Why Write About Alternative Medicine? Part Three: Risks

February 6, 2012 at 12:30 pm (Alternative Medicine, Miscellaneous) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Another reason to write about alternative medicine: risk. Alternative therapies have associated risks that practitioners may not inform patients about. In part one of this series (here), I linked to research that found media coverage of alternative medicine to be positive (in some cases overwhelmingly so) and to lack discussion of the risks, benefits, and costs.

Given the reluctance of practitioners and journalists to tell people about the risks of CAM, I think it is worth taking some time to blog about them.

Read the rest of this entry »

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An A-Z of Alternative Medicine

January 22, 2012 at 6:14 pm (Alternative Medicine) (, , , , , , , )

An incomplete list of alternative therapies, and comment on some of the benefits and risks. Read the rest of this entry »

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Risks of CAM Part One: Nocebo

August 25, 2010 at 6:30 pm (Alternative Medicine, Chiropractic, Nutritionism, Patrick Holford, Placebo) (, , , , , , , )

Risk of adverse effects from (mis)information

As well as relying on the placebo effect when making claims of the efficacy of their therapies, those providing alternative treatments may also be aided by something akin to the nocebo effect. If you tell healthy people they are sick (or sick people that they are sicker than they thought), it may be possible to induce the perception of symptoms that you can later claim to have resolved. Read the rest of this entry »

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Acupuncture Works, Say Scientists

May 30, 2010 at 7:02 pm (Acupuncture, Alternative Medicine, Media) (, , , , , )

AcupunctureAnother day, another story in the popular press suggesting that scientists have shown that a popular alternative treatment is effective. Read the rest of this entry »

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Cultural Bias in Scientific Research

February 3, 2010 at 7:49 pm (Bad Science, Miscellaneous) (, )

This paper is a systematic review of controlled trials that asks the question “Do certain countries produce only positive results?” The authors conclude that: Read the rest of this entry »

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A Beginner’s Guide To Acupuncture

May 5, 2009 at 4:50 pm (Acupuncture, Alternative Medicine, Beginner's Guides) (, )


Part Two in an occasional series (I’ve already done a guide to chiropractic) focuses on acupuncture. Read the rest of this entry »

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Acupuncture Works. According to the BBC’s Headline.

January 23, 2009 at 9:30 pm (Alternative Medicine, Bad Science, Placebo) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

The BBC has reported on an acupuncture study. Here, the headline is “Acupuncture ‘works for headaches'”. Oh dear. Smart Bombs has written a cracking post on the reporting of this study in the mainstream media and linked to the Guardian and the BBC reports. Read the rest of this entry »

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Critical Self-Appraisal In Alternative Medicine

September 17, 2008 at 12:14 pm (Alternative Medicine, Bad Science, Chiropractic, Homeopathy, Nutritionism) (, , , , , , , , )

Leaving this post completely blank would probably have been my funniest punchline yet.

I reckon all these branches of Alternative Medicine would probably benefit from a bit of critical self-appraisal: Homeopathy, Nutritionism, Reflexology, Reiki, Herbalism, Acupuncture, Chiropractic… but I have decided to focus quite narrowly on Read the rest of this entry »

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How Smart Are Politicians?

July 11, 2008 at 8:12 pm (Alternative Medicine, Bad Science, government, Nutritionism, Supplements, Woo) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Not very smart at all if David Tredinnick is anything go go by. I wrote about him speaking on homeopathy back in February and today I noticed a link on the Improbable Science miniblog to an old speech he gave [see first link for full debate]. His opening remarks included this gem: “Regrettably, the availability of complementary therapies on the health service has declined since primary care groups and primary care trusts came into being.” Read the rest of this entry »

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