Chiropractic Association sues science writer for... writing science

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Unionist
Chiropractic Association sues science writer for... writing science

This ongoing story dates back to August 2008, when noted U.K. science writer and broadcaster, Simon Singh, ran an opinion piece in The Guardian about "Chiropractic Awareness Week". The British Chiropractic Association responded with a libel suit.

At least one blogster has reproduced the [url=offending">http://gimpyblog.wordpress.com/2008/08/17/the-libellous-simon-singh-arti... article[/url], and interspersed some comments and references.

I think it is most telling that quacks would resort to the courts to suppress scientific refutation of their lucrative snake-oil sales.

And in the latest instalment (May 8, 2009), Singh has received a [url=setback">http://jackofkent.blogspot.com/2009/05/bca-v-singh-astonishingly-illiber... in an English High Court ruling[/url].

Tommy_Paine

Two groups that are most likely to sue science writers and skeptics: Chiropractors and Scientologists.

Unionist

Yeah, except that chirocrackpot is still covered by medicare in some provinces. I'm happy to see that Alberta just deleted it, although to be true to their faith, they also deleted sex reassignment surgery...

jas

Yes, and of course, if one were to write an article drawing attention to iatrogenic harm or deaths, or talk about outlandish claims made in the days of early medicine, with an attempt to link it to current practices, doctors would not sue for libel? They would not in any way as a group try to counter those claims? Interesting.

 

G. Muffin

jas wrote:
Yes, and of course, if one were to write an article drawing attention to iatrogenic harm or deaths, or talk about outlandish claims made in the days of early medicine, with an attempt to link it to current practices, doctors would not sue for libel? They would not in any way as a group try to counter those claims? Interesting.

I can certainly see them trying to counter the claims but suing for libel? 

Unionist

The BCA sues for two reasons: 1) They can't counter the claims - that would require something known as "evidence". 2) Lawsuits have a chilling effect on individuals of modest means. Here's what Jack of Kent said about the prospects of proceeding to trial:

Quote:
As I set out yesterday, this is to invite almost certain defeat. Indeed, it may be that Singh's lawyers will be prevented from putting the case which Eady now requires them to do. And the loss will cost Singh over £100,000; perhaps several times more.

The BCA's "victory" would of course appear to be a sham. And the English legal system would be (further) discredited.

From a rational perspective, this must be the least attractive approach.

[url=Source.[/url]">http://jackofkent.blogspot.com/2009/05/what-should-simon-singh-do-next.h...

 

Sineed

jas wrote:

Yes, and of course, if one were to write an article drawing attention to iatrogenic harm or deaths, or talk about outlandish claims made in the days of early medicine, with an attempt to link it to current practices, doctors would not sue for libel? They would not in any way as a group try to counter those claims? Interesting.

 

??  There's all sorts of criticism of mainstream health care, books, articles; lots of it coming from within.

If this goes forward it could put libel chill on the practise of evidence-based medicine, empowering all manner of quacks to shut down critics.

Michelle

Of course doctors wouldn't sue for libel.  Alternative quacktitioners like homeopaths are constantly criticizing real medicine, and I don't remember hearing about them being sued for libel over it.

oldgoat

Oh great!  Hey Michelle, I'm taking the week off.

Michelle

Haha!

jas

G. Pie wrote:

I can certainly see them trying to counter the claims but suing for libel?

Okay, I see the difference.

Oh well, I guess if you've got the bucks, you've got the means. Why do chiropractors have bucks? Because they have clients. Why do they have clients? I don't know, why don't you ask "Quack"watch? Quack, quack.

By the way, this is now the second allergy season in a row that I haven't had to use any drugs. What am I using? A Neti pot and a homeopathic nasal gel with all kinds of kooky, silly herbs in it. Why do herbs work? I don't know, why don't you ask the pharmaceutical companies who base their synthetic drugs on naturally occurring compounds.

Have fun with your allergies, if you have them.

G. Muffin

Sineed wrote:
If this goes forward it could put libel chill on the practise of evidence-based medicine, empowering all manner of quacks to shut down critics.

British libel law seems to be quite different than ours. 

Noise

Jas

Quote:
talk about outlandish claims made in the days of early medicine, with an attempt to link it to current practices, doctors would not sue for libel?

 

The sceintific world operates differently...these outlandish claims can be put through testing and see if they stand up. Libel in the science world doesn't really work since the attack is on theory, which can be challenged and tested.

 

Chiro lacks the evidence required to follow such a method (if it does exist, they hide it well). It's like me claiming your God likes or dislikes something...you can't prove me wrong and the most you can do is take efforts to shut me up.

 

 

jas

Yes, Noise, I know that's what science purports to do. I think folks here put on science and medical science an almost romantic aura of self-honesty, rigour, even a kind of nobility that doesn't usually exist in the real world of science. Science is as beholden to cultural assumption, political considerations, and vested interests as you claim chiropractic and naturopathy to be, if not more so.

 

Noise

Quote:
 an almost romantic aura of self-honesty, rigour, even a kind of nobility that doesn't usually exist in the real world of science.

 
Ya, it's heavily romantisized and almost never exists to that manner. Nonetheless, it process that doesn't lend itself to Libel suits as readily.

Quote:
Science is as beholden to cultural assumption, political considerations
Oh my, Who would have thought a tool such as science would be bound to our culture and interpretations!!! I never would have guessed! While we're on the topic of pointing out the inane...are you aware you're not a house cat? Mind blowing isn't it?
 
 
Quote:
as you claim chiropractic and naturopathy

actually, I never claimed naturopathy fits into that category... you claimed I did.

Tommy_Paine

Science is as beholden to cultural assumption, political considerations

Perhaps we can test that whenever we return to the moon.  We can drop an African Canadian Conservative and a Liberal Anglo Canadian from the same height at the same time, and see which one touches down first.

Unionist

jas wrote:
Why do chiropractors have bucks? Because they have clients. Why do they have clients?

Same reason the Vatican does - because there's one born every minute.

N.R.KISSED

Yawn once again the promotion of the ideology of scientism and the prevailing cultural believe of the unassailable expertise of medicine. Fraud is a widespread problem in the medical literature and there is enough deception,corruption and incompetence in medical practice. A review of the literature on clinical judgement actually demonstrates that basic use of hypothesis testing is rarely used in diagnostics, which tends to be a function of the medical professions training to maintain a position of the expert rather than an open method of inquiry. The overall health of any nation would be radically improved if only they addressed the social determinants of health, however apart from a few exceptional doctors I don't see the medical establishment at the forefront of the struggle for poverty reduction or social justice. Yet somehow it always comes back to the evils of chiropractors.

Unionist

N.R.KISSED, whatever you think of different medical theories, surely you can join us in condemning the money-grubbing dictatorial pricks of the British Chiropractic Association who are lashing out in order to protect their golden goose?

 

Tommy_Paine

Yet somehow it always comes back to the evils of chiropractors.

I see your point, and I would agree that beyond the level of obvious quackery there is certainly some skulldugery and outright fraud within any scientific field.

But, because I can't find data on, for example, the efficacy of electroshock therapy, and feel that this is a very questionable practice, doesn't suddently enhance the efficacy of Chiropractic.  Nor does the fact that  it took paleontology about 40 years to discover Piltdown Man was a hoax somehow make me think all advertised herbal remedies are okay to use.

 

N.R.KISSED

I'm not sure why the BCA is suing but the conclusion of the article might be one reason.

"Bearing all of this in mind, I will leave you with one message for Chiropractic Awareness Week – if spinal manipulation were a drug with such serious adverse effects and so little demonstrable benefit, then it would almost certainly have been taken off the market."

As a statement it's clearly untrue see Prozac, zyprexa, effexor, haldol etc. Sorry but I remain unconvinced that the medical establishments attack on chiropractic is due to an interest in public health as much it is a turf war. If some chiropractors are making claims that they are treating non skeletal muscular conditions that is problematic however I doubt this is a majority position. The issue of neck manipulation should be studied further as should the medical professions propensity for unnecssary and dangerous back surgeries.

Unionist

Ok, I guess I was wrong. I thought we could agree that Simon Singh ought to be free to say what he did without fear of impoverishment.

just one of the...

Is this case being treated as a case about Mr Singh's freedom of speech or is it about whether chiropractic is helpful/safe?

Sineed

Seems to be both.  

Here's a thought: should freedom of speech be predicated upon scientific validity?  

G. Muffin

Sineed wrote:
Here's a thought: should freedom of speech be predicated upon scientific validity? 

Insofar as scientific validity is (or ought to be) an excellent defence to a libel charge.

Tommy_Paine

 

I shouldn't think so.

It should be used, however, to determine if someone has shouted "FIRE!" in a crowded theater.

Offering up cures with no basis of support to vulnerable people in physical or emotional pain in order to take advantage of them for monetary gain has little to do with freedom of speech, whether we are talking neck adjustments in chiropractic, electroshock for substance abusers, or ritalin for todlers, or using comfrey internally, but has more to do with criminal activity.

 

triciamarie

Here we go again.

I find it amazing that for a group that prides itself on progressive values, so many of us cling to the authority of institutionalized medicine.

in my experience, Doctors of Chiropractic can often provide symptom relief, just as do physiotherapists and osteopaths. Like physiotherapists and osteopaths, some chiropractors are much better than others. Like physiotherapists and osteopaths, at times they can effect cures for conditions for which traditional medicine has no answer. Some patients respond better to one modality or another, for reasons that are unknown. Rural residents have no access to physiotherapists. There are about three osteopaths in the whole country.

At an OBA conference I attended last year, a leading senior orthopaedic surgeon laid out the full extent of objective, reproducible scientific medical knowledge about effective treatment for a number of the most common orthopaedic conditions. The answer: zero.

At a conference I attended a few months ago on soft tissue injuries, the pain doctor who spoke -- an MD and pain specialist -- answered a question about how much longer it would take for neurology to acknowledge the inadequacy of most current forms of treatment. Her response: this field will change one funeral at a time. Patients come to see this doctor from around the world. I know some of her patients personally, and she has helped them recover a quality of life that they thought would be lost to them forever. This doctor works closely with chiropractors.

You can say what you want about the libel suit by the chiropractic association, but the larger issue to me is that so many of us discount the personal testimony of those living with incorrigible chronic pain who are helped by chiropractic treatment. Fortunately I myself don't have this problem, but if I did, after close to two decades spent dealing with clients with these issues, I would not hesitate to consult a chiropractor. If the problem pertained to my neck I would think carefully about it beforehand, but I know people who are utterly incapacitated with neck pain, and some of them assume 10,000 to one odds of serious negative sequelae in a heartbeat.

Trevormkidd

Triciamarie,
 
Below is the offending paragraph that got Singh sued. It has zero to do with back pain.

Quote:
You might think that modern chiropractors restrict themselves to treating back problems, but in fact they still possess some quite wacky ideas. The fundamentalists argue that they can cure anything. And even the more moderate chiropractors have ideas above their station. The British Chiropractic Association claims that their members can help treat children with colic, sleeping and feeding problems, frequent ear infections, asthma and prolonged crying, even though there is not a jot of evidence. This organisation is the respectable face of the chiropractic profession and yet it happily promotes bogus treatments.

The BCA made those claims. Singh called them on it. The BCA could have provided evidence or retracted their claims like any respectable organization would have. Instead they took advantage of the most ridiculous libel laws in the world and sued. To make matters worse Singh doesn't have to show that the BCA was dishonest, but that they were "consciously dishonest."
Make no mistake, if such a travesty of justice and common sense is allowed to continue the frauds and hucksters, quacks as well as pharmaceutical companies will be granted the biggest christmas present they could ever imagine in being able to terrorize and muzzle anyone who attempts to expose their faulty claims.

Unionist

triciamarie wrote:

You can say what you want about the libel suit by the chiropractic association, but the larger issue to me is ...

There is no "larger issue" in this thread. These wealthy and powerful characters, trying to protect their market niche, are using slap suits and brute force to suppress discussion. Of course, if they could furnish the slightest evidence that their quackery was for real, they wouldn't bother going to court to try to bankrupt their critics. You won't see "institutionalized medicine" using these methods, because they don't need to.

 

G. Muffin

Unionist wrote:
Of course, if they could furnish the slightest evidence that their quackery was for real, they wouldn't bother going to court to try to bankrupt their critics. You won't see "institutionalized medicine" using these methods, because they don't need to.

That's exactly what Big Pharma did when the Zyprexa scandal broke.  And psychiatry strikes me as institutionalized medicine.

Unionist

Sorry G. Pie, I'm certainly not talking about pharmaceutical companies. Let me make my point more clearly. You will not see medical associations going to court to silence their innumerable critics. I can say "Western medicine is a pile of phoney crap and those phoney doctors know it" all I want without fear of being bankrupted. Not so for Simon Singh, apparently.

You see, if the British Chiropractic Association had a smidgen of scientific evidence that their methods worked, they would simply publish them - and Simon Singh would slink away, discredited and disbelieved. Lacking evidence, they hire lawyers.

 

G. Muffin

You're quite right.  I missed an important distinction between pharmaceutical companies and medical assocations (hard to find, though, when it comes to psychiatry).

I know nothing about chiropractic except that BC's auto insurer reimburses it as a valid expense.  

My question would be why evidence like triciamarie posted should be disregarded.  "Evidence-based" and "peer review" certainly sound like great concepts but the reality is very different.  What do you make of the people who use chiropractors and claim to find relief?  Is it some kind of mass delusion?  Power of suggestion? 

I certainly think this action against Simon Singh is misguided and shameful. 

Unionist

G. Pie wrote:
What do you make of the people who use chiropractors and claim to find relief?

I put it on exactly the same plane as those who claim they find relief through prayer. Good for them! Just don't peddle it as science, don't provide public funds, and don't suppress those who call it nonsense.

Quote:
Is it some kind of mass delusion?  Power of suggestion?

I couldn't tell you. I haven't seen the studies. Maybe some people just get out more and get some fresh air when they go see the chiropractor. As long as they don't get damaged by the manipulations, it could turn out to be a net benefit.

Quote:
I certainly think this action against Simon Singh is misguided and shameful. 

It's no different from the Catholic Church suppressing the teachings of Galileo and others - only the methodology is different. "Misguided" is about the last adjective that would spring to my mind in describing such tactics.

G. Muffin

Okay, it's shameful and bullying.

Trevormkidd

G. Pie wrote:
My question would be why evidence like triciamarie posted should be disregarded.  "Evidence-based" and "peer review" certainly sound like great concepts but the reality is very different.  What do you make of the people who use chiropractors and claim to find relief?  Is it some kind of mass delusion?  Power of suggestion? 

Anecdotal evidence should not be disregarded, but it rightly is considered among the lowest forms of evidence.  Why?  Because it has been consistently found to be unreliable.  There is a reason the Supreme court has ruled expert testimony can only be accepted as reliable IF the expert has derived their conclusions by the scientific method (peer reviewed, falsifiable, testable etc).  Does that mean that chiropractic is crap?  No.  But, they have failed to provide scientific evidence supporting their claims.  Now sure, as triciamarie has said, there is lots of conventional medical practices that lack scientific evidence (the whole reason why there is an evidence-based medicine "movement") and that is indisputable.  I would rank medical evidence in the following order (I only put a couple seconds thought into this so it is subject to change):

1) Scientific evidence.

2) Evidence is not yet established or studied, anecdotal evidence is present, the claim follows the known laws of science, and makes sense on a biochemical, molecular, cellular etc level.

3) Anecdotal evidence is present, but those making the claim cannot establish a reasonable scientific or medical mechanism for the treatment to have the suggested action on the body.

4) Anecdotal evidence is present, the claims violate the known laws of science and medically make no sense, practicioners either refuse to test the treatment scientifically or their results cannot be duplicated with proper scientific controls. 

Most chiropractic claims, in my opinion, fall in categories 3 and 4.  But still they have anecdotal evidence - shouldn't that be good enough?  Nope.  I can't speak for chiropractic specifically, but in the recent thread on Oprah the claim was made that Suzanne Somers used alternative therapies to recover from cancer.  That kind of claim drives me crazy because I know two people who claim almost the exact same thing.  At a function about 2 years ago I overheard a friend of mine tell another woman, who had just been diagnosed with breast cancer, that she had cured herself of breast cancer using alternative medicine.  The problem is she had actually had surgery which removed the cancer, then had radiation to decrease the chances of recurrence, then had about half the suggested chemo to further decrease the chances of recurrence.  As the chemo made her feel aweful, she discontinued it - which is understandable - and started taking some alternative medicines.  Furthermore, at that time it had only been about 2 years so it was much to early to know if the radiation, chemo or alternative medicine actually worked completely or if the cancer would recur.  The other case for very similar, but involved pancreatic cancer.  However, in both cases the alternative medicine was replacing adjuvant chemotherapy.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adjuvant_chemotherapy

In both cases they think, absolutely 100% that the alternative treatments worked - performed miracles.  But their anecdotal evidence is completely worthless.  They may have worked, they may have done nothing, or they may have been harmful.  The ONLY way to know would be to do a study (preferrably double blind) where at that point in the treatment cycle some patients are given alternative therapies and some patients are given a placebo.  Keep track of the patients over a short and long period of time and look at the number of cancer recurrences in both groups (along with the number of several other medical condition occurances to see if the alternative medicine has unknown and/or rare significant side effects) - and that is only for preventing cancer recurrence, to know if those alternative medicines actually "cure" cancer would require a different study (which probably would not be ethical to perform unless it was tested on animals first).

So are these two people deluded?  I don't think so.  Are they liars?  No, they still know, of course, that they had surgery, radiation and chemo, they just believe that it was the alternative medicine that worked.  How can that be?  Not sure.  I think that there are hundreds of possible explainations, and at the same time I know that my own memories regarding my own past are completely fallible and several cherished memories are most likely very different from what actually occured.  The brain can't be relied on - that has been shown to me more times than I can count, and that is why I prefer to rely on the scientific method.  On this topic, I think the book "Mistakes Were Made - But Not By Me: Why we justify foolish beliefs, bad decisions, and hurtful acts" is the necessary reading.         

G. Muffin

Trevormkidd wrote:
At a function about 2 years ago I overheard a friend of mine tell another woman, who had just been diagnosed with breast cancer, that she had cured herself of breast cancer using alternative medicine.  The problem is she had actually had surgery which removed the cancer, then had radiation to decrease the chances of recurrence, then had about half the suggested chemo to further decrease the chances of recurrence.  As the chemo made her feel aweful, she discontinued it - which is understandable - and started taking some alternative medicines.  Furthermore, at that time it had only been about 2 years so it was much to early to know if the radiation, chemo or alternative medicine actually worked completely or if the cancer would recur.   

So that's not very valuable anecdotal evidence.

But I don't see how this applies to someone who claims chiropractic treatment healed her back. 

Slumberjack

I went to a chiropractor once to try and deal with these massive migraines I was having, more out of desperation at the suggestion of an acquaintance.  It took over a week for the suction cup marks on my back to fade away.  I didn't see any point in a follow up session, regardless of how many times they called to say that the treatments had just begun, and that they have other ideas as well.

Trevormkidd

 

G. Pie wrote:
So that's not very valuable anecdotal evidence.

But I don't see how this applies to someone who claims chiropractic treatment healed her back. 

It speaks to how personal stories can not necessarily be trusted at face value.  At the same time I couldn't care less what adults do to treat their back pain, as my main concern is the BCA making claims about correcting childhood illnesses for which they have provided no evidence (and the larger concern about their methods of attempting to squash criticism).  At the same time I have serious reservations about potential serious harm from neck manipulation, and I have utter disdain for those chiropractors who deny germ theory and oppose vaccinations (about 33% according to a recent survey of american chiros) based on a ridiculous 19th century view of illness which a subset of chiropractors still hold.

http://www.cps.ca/english/statements/CP/cp02-01.htm

Chiropractic care for back pain and injuries may work very well.  It may work for some types of back pain, but not for others.  But, for arguments sake lets assume that it doesn't work at all.  Could it be possible that people would still believe in it?  Yes.  First of all back pain and injuries are in most cases situations where the condition will improve on its own, second pain is known to be hugely subjective, thirdly the placebo effect is a well known phenomenon, fourth people generally want something to work, especially if they have invested time or money in it.  All four are plausible explanations.  I went to a physiotherapist for a back injury in the past.  Absolutely loved it.  I went 2 - 3 times a week, but would have gone everyday - even twice a day - if I could have.  It was relaxing, soothing, allowed me to feel that I was doing something and assess my progress.  I will go to my grave adamant that it helped tremendously, and perhaps it did help.  However, at the same time I know that the first time I injured my back, the injury was more severe and I recovered only with drugs and bed rest.  The second time - 4 years later almost to the day - was exactly the same injury, but less severe and it was that time which I used physio.  My recovery was much slower and I had two set-backs.  However, both situations are pure anecdotal evidence and there are many variables which cannot be controlled for when comparing the two incidents.  Evidence provided by the scientific method is the standard for reliability.  I see no reason to settle for less when it comes to pharmaceuticals, conventional medicine, chiropractic or other alternative medicine.

We should never underestimate the powers of people to deceive themselves, or how easy it is for us to be deceived by others. That is how magic works and probably the reason why so many famous magicians are ardent skeptics (James Randi, Penn & Teller, Criss Angel, Darren Brown, and of course, Houdini to name only a few).  Scientific studies have shown over and over again that homeopathy doesn't work, yet it is most likely more popular than chiropractic care (especially in the UK, Germany and India).  Millions believe in faith healing - including having chronic pain healed (at least for a short period of time).  Peter Popoff was exposed as a complete fraud in 1986, yet is back making a ton of money from vulnerable people.  Kevin Trudeau is most likely the greatest fraud-artist in the world over the last 20 years.  Despite his long history, the alternative medicine field as a whole seems to have embraced him when he jumped into their territory.  The natural health store near where I used to live long had (and maybe still does) his books displayed prominently to catch their customers eye.  I would love to say that they at least moved his books to a less prominent location after I explained and then provided documents showing not only his long history of frauds, but also the many claims of frauds and lies concerning those very books, but that was not the case.  One has to wonder why the alternative medicine industry appeared to have no interest in protecting their own customers from someone like Kevin Trudeau.  My assessment is that it is because it an industry built on belief, not evidence.  When something like the recent swine flu episode appears the response of alternative medicine is pretty predictable.  The Huffington post was the best example this time.  Several opinion pieces which on the one hand bashed conventional medicine and the greedy pharmaceutical companies, while at the same time pushing many alternative medicine "treatments" all of which had no evidence.  Those who followed the advice of the alt-meders of the Huffpo would have been no more protected, but out several hundred dollars.  The recommendation of those greedy conventional medicine bastards?  Wash your hands.   

Trevormkidd

Oddly enough I don't think anyone on this thread has mentioned that a couple days ago Singh decided to appeal the Judge's ridiculous definition of the meaning of "bogus." This case has apparently already cost him 200,000 pounds.

 

From Bad Astronomy: Singh the blues

Bad Astronomy also has a blog post - Homeopathy kills - about a maslaughter conviction 2 days ago in Australia for mother and father (a homeopath) whose infant daughter died of complications (sepsis) of eczema after her parents refused to allow her conventional medicine in favour of homeopathy.

Unionist

[url=http://www.senseaboutscience.org.uk/index.php/site/project/333/][=b... Up Now To Keep Libel Laws Out Of Science![/color][/url]

Quote:

The use of the English libel laws to silence critical discussion of medical practice and scientific evidence discourages debate, denies the public access to the full picture and encourages use of the courts to silence critics. The British Chiropractic Association has sued Simon Singh for libel. The scientific community would have preferred that it had defended its position about chiropractic through an open discussion in the medical literature or mainstream media.

On 4th June 2009 Simon Singh announced that he was applying to appeal the judge's recent pre-trial ruling in this case, in conjunction with the launch of this support campaign to defend the right of the public to read the views of scientists and writers.

Join the campaign! In a statement published on 4th June 2009, over 100 people from the worlds of science, journalism, publishing, comedy, literature and law have joined together to express support for Simon and call for an urgent review of English law of libel. Supporters include Stephen Fry, Lord Rees of Ludlow, Ricky Gervais, Martin Amis, James Randi, Professor Richard Dawkins, Penn & Teller and Professor Sir David King, former Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government.

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

jas wrote:

G. Pie wrote:

I can certainly see them trying to counter the claims but suing for libel?

Okay, I see the difference.

Oh well, I guess if you've got the bucks, you've got the means. Why do chiropractors have bucks? Because they have clients. Why do they have clients? I don't know, why don't you ask "Quack"watch? Quack, quack.

By the way, this is now the second allergy season in a row that I haven't had to use any drugs. What am I using? A Neti pot and a homeopathic nasal gel with all kinds of kooky, silly herbs in it. Why do herbs work? I don't know, why don't you ask the pharmaceutical companies who base their synthetic drugs on naturally occurring compounds.

Have fun with your allergies, if you have them.

 Likely it's not the herbs or the homeopathic gel that's doing most of the work.  The simple practice of flushing out the nasal cavity with saline solution can relieve symptoms by getting rid of or diminishing the load of the allergens that the body reacts too and helping to thin mucus and free up the cilia do the job it's supposed to more effectively. It's not the extras, salted water is the main component that is doing the job.   This process is backed up by research and is one the reasons the many conventional doctors will recommend it for people suffering chronic sinuitis or after sinus surgery as an aid in recovery.  When I was having problems with my sinuses and an ear that was chronically blocked my doctor tried several different treatments which did alleviate it but it never quite went away entirely. I expect after feeling comfortable that a bacteria infection wasn't present recommened a neti pot and saline solution before sending me to a specialist.  Well it worked fine and within a few weeks the rest of the symptions were alleviated and for the first time in about 6 months my ear popped. I stopped using it regularly after that as it appears that my own body have gotten back on track.  There really is nothing 'woo' about it as it's easily backed up by science.

As for drug companies not getting with the nasal flushing program because it's 'woo' and government lobbies yadda yadda, well some of them are now because it does work as a treatment option and as it's exposure to the public has increased through marketing it's part of the pie they can easily take.   If you go to the drug store now you'll find up to a dozen different brands and styles of flushing systems and though on the outset if you read the brand names they don't appear to big pharma but if you trace some of the brands back through corporate holdings you'll find that some of them are connected to big pharma.  This one is pretty easy for them as making a saline type solution isn't very expensive, doesn't need reams of reasearch and so it's a bit more money in the pocket without a whole lot of outlay.

The squeeze on the consumer isn't necessarily one of conventional vs alternative in this case but with cost of these types of products. It's  now one of marketing and making a basic saline solution brand 'special' or one of 'convenience' with the method that the solution gets up your nose. 

Reminds me of the soda industry in many ways which takes basic solution of lots of  sugar water, flavors it in particular ways for comsumption and branding in but really it's just sugar or the sweetener that's being sold.

jas

Thanks, Eliza Q. Yes, use of the neti pot is an Ayurvedic tradition - Ayurveda has existed for much longer than the western medical model. This approach, again, unlike the western medical model, also addresses the cause rather than the symptom in allergies.

However, jala neti was not entirely enough to keep my nose from itching and eyes watering. I found the nasal gel (although you actually have to start it before allergy season) provided the itchiness relief that I might have got from something like a pharmaceutical, but without the heart palpitations.

Another method of clearing the sinuses I find to be true is several yoga poses that stretch the hips: notably, The Warrior and the Triangle. Works like a charm, especially if you still have salt water up your nose :)

triciamarie

Hey jas, that's nothing but an anecdote. In fact you are still having the same seasonal allergy symptoms -- you just don't know it. I guess.

Unionist, according to the link, the preliminary ruling found that the term bogus used by this journalist is on its face defamatory. The journalist is appealing the judge's construction of the word bogus. Now there's some frivolous-sounding litigation... anyway, what will you say if that appeal is, or was, denied?

Unionist

The persecution of Simon Singh for telling the truth is backfiring - wouldn't it be nice if it ended by shutting down the entire huckster chiropractic industry?

[url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/mar/01/simon-singh-libel-case-chi... backlash from Simon Singh libel case puts chiropractors on ropes: One in four chiropractors in Britain are under investigation as a result of campaign by Singh supporters, reveals Martin Robbins[/url]

Sineed

Simon Singh wins libel court battle:

Quote:
A leading science writer has won a "resounding victory" in the court of appeal over a libel battle which has become a catalyst for the reform of English libel laws, which critics claim stifle scientific debate. Today's decision will strengthen the position of other science writers facing libel suits as the judges made clear that court was not the place to settle scientific controversies.

The landmark ruling, which cited Orwell and quoted passages from Milton in defence of free speech, will allow Simon Singh to rely on a "fair comment" defence of his statements about chiropractors, for which he is being sued. The court of appeal overturned an earlier ruling which would have meant that Singh would have had to prove in court that his comments about chiropractors were factually correct to avoid a libel judgment against him.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/apr/01/simon-singh-libel-victory

 

Unionist

Sineed, you just made my day! This had better not be an April Fool's prank.

There will be a bottle of something special cracked open this evening in the Unionist household.

Bravo to Simon Singh! And may this be another spike in the coffin of those who use suppression and intimidation to keep their multi-million dollar quackery intact.

 

Sineed

Chiropractic practitioners should be the ones being sued.

"Adverse effects of spinal manipulation:"

http://jrsm.rsmjournals.com/cgi/reprint/100/7/330?maxtoshow=&hits=10&RES...

Quote:
In case reports or case series, more than 200 patients were suspected to have been seriously harmed. The most common serious adverse effects were due to vertebral artery dissections. The two prospective reports suggested that relatively mild adverse effects occur in 30% to 61% of all patients. The case-control studies suggested a causal relationship between spinal manipulation and the adverse effect. The survey data indicated that even serious adverse effects are rarely reported in the medical literature.