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    Superstition: Belief in the Age of Science

    "Science," he says, "is the only way humankind has found of separating truth from fraud or mere foolishness; it's what we've learned about how not to fool ourselves." With acerbic wit and humorous repartee, Robert L. Park, professor of physics at the University of Maryland, asks why we believe weird things even when no evidence supports our claims. "Science," he writes, "is the only way of knowing--everything else is superstition. Everything in the universe is governed by the same natural laws; there is a physical cause behind every event." A humanist and naturalist, Park asserts that science rejects appeal to authority in favor of empirical evidence. He attacks pseudoscience--from so-called "intelligent design" and young-Earth fundamentalism to New Age mysticism, homeopathic "remedies," and snake-oil "cures."
    Now Available from Amazon.uk

    Order Today

    Trick or Treatment: Alternative Medicine on Trial


    In the U.S.

    Available
    in Canada

    Trick or Treatment:
    by Simon Singh and Edzard Ernst


    The ultimate verdict on alternative medicine.

    Welcome to the world of alternative medicine. Prince Charles is a staunch defender and millions of people swear by it; most UK doctors consider it to be little more than superstition and a waste of money. But how do you know which treatments really heal and which are potentially harmful? Now at last you can find out, thanks to the formidable partnership of Professor Edzard Ernst and Simon Singh. Edzard Ernst is the world's first professor of complementary medicine, based at Exeter University, where he has spent over a decade analysing meticulously the evidence for and against alternative therapies.He is supported in his findings by Simon Singh, the well-known and highly respected science writer of several international bestsellers. Together they have written the definitive book on the subject. It is honest, impartial but hard-hitting, and provides a thorough examination and judgement of more than thirty of the most popular treatments, such as acupuncture, homeopathy, aromatherapy, reflexology, chiropractic and herbal medicine.

    In "Trick or Treatment?" the ultimate verdict on alternative medicine is delivered for the first time with clarity, scientific rigour and absolute authority.

    Book reviews

    Suckers:
    How Alternative Medicine Makes Fools of Us All

    by Rose Shapiro

    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.

  • Review by Steven Poole in The Guardian

  • 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.


  • Hulda Clark
  • Cancer quacks
  • Alternative Medicine
  • Naturopathy
  • Chiropractic
  • Diet fraud
  • Pig Pills, Inc.
  • Chelation therapy
  • Coral Calcium
  • Colloidal minerals
  • Herbal dangers
  • Magnetic scams

  • Quack Clinic Watch



    "This technology saved my life!" - NOT!!!!


    A pain sufferer tells his personal story of healing
    But, testimonials and false claims just don't count.

    False claims for EIS device

    The scam here is quite clear. The EIS device is illegal in the United States and is not recorded in the Health Canada Device Database. How can the Bowen clinics continue to prey on the public without anyone at Health Canada giving a damn?

    The owner of the "Let It Heal" company is apparently not a registered massage therapist in Ontario. Yet she uses her hands in what most would be considered a controlled act under the RHPA here in Ontario. In other words she seems to be performing things that only a chiropractor, physiotherapist, doctor or massage therapist is allowed to do.

    But, that hasn't stopped CTV from featuring her in a story on their "healthy lifestyles" show back on November 11, 2009 and probably February 19, 2010. Why didn't CTV know that this was a bloody scam? In fact, after the video aired, they made a decision to keep the text of the story up and running, and it's now early March 2010. Could it be that Bowen advertises on CTV?

    Hamilton's CHCH-TV also fell for this scam and somebody posted the segment on YouTube.com:

    John (Jonathan) Sargent from EISSCAN.COM appears in this CHCH-TV video and claims that 1,500 doctors use this device and that it is approved by Health Canada. He is also the man behind another electrodermal scam operation promoting other disreputable devices at his Quantum Energy Health Centres of Canada. The list of unapproved and fraudulent devices is unbelievable.

    After Scott Urquhart's interview is over, there are a number of other YouTube.com links that you need to watch. Most of them are 30 second spots. How in the world did they pull this one on Urquhart, and why did CHCH let this run in the first place. Again, does Let It Heal advertise on CHCH? Another CHCH performer featured another Bowen practitioner on one of his "At Home" shows and it was posted by someone on January 26, 2009. Reporter Maria Hayes also did a piece on CHCH and it was posted on February 21, 2009. False claims were made that they can treat infants who have colic and clients who have reproductive issues. Of course CHCH posted the phone number and their web site. Was this an infomercial or not? A naturopathic clinic in Toronto that uses the EIS device and other quack techniques also offers a registered medical doctor who is a specialist in Family Medicine. How can a medical doctor choose to associate with those people who use quack devices?

    The inventor in Sarasota, Florida claims that "we are listening to body signals". As far as I am concerned they are listening to the sound of money rolling into their pockets. There is NO SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE that this scam device does anything that they claim.
    Dr. Stephen Barrett of Quackwatch has the following comments:

    "A device claimed to provide information about hundreds of diseases and conditions could not be approved without a mountain of evidence substantiating usefulness and reliability. X-ray equipment is approved, for example, because the relationships between x-ray findings and physical findings have been studied in countless millions of cases. Electro Interstitial Scans have no proven practical value and could cause large amounts of time and money to be wasted by people who believe the speculations.

    The EIS device is registered with the FDA, which merely means that the agency has been notified that it exists. It is not listed in the agency's 510(k) database, which means that it has not been cleared for marketing and is not legal to market in interstate commerce in the United States."

    The bottom line is basically this. It's one thing to be fooled into believing that toxins can be removed from your body (see below), which is a total scam. It's another to make medical claims and used unapproved devices to scam patients and potentially sabotage standard medical therapy with their wacky device.


    "Pain In The Azz?"
    The Headline Is Funny, The Pain Isn't


    Ion Detox - Why would your health insurance company support this quackery?

    Complaints have been filed against these clinics for months with the Competition Bureau because of false claims made for some of the treatments sold to unwarry consumers at many of these locations. The regulatory health colleges have done nothing to clean up their acts, because at some of these facilities there are practitioners who just plainly don't cut the mustard. They work side-by-side with charlatans using unproved methods of treatments, making promises that they are unable to keep. Meanwhile, they are making money in their endeavors, despite it all.

    It has been clearly demonstrated that the Ionic foot bath cleanses don't work, but operators like this still charge $25.00 each. Some of these types of devices have been reviewed by DeviceWatch.com

    Contact us with your story if you feel that you have been ripped off by detox scams from anybody.



    "I will walk again...and SOON!"
    MS patient's testimonials are worthless
    Let It Heal

    September 19 2009 page E2

    This Let it Heal advertisement appeared on page E2 of the September 19, 2009 Waterloo Record. It makes false claims and provides testimonials for its services. MS patient Daisy was being used to promote quackery. Multiple sclerosis patients have remissions all the time. Daisy's relief was purely part of her disease process. The operators of the various Bowen therapy clinics have just preyed on another victim, and that's unethical. The fact that the government of Ontario allows these types of claims to continue is egregious. For the media to continue to profit from advertising revenue is worse than that.

  • Complete text in .doc format
  • Complete ad on page E02 in .pdf format


  • Woman Find Relief - Avoids Back Surgery

    This Let it Heal advertisement appeared on page A2 of the July 24, 2009 Waterloo Record. The newspaper and its publisher has failed to respond to my complaints for years. As well, the Competition Bureau ignores ads like this.

    Their ad states that they have helped almost 90% of their clients with almost complete reduction of their problems. Of course, they have never published these results and testimonials aren't worth anything. But, you don't know that when you read this ad. The biggest lie of course is their statements that their ion detox methods stimulate the body's own natural detox mechanisms. How can soaking your foot in a water bath charged up to an electric current do anything?




    Miraculous recovery for
    bedridden 76-year-old at
    Let It Heal

    June 6 2009 page A2 This Let it Heal advertisement appeared on page A2 of the June 6, 2009 Waterloo Record. It makes false claims and provides testimonials for its services. A similar ad appeared on page B2 on June 11, 2009.

    It appears that LetItHeal.com's web site uses or sells an unapproved medical device called the Super Zapper Deluxe. The vendors of this type of instrument have been the subject of litigation by the FTC in the U.S. The "zapper" was made famous by the infamous Hulda Clark, a Tijuana cancer quack.

    One of the problems with Let It Heal is that they have a registered massage therapist on their staff. RMTs are governed by Provincial legislation in Ontario. If a RMT is practicing in a clinic that is selling unapproved products or providing services that are bogus, the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario needs to take a look at their practice.




    TOTALLY DISGUSTING
    RESULTS GUARANTEED

    Totally disgusting results - Home and Lifestyle Guide April 2009 This ridiculous advertisement appeared in the April 2009 issue of an newspaper supplement full of coupons and special offers that was bundled with my Waterloo Record on April 7, 2009.

    I believe that the publisher may actually operate out of an office plaza in Waterloo where there is a UPS Store. Then again, it could be that they rent a mailbox at the UPS store.

    If you call Keith at 519-896-3503 he can tell you how you can,

    "Reach over 170,000 regional homes in full colour for less than 1/2 cent per home!"

    Another Bowen ad also appeared in the same issue. It was the ad that stated,

    "I no longer worry about back pain. Bowen changed my life!"

    Foot baths do not remove toxins, nor do they do anything that they claim. All of the ads like this are scams. Anyone who thinks otherwise should ask for their money back. If they won't refund your money call the Better Business Bureau.



    Bowen Therapy and Ion Detox Foot Spas

    Got Pain? Get Bowen!tm

    Bogus claims and promotions of quackery have spread across Canada, but some of the most flagrant quackery that borders on fraud has been promoted in full page ads in local newspapers. It's a Canadian franchise based on a bogus concept that apparently originated in Australia. Bowen Therapy Clinics' print ads and web sites use testimonials with slick ad copy without one shred of evidence that their unregulated treatments work.

    • Are any of these practitioners qualified to make these claims and treat patients?
    • Who regulates quack clinics like this in Ontario?
    • Who provides liability insurance for these clinics?

    I've filed complaints with Health Canada, the Competition Bureau, and several colleges of health professionals in Ontario because of what I would consider unsupported health claims.

    "The genius of Bowen Therapy is that it recognizes the human body as a self-healing organism. The effect of Bowen Therapy is profound and long lasting because....this leads to improvement as opposed to requiring constant reinforcement without addressing the underlying causes. Bowen Therapy stimulates the body to fully resolve chronic problems."

    Links to newspaper ads and postcards

    Herbal Ion Detox Foot Spa scam

    Do the Detox adv. at Bowen Therapy Clinic in Waterloo Another Bowen Therapy Clinics service is a complete and total scam. They claim that their exclusive Do The Detoxtm (Herbal Ion Detox Foot Spas) alkalinizes your entire body by ridding your body of harmful toxins. This device has been discredited by a number of researchers and skeptical associations.


    Their claims are totally and completely false.

  • Conditions Treated by Bowen Therapy
    BENEFITS
    -Liver/ Kidney Detoxification
    -Removes Heavy Metals
    -Balance Body pH Levels
    -Boost Metabolism
    -Improve Blood Circulation
    -Improves Healthy Cell Re-generation
    -Strengthen the Immune System
    -Increase Energy
    -Reduce Stress
    -Provides Pain Relief
    -Internal Cleansing
    -Reduces Wrinkles & Acne
    -Improves Memory and Sleep
    

    Skeptical links and legal action against detox devices

    BioEnergetic Intolerance Elimination - BIE™

    Fake Allergy Testing marketed by chiropractors and unregulated quacks

    Institute of Natural Health Technologies (INHT)

    Here a few of their bogus claims: "Welcome to the The Institute of Natural Health Technologies located in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. We specialize in the relief of allergy symptoms of all kinds and have developed a new, noninvasive, drug free approach to dealing with allergies. We have had tremendous success to date and invite you to check out our testimonials page and hear what countless others are saying about our breakthrough methods for dealing with allergies."

    They claim to eliminate 80% of allergies after the first visit.

    I believe that this is one of the worst scams that involved a potentially deadly testing procedure that appears to be the brainchild of a group of quacks from Ontario and promoted by two chiropractors from New York State.


    Ontario homeopathic practitioner uses chiropractor's office to rant against vaccines

    Cynthia Simmons, who claims to be a "Dr." of homeopathy in this advertisement below has her own web site that I feel is aimed to deceive the public with unproved, useless tests and programs.

    Health Thyself Family Naturopathic and Weight Loss Clinic. is located in Acton, Ontario in the Halton Hills area of Southwestern Ontario. The average visitor to her web site might be led to believe that there are naturopaths who work there. Unfortunately, there is no mention on her web site that there are any naturopaths there.

    The advertisement below was placed in a community newspaper, The Georgetown Independent, by a local chiropractor on November 30, 2007.

  • Cynthia Simmons anti-vaccine talk at Georgetown chiropractor's office


    HIDDEN DANGERS OF VACCINATIONS
    Information Session - Monday Dec 3, 7 - 8 p.m.

    Gabor Madarasz, DC of Georgetown, Ontario is hosting Cynthia Simmons at his PainFree Life Chiropractic Centre. Notice the Christian fish logo on his web site.

    Simmons makes the claim that she is a doctor of homeopathy. In Ontario, homeopaths are not licensed, registered or regulated. Homeopaths are not allowed to use the term Dr. in front of their names.

    So, why would a registered chiropractor align themselves with somebody who is clearly not regulated, and how could they not know that their agenda aims to destroy the public health system in our Province by preaching lies about immunizations.

    Madarasz must know that the fact that he is supporting this talk in his own office clearly places his registration at risk. He could be fined up to $25,000 by the College., and face up to 6 months behind bars if he is found guilty.

    Simmons has her own office in Acton, Ontario and that office is called Truestar HEALTH, a Canadian company that franchises weightloss and fitness programs, and uses the internet to market them. Their main targets seem to be personal trainers and spas. They also have their own Truestar clinic in Toronto, where there are apparently three real naturopaths. However one of their associates is not a regulated health professional, and she does something called Live cell microscopy, which is totally bogus.

    Do the team members or executives of Truestar Health know about Cynthia Simmons and her anti-vaccine views? Would Joey Shulman, a chiropractor, naturopaths Natasha Turner and Olga Warshavsky support those views?

    The Board of Directors of Drugless Therapy - Naturopathy, which will apparently come under regulation as health profession in a few years has the right to demand that Simmons cease her claims that her clinic in fact is a naturopathic one. Simmons recommends dubious tests on her own web site, including hair analysis, oxidata testing of the urine that purports to detect cell damage in minutes. Wow, am I impressed!!!

    Couple these to tests with more of the same rubbish:

    • Saliva Testing of Steroid Hormones - Identifies overt deficiency or excess (eg. Estrogen, Progesterone, DHEA, Corticsol, Melatonin)
    • DIA Test : C Breath Test for Insuline Resistance : a non-invasive testing kit for teens to check their insulin sensitivity
    • Thyroid Activity Tests: Iodine Skin Absorption Test; Basal Body Temperature Test
    • Zinc Taste Test: to check ZINC deficiency
    • pH Saliva Test
    • Urinalysis Strip Test
    • Blood Pressure
    In other words, Simmons is basically practicing medicine without a license, and she should be investigated for health fraud by the Ministry of Health.

  • "Allergies cured" - "100% guaranteed" says Lori Bowman - No recognized qualifications, bogus testing, unsafe treatments can place you at risk. Now she's working with a naturopath who apparently is also affiliated with a group of chiropractors in Guelph, Ontario.

  • Who You Callin' a Quack? - Cleveland Scene Magazine May 4, 2005 - By Chris Maag A tale of strange medicine, cops in ski masks, and Ohio's out-of-control war against natural health. Ohio health regulators storm the offices of a mechanotherapist, a health food store owner, and a director of an alternative health school.

  • 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

    Consumer Advisory

    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.

  • 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 was 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.

    Contact acupuncture911@yahoo.com if you have been treated by any acupuncturist in Toronto and have suffered injury.

  • Acupucturist in Toronto re-used needles - A dozen people in the Toronto area are infected with Mycobacterium abscessus. 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 their health. ``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.

    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.

    • 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 fresh scrutiny. 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 unorthodox treatment.

    • Blind trust: Herbal `cures' - by Leslie Papp - Toronto Star It's a free-for-all of weak standards, few rules and unknown side effects. 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 herb-obsessed.

    • 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
      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.

    • 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:

      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. 溰ðd.￿￿it��.<��r>
    • 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:
      • Orthobionomy
      • Feng - Shui
      • Jin Shin Jyutsu
      • Reiki
      • Spiritual Thought
      • Meditation
      • Creative Visualization
      • Natural Food & Wellness Wisdom
      • Trauma Release

    • 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

    Zoltan Rona

    • 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

    CMAJ

    • Ignore growing patient interest in alternative medicine at your peril, MDs warned - Heather Kent - 1997

      Canada 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.

    Health Regulators


    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 disciplinary measures.

    • 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.

      Healing, 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 organization.

      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.

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