$2.5 billion spent, no alternative cures found

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Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Mind and body do have a link, and how you think can change how you feel - emotions have a chemical/hormonal component, that much is fact.  However, you can't cure a cancer or any other serious ailment by thinking it away or meditation or water that has had herbs waved at them.  That's just silly.

jas

Why is that silly?

jas

M. Spector wrote:

Sorry if my precognitive abilities are faulty.

I forgive you.

M. Spector wrote:

BTW, I guess you're oblivious to the implicit orientalist slur inherent in labelling all science-based medicine as "western". Asian doctors and researchers can do science pretty well also.

You're right, "western" is an outdated term to refer to white European-based society. It's lke calling Ontario and Quebec "central Canada" when they haven't been for quite some time. For a while, people were using the term "Northern" as in northern hemisphere cultural hegemony. I didn't really want to say European or Eurocentric, so I guess we could just say scientistic.

By the way, I believe my original question had been were there any deaths caused by use of homeopathy or other natural therapies.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

jas wrote:

Why is that silly?

Ye gawds.  There isn't enough bandwidth to answer that question adequately.

Because it's daft, against all the laws of science and nature and just plain stupid?  Because it's not possible?  Because it doesn't actually work?  Because there's no evidence that it ever has that isn't somebody's cousin's in-law's friend of a friend's cousin six times removed? 

Will that do?

Homeopathy is harmless for minor ills that will resolve themselves.  For major illnesses, like cancer, homeopathid treatment kills by keeping people from treatment that could either save them or buy them a little time.

ETA:  Natural therapies...  How about we look at Hulda Clark's alternative therapies?

http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/09/requiem_for_a_quack.php

jas

No, not for me. Your assertion seems to suggest that there are other ways of curing cancer. Last time I checked, there's no cure for cancer. It can be treated. How would you know that mind has no role to play in healing?

 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Chemotherapy and radiation therapy cure some types of cancer, others they don't, but can extend the amount of time a sufferer has.  Unlike homeopathic or alternative treatments.  Or "intention healing", otherwise known as "wishful thinking".

jacki-mo

Another area I have wondered about is Chiropractors-some people swaear they do work but I have heard that many people get injuries which manifest a year or so after being treated.

Doug

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8299991.stm

 

Two people have died and 19 others were taken to hospital after being overcome while in a sauna-like room at a spiritual retreat in Arizona.

Police said 64 people were inside a so-called "sweatbox" at the Angel Valley resort for up to two hours before many of them became ill....

The 70-acre retreat near the town of Sedona, about 115 miles (185km) north of Phoenix, offers holistic treatments and spiritual retreats in a natural setting, according to its website.

Reports said some of the sweatbox participants had paid up to $9,000 (£5,700) for their stay at the retreat.

 

The resort offers a wide range of treatments from massage to colon cleansing, healing carried out by harnessing the consciousness of a dolphin, or "vortex experiences", in which participants "experience our human energy system interacting with the earth".

 

 

Sitting in a sauna for two hours not only won't cure anything, it'll kill you - go figure.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Doug wrote:

...healing carried out by harnessing the consciousness of a dolphin

Now, that sounds like a promising therapy.

Maybe we should get the U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine to spend a couple of billion on researching it.

 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture
Tigana Tigana's picture

No more jokes, please.

"Physicians are approximately 9000 times more dangerous than guns"

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0FKA/is_6_63/ai_78476942/

 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

In every discussion about homeopathy or other forms of quackery, some defender of this nonsense always trots out these hoary old fake statistics about how dangerous scientific medicine is. You don't have to look far to see it's all smoke and mirrors, with no basis in fact.

The article linked to above talks about the "statistic from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that prescription drugs are killing 140,000 Americans a year." This figure is passed around the internet, from one pseudocience website to another, as if it were an actual statistic. The story gets embellished with each retelling, and the devoted followers of medical quackery everywhere lap it up and pass it on as gospel.

The "source" of this statistic, if one is ever given, is said to be an article in the JAMA entitled Adverse Drug Events in Hospitalized Patients. You can read the article [url=http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/reprint/277/4/301]HERE[/url] in .pdf format. Don't bother reading the whole article, though, because it doesn't support that fake statistic of 140,000. It merely states, by way of introduction to the article,

"In addition, ADEs [Adverse Drug Events] may account for up to 140,000 deaths annually in the United States" (my emphasis). Yup, that's it; that's all.

The article, published in January 1997 (almost 13 years ago), cites as authority for this "statistic" (by way of a footnote) one other JAMA article from 1977 (20 years earlier, and now 32 years old), entitled Drug-related deaths among medical inpatients. You can read that article in .pdf format [url=http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/reprint/237/9/879]HERE[/url]. But again, don't spend a lot of time on it. All it shows (in relation to the United States) is that in a sample of 13,842 hospital patients between 1971 and 1976, 17 died of drug-related causes - a rate of 1.2 per 1,000. Nowhere in that article does the statistic 140,000 appear.

So where did the authors of the 1997 article come up with 140,000 deaths by adverse drug events? If they used the 1.2 per thousand figure from the 1977 article they would have to be starting with a figure of over 116 million patients per year (× 1.2 ÷ 1,000 = ~140,000). I don't know how many hospital admissions there were in the US in 1996, but in 2006 there were fewer than 40 million [[url=http://www.news-medical.net/news/2008/11/11/42721.aspx]Source[/url]].

How reliable is that 140,000 statistic? It's bogus. 140,000 is greater than the number of deaths in the US from diabetes, pneumonia, and influenza combined - nine years ago. Source: [url=http://www.uic.edu/sph/prepare/courses/PHLearning/resources/Actual%20Cau... Causes of Death in the United States, 2000[/url].

Fidel

And just think of all those Americans who have no health insurance and can't afford medications. And then there are those with insurance and are denied access to drugs and life saving procedures anyway. In the USsA,  doctors earn bonuses for saving money for health insurance bosses as well as shareholders. Whereas in countries like the UK under British Labour, doctors there are actually earning bonuses for making people well.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

What's the difference between homeopathy and herbalism? I believe marijuana would fall under herbalism and I don't think there are many who question the health benefits of that particular plant.

Unionist

Frustrated Mess wrote:

What's the difference between homeopathy and herbalism?

It's like the difference between water with something in it, and water.

 

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Really? So all those big pharmaceutical companies are racing around the world attempting to patent plants with medicinal qualities because they really don't have the best interests of their investors at heart? Huh.

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

FM, coffee and tea have done pretty well too.

Unionist

Frustrated Mess wrote:

Really? So all those big pharmaceutical companies are racing around the world attempting to patent plants with medicinal qualities because they really don't have the best interests of their investors at heart? Huh.

Not sure I made my point clearly. Herbalism may well have healing qualities. Homeopathy only has money-making qualities.

 

Salsa

jas wrote:
By the way, I believe my original question had been were there any deaths caused by use of homeopathy or other natural therapies.

 

There's always Whatstheharm.net if you're interested in doing a little research.

 

 

 

 

jas

Golly, did they get their information from this site?

No, thanks. I'll let you do it.

 

Fidel

What's the difference between private US health care and homeopathy?

Answer: Homeopathy is afforable for the most part. The po' gotta try to be well all by themselves in the land of free market health care.

Tigana Tigana's picture

Fidel, what is your background in alternative medicine?

Fidel

Well not much to tell you the truth. My only health care horror story is about the only real health issue I ever had. When I was a boy, I had an eye infection that wouldnt go away no matter how many eye drops my GP prescribed for me. My old ma was born in the UK, and for three years she kept insisting to the family physician that he recommend me to an eye specialist. My quack GP kept insisting that he try this and that and the other thing. Long story short, my quack GP finally acquiesced to my ma's request that I see a specialist. Dr Specialist was also from Ingerland and the land of socialized medicine, and Dr Specialist recognized my problem right away. I was cured brotha, oh I was cured for all time and havent been troubled with me viddy's ever since.

I think we lack a proper setup in Canada mainly because it's run by an old line party system and old boys' CMA clique. They advised our provincial governments back in the 80's or 90's as to how many doctors we'd be needing in future. They screwed up, and so did our neoliberal setup in Canada not work well in producing enough family physicians and specialists of all kinds. In a country like Cuba, education is free for all. They have more doctors per capita than any country in the hemisphere. But this is the nature and legacy of the new liberal capitalism started 30 years ago to transform this bastion of socialism into a free market experiment that has gone awry every step of the way as it has in other countries where tried.

Fidel

Not quite that bad. I think doctors then told Tommy his leg would have to be amputated if he couldnt pay the piper. He was lucky enough to find a compassionate doctor who cared more about medicine and the people he treated than money. I don't think every Canadian was as lucky as Tommy was before that. And I at least was able to see a GP for my eye condition. The drugs he gave me for my eye were ineffective but still covered by my dad's medical benefits from the unionized steel mill where he worked then. Which reminds me, Canada is one of the few rich countries without a national drug plan,  or vision care, or a national dental officer. There is much room for improvement for Canada's so-called socialized medicine. Tommy had a vision for universal health care, and our federal NDP want to make it happen.

Tigana Tigana's picture

Fidel, it sounds like you and Tommy Douglas had similar experiences!

Good thing the country and the medical system can be put right. 

Tigana Tigana's picture

M. Spector wrote:

In every discussion about homeopathy or other forms of quackery, some defender of this nonsense always trots out these hoary old fake statistics about how dangerous scientific medicine is. You don't have to look far to see it's all smoke and mirrors, with no basis in fact.

M. Spector, are you giving us a recap on how to lie with statistics?

Drugs are dangerous - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_box_warning  

When doctors are taught about drugs by pharma companies - sometimes by reps often who have no background in science -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XowhBPHSNQs&feature=related

the result is ignorance, and that can be fatal. 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/adr/

DEATH BY MEDICINE by Gary Null, Carolyn Dean et al - PDF

http://www.webdc.com/pdfs/deathbymedicine.pdf

Chemo, not cancer, killed my mother, and meds disabled and killed other members of my family. And that situation is true of every person I know, and probably every person you know.

Maybe cancer isn't what we have been taught. 

http://www.cancerisafungus.com/

And the science research world has gone rotten.

http://sciencefactionnyc.blogspot.com/2009/05/fake-pharmaceutical-public...

EDIT: Actually it's been rotten for a long time.

M. Spector asks, "If Bayer could patent aspirin, why couldn't they patent dandelions?"

Actually, Bayer used to make and market heroin and aspirin. Now I suppose they or a subsidiary makes and markets methadone. 

Here are some highlights of Bayer's achievements for humanity:

http://www.crocodyl.org/wiki/bayer_ag

Pharma doesn't take much interest in cheap plants like dandelion that grow freely; there's little money in them unless Monsanto can find an angle to patent them. Dandelion is not one of the herbs in Canada's traditional four-herb Native/Essiac cure for cancer, but other uses for it are discussed at the Rene Caisse site.

http://www.rene-caisse.net/maria-treben-herbs/dandelion-taraxacum-offici...

Fidel

I didn't know about Boessenkool but am aware of Gardasil.  We've had Washington style lobbyists in Ottawa since Brian Mulroney's time in the sun. Right-wing think tanks used to be considered just that in Canada and carried little influence with government before the 1980's. Today they bend the ears of our elected corporate hirelings in government and non-elected red chamber senators alike.

Tigana Tigana's picture

Fidel wrote:

I didn't know about Boessenkool but am aware of Gardasil.  We've had Washington style lobbyists in Ottawa since Brian Mulroney's time in the sun. Right-wing think tanks used to be considered just that in Canada and carried little influence with government before the 1980's. Today they bend the ears of our elected corporate hirelings in government and non-elected red chamber senators alike.

 

Pharma has physician profiling all figured out.

http://www.slate.com/id/2119712/

With higher stakes in the nation's capital, they probably know how to manipulate our elected representatives too. How many politicians are scientifically literate?

Tigana Tigana's picture

This is a good start: http://www.ndp.ca/press/conservatives-must-stop-lobbying-for-friends-in-...

This is not so good: http://www.vitalitymagazine.com/oct09_helkefeat

Ken Boessenkool, a church chum of Harper's, is a really successful Canadian lobbyist. He took food from Ontarians' mouths when he brought in Merck's Gardasil - a vaccine that failed in Texas. McGuinty, a Bilderberg alum, and Sandra Pupatello smoothed the way. Boessenkool also brought Tasers to Canada.

Update: More on Boessenkool from the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives -

http://www.policyalternatives.ca/monitorissues/2008/10/MonitorIssue1973/

Fidel

Tigana wrote:
Pharma has physician profiling all figured out.

http://www.slate.com/id/2119712/
 "If Doctor A increased her prescriptions after being treated to a facial and full-body massage, more expense-paid spa excursions are in order for her. If Doctor B didn't respond to a courtesy five-course meal, then maybe it's time to try football tickets, or up the free drug samples, or plug clinical research that touts the proffered drug's benefits."


Oh yes! We have our share of doctors who prescribe "only the best" for their patients, too. One of the issues that's arisen as a result of skyrocketing post-secondary tuition fees at universities across Canada is the fact that fewer students from less well off families are not only not pursuing higher ed in greater numbers, they aren't enrolling in the professional degree programs, like medicine. Some physicians have expressed a concern that doctors from upper middle and upper class backgrounds will not be sensitive to the needs of poorer Canadians who probably can't afford brand name prescription drugs without some kind of drug coverage. Or their workplace benefits plan will only cover a less expensive generic drug when there is an alternative. A person I know here in Northern Ontario did have a drug plan with the unionized steel mill he worked at for many years. After his kidney operation and a few years of recovery, he used up his $80k dollar drug limit. He still needs those expensive anti-rejection drugs to stay healthy. In Canada we have weak unions in addition to weak politicos, and a few weak doctors who are easily enticed by the pill pushers as well. For some of our doctors, pills are the answer for every health issue. For others who specialize in surgery, the answer to everyone's problem is the knife.

ennir

Tigana wrote:

 

Pharma has physician profiling all figured out.

http://www.slate.com/id/2119712/

With higher stakes in the nation's capital, they probably know how to manipulate our elected representatives too. How many politicians are scientifically literate?

Sure they do, not only do they manipulate our elected representatives but bureaucrats too and the majority of the public as is evidenced on this board by the number of people who insist that they have our best interests at heart. LOL

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

ennir wrote:

...as is evidenced on this board by the number of people who insist that they ["Pharma"] have our best interests at heart. LOL

That number = 0

 

ennir

M. Spector wrote:

ennir wrote:

...as is evidenced on this board by the number of people who insist that they ["Pharma"] have our best interests at heart. LOL

That number = 0

 

It seem to me that your posts support a very conventional view of medicine, perhaps you do not feel that you believe they have your best interests at heart but I take you as a supporter of the system from your posts.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

That's a personal attack, by the way.

It also demonstrates an astonishing lack of perception on your part.

(That's another personal attack).

My Cat Knows Better My Cat Knows Better's picture

I spent a number of years trying to deal with osteoarthritis in both knees. I tried a lot of the herbal remedies, and at least as many prescription drugs. None worked. There is no magic bullet in a lot of cases. The only benefit seems to accrue to the manufacturers and retail pharmaceutical industries. Knee replacement surgery and exercise finally worked.

Unionist

[url=A">http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/features/A-bitter-pill-for-alternative.56... bitter pill for alternative medicine[/url]

Quote:

Edzard Ernst is quietly spoken. However, whenever the UK's only professor of complementary medicine opens his mouth, he knows it will set off an almighty storm.

It's not hard to see why. Alternative therapy has become big business. In the UK alone more than 150,000 practitioners treat one in five of us and collectively we spend £450m a year on everything from acupuncture to homeopathy and Prof Ernst has not exactly been the supporting voice many hoped he would be.

During the past 16 years he has published more than 1,000 research papers and the overwhelming majority have concluded the evidence from clinical trials shows many alternative therapies have little or no beneficial effect.

ennir

M. Spector wrote:

That's a personal attack, by the way.

It also demonstrates an astonishing lack of perception on your part.

(That's another personal attack).

Sorry I can't stay to argue the point, I don't see how saying you seem to support conventional medicine constitutes an attack but then I never feel anything but attacked by you, you make this board an extremely unpleasant place for me, your hostility is palpable.   Does that constitute an attack also?  LOL

I find this board to be extremely supportive of the conventional view of medicine, the opposition to alternatives is scathing as can be seen in this thread.

Back to the beginning of the thread, so government doesn't find any evidence that homeopathy helps people, no fucking surprise there people.  Pharmaceutical companies have extremely powerful lobbies and it is not in their interest to see any positive studies in any case.

As I said I am not so interested in homeopathy and have no interest in defending it but I am interested in seeing people take responsiblity for their own health in whatever fashion they choose to.

 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

My Cat Knows Better wrote:

Knee replacement surgery and exercise finally worked.

I trust the surgery was performed by a physician, and not a homeopath?

Tigana Tigana's picture

Some homeopaths are also allopathic physicians. 

http://www.darshem.org/sys-tmpl/homeopathy/

Looks like some people on this board would like to outlaw both objective appraisal and independent thought on any form of medicine but the ones they approve.

I guess they'll just keep taking their medicine... and I can guess what will happen next.  Wink

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/406716_1

Sineed

With regard to the homeopathy link: the royals probably didn't suffer from the plague as often as common folk because their palaces didn't have the same degree of rodent infestation - plague (Yersinia pestis) carried by fleas on rats.

Homeopathy has no side effects because it doesn't do anything at all.

With regard to the article referenced on medscape: it's meaningless to talk about the harms without discussing the benefits.

Unionist

Tigana wrote:

Looks like some people on this board would like to outlaw both objective appraisal and independent thought on any form of medicine but the ones they approve.

I guess they'll just keep taking their medicine... and I can guess what will happen next.  Wink

I find it's better to ridicule public figures than other people on this board.

The only people I know who would like to "outlaw both objective appraisal and independent thought on any form of medicine but the ones they approve" are the money-stuffed quacks of the British Chiropractic Society. They're trembling in their boots that the golden goose may stop laying, so they've resorted to [url=slapp">http://www.rabble.ca/babble/humanities-science/chiropractic-association-... suits[/url].

The reason quacks sue people of science is because their quackery depends on unsubstantiated word-of-mouth, which is particularly vulnerable to rival word-of-mouth (widely read newspaper articles, media reports, etc.).

That's exactly the same reason serious scientific practitioners don't sue the quacks. Their science stands or falls on evidence and peer review - not on gossip.

Tigana Tigana's picture

Unionist wrote,

I find it's better to ridicule public figures than other people on this board.

 

Ah, the old ad-hominem attack distraction. I don't know the homme, only know what he has shared with the board. 

Humor can awaken people to dangers, and that can help when unquestioning adherence to pharma-promoted propaganda can be murder - or suicide.  

Canadians must take responsibility for their own health and take action to promote public health and the safe and effective use of medications everywhere through research, education and consultation.

SLAPP suits? Will have to look into that, thank you.  I am more concerned about the registration and validity of "scientific" studies and the morbidity and mortality that can result than in hunting alleged fraud of quacks. 

http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/short/302/9/977?home

Comment to Sineed: Royals, if anyone, should be first in line to get the plague - just think of all the meet and greet and hand shaking they have to do. 

Tigana Tigana's picture

 

Trevormkidd wrote,

"No comparing adverse events from medicine that works with "medicine" at doesn't work is not directly relevant.

Like I said, automobiles using homeopathic gasoline have never killed pedestrians.  Its a miracle!  Cars using real gasoline can actually move and with that comes benefits and negatives.  Cars using homeopathic gasoline have neither benefits or negatives.

It is the same as air travel.  There are some risks involved, but people accept those risks because they feel that the benefits outweigh the risks.  Sitting at home pretending that you are flying in your mind carries lower risks. "

"Homeopathic gasoline" - is that WATER?  Wink

http://www.mobilemag.com/2006/05/31/prototype-car-runs-100-miles-on-four...

 

I love science. 

 

jas

M. Spector wrote:

That's a personal attack, by the way.

No, it isn't. Why are you deliberately muddying the issue of personal attacks? Do you really not understand what one is?

 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

jas wrote:

Do you really not understand what one is?

If I say you have an astonishing lack of perception, I am making an attack on you personally, as opposed to responding to - or even "attacking" - your opinions and statements.

Contrary to popular belief, a personal attack does not have to hurt someone's feelings in order to be a personal attack.

Similarly, not all comments that are considered "hostile" by the recipient are personal attacks. For example, if I say "WTF are you talking about?" that's certainly capable of being interpreted as "hostile", but since it is directed at the content of someone's speech, rather than the character, intelligence, or motives of the person herself, it is not a "personal" attack.

So you see, I really do understand what a personal attack is. Do you?

Tigana Tigana's picture

I recently overheard a neurologist bragging about his $1M home. He is paid by a university and pharma. I'd like to say that I think his work is supported by questionable sources of funding, ask how he can justify showy personal expenditures in a province where people often don't have enough to eat, and state that I find it hard to believe that he has patients' best interests at heart. Would that be considered a personal attack? Inquiring minds want to know. 

jas

M. Spector wrote:

So you see, I really do understand what a personal attack is. Do you?

Yes, I do. And contrary to what you claimed, ennir's post was not.

ennir wrote:

It seem to me that your posts support a very conventional view of medicine, perhaps you do not feel that you believe they have your best interests at heart but I take you as a supporter of the system from your posts.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

The point of ennir's post was to characterize me as a "supporter of the system."

It's as much a personal attack as if I had said that judging from her posts she was an opponent of science and rationality.

 

jas

She says, "from your posts", "it seems to me". Perhaps she is incorrect, but that does not mean she has made a personal attack. If she had said, in some other context, "from your posts you seem to be supporting the pro-war position", whether or not that is correct, it is simply her perception. She is not saying that you ARE something. Therefore, by even a very loose definition of what a personal attack is, this is not a personal attack.

The only reason I care to argue this is because it seems a few people here don't understand, or are deliberately confusing (in order to sabotage a current discussion, perhaps) what a personal attack is. That is why we need an objective definition.

Just because you're offended by someone's observation or interpretation of your posts (not of you, personally) doesn't mean they have personally attacked you. It may mean they are simply incorrect. I don't blame ennir for coming to the conclusion she did because it seems to me as well that, historically, you seem to have supported, with very little reservation, western scientistic medicine, in almost all cases, over all other systems. Are we incorrect in that conclusion? 

jas

M. Spector wrote:

It's as much a personal attack as if I had said that judging from her posts she was an opponent of science and rationality.

And, by the way, the above isn't a personal attack either.

 

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