive search for alternatives -- CMA News 1998;8(3):5
- The Internet and chiropractic -- CMAJ 1999;160:1288
The Internet is a powerful weapon in the battle against quackery. We
should use it, especially when our government watchdogs allow it to thrive
in our own communities. The CMA must take a stand to protect our
children from harm. To do less would be wrong.
Links to Canadian Alternative Medicine Research Sites
Alternative Medicine - Comments and Major Reviews
- Consumer watchdog CSPI doesn't like Canada's Office of Natural Health Products.
A consumer-advocacy organization today criticized Health Canada for appointing a dozen industry representatives to Health Canada’s 17-seat Office of Natural Health Products transition team. In a letter to Health Minister Allan Rock, the Centre for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) charged that Health Canada is allowing industry to dominate the team in charge of setting up the assessment, licensing, and regulation process for natural health products and establishments. Natural health products include vitamin, herbal, and other dietary supplements.
- Alternative Medicine Report - AMA Council for Scientific Affairs - 1997
This report will help to clarify and categorize the
alternative medical systems most often used, create a context to
assess their utility (or lack thereof), and discuss how physicians and
the medical profession might deal with the issues surrounding these
unconventional measures in health and healing.
Many alternative practitioners are unlicensed (except for
chiropractic, and in some states, acupuncturists, naturopaths, and
homeopathic therapists) and unregulated, particularly those dealing
in alternative nutritional therapy.
The adherents of these fields, however, state that "most alternative
systems of medicine hold some common beliefs."2 Many theories of
alternative medicine attempt to pose a single explanation for most
human illness; the therapy is thought to correct the source of the
problem, not merely treat its symptoms.
- Complete Complementary Collection - BMJ
This is the main British Medical Journal web page dedicated to complementary and alternative medicine
- What is Complementary medicine - BMJ
Complementary medicine refers to a group of therapeutic and diagnostic disciplines that exist largely outside the
institutions where conventional health care is taught and provided. Complementary medicine is an increasing
feature of healthcare practice, but considerable confusion remains about what exactly it is and what position the
disciplines included under this term should hold in relation to conventional medicine
- British Medical Association calls for alternative medicine regulation
The association said that while it recognizes the growing interest in complementary
and alternative therapies, it is important to protect patients from "...unskilled or
unscrupulous practitioners of healthcare." The BMA suggested that a regulating
body be established for each therapy with the responsibility of keeping a register of
practitioners and operating an enforceable ethical code linked to effective
- The Entirely Online Alt. Med Primer - For those interested in an objective, scientific, "non-advocate" perspective. It takes a while to load, but this is one of the best sources of alt. med. stuff I have seen in one place. There is no search engine, but it's divided into categories, chiropractic, homeopathy, veterinary, etc. Some of the best papers from recent publications are linked here. If you like healthwatcher.net, and NCAHF and the healthfraud list, you'll love this site. David Ramey's stuff is highlighted in yellow.
- Enhancing the Accountability of Alternative Medicine - Millbank Fund -- January 1998
This report is about the accountability of practitioners of alternative medical therapies to the public. It describes work
on behalf of greater accountability by legislators, regulators, professionals in both conventional and alternative
medicine, health care purchasers, researchers, and consumer advocates. Members of each of these groups
participated in preparing this report by attending meetings, offering information, and reviewing successive drafts.
- David Edelberg, M.D. attacks CSICOP, James Randi, and Paul Kurz
So why is so much of this organization's energy directed toward alternative medicine? They really can't
complain about lack of scientific proof. Dozens of good studies attest to the effectiveness of chiropractic,
acupuncture and herbs. No, the issue is alternative medicine's almost uniform reliance on "subtle energies,"
which are accepted on faith, and "faith" is an anathema to CSICOP. Whether it's an acupuncturist's
manipulation of qi, the homeopath's pill re-directing his patient's vital force, the Ayurvedic physician's pranic
energies, the naturopath's vis medicatrix naturae, or any of twenty other names, it's all the same.
to the alternative practitioner, necessitates a manipulation of invisible energies whose existence requires faith
in the invisible. Hence, the intolerance of an organization whose roots are firmly entrenched in mechanistic
thinking. I really doubt if the physician members of American Medical Association (likely as religious as the
rest of America) are aware that half the authors of its publication "Reader's Guide to Alternative Medicine"
are CSICOP board members, much less know anything about the anti-religious bias of the parent
Actual science to an organization like CSICOP is irrelevant. In fact, their
advisory board has several who, like magician Randi, could hardly qualify as
having good scientific credentials. An interesting converse is true as well:
science has little need for thought police like CSICOP warning them to stay
away from the unscientific. Medical researchers are, by and large, cautious and
meticulous. The gold standard of research - the double blind placebo-controlled
randomized clinical trial - was created to avoid observer bias. Scientists don't
need CSICOP to keep them on the alert - they can take care of themselves
quite well, thank you.
- Alternative Medicine: Probing Its Core -- BY CHRISTINE KILGORE
It’s hugely popular, but can it stand up to outcomes analysis?
Why did the Oxford Health Plan decide to cover some alternative medical treatments? They did this to basically compete with other HMOs, and without one shred of evidence that any of the AM services were scientifically based.
- Alternative Medicine: Bridging Mind, Body, and Wallet -- BY EMILY HAYES
-- Consumer demand has created a rich market ripe for the picking
A glimpse of the blossoming market for alternative medicine is enough to convert a skeptical healthcare executive into a true
believer, or at least an open-minded observer of the "natural healing" movement.
One need look no further than the local supermarket checkout stand to know that unconventional self-healthcare is on many
patients' minds. Every women's magazine from Glamour to Good Housekeeping has run major pieces with impressive photo
spreads and resource checklists that help readers distinguish the good from the bad in alternative medicine.
With or without conclusive evidence, consumers-and their employers-are pushing the market forward with an all-American
willingness to experiment and spend.
- A Fixed Star in Health Care Reform: The Emerging Paradigm of Holistic Healing - Michael H Cohen - Arizona State Law Journal
This article examines the extent to which the legal system accommodates, or even tolerates, a broader spectrum of healing than "medicine." Section I of this article explores the regulatory problems posed by a paradigm shift from strictly medical to more holistic forms of healing. Section II analyzes state licensing schemes regulating the "practice of medicine" and the way courts have interpreted these statutes when confronted with alternative practitioners. Section III places the legislative and judicial response to alternative healers in historical context and evaluates whether existing statutes and judicial attitudes toward healers actually serve the values they espouse, namely, preventing fraud and protecting health care consumers. Section IV suggests avenues for regulatory reform that disentangle the prevention of fraud from the protection of medical orthodoxy, and that more fully serve consumer choice and patient autonomy.
Canadians visit their chiropractors about thirty million times a year, and surveys show that patients are generally satisfied with them. But Paul Benedetti and Wayne MacPhail have another opinion. This book is a powerful endictment of the chiropractic profession in Canada. From the early history of quackery, the latest scam gizmos, strokes, and pediatric abuse to the lack of effective regulation and discipline this book is a real page burner. |
This book is also available
in Canada from