Reality Boats

20 08 2010

I sort of wish Get up would spend their funds putting non-partisan and worthy public education advertisements like this one on TV rather than random Abbott quotes.

(That said, this one was pretty good too)


The curious case of the unqualified qualication

4 08 2009

According to the Chiropractor’s Association of Australia has asked people to stop practicing chiropract. Well, particular people. Doctors in particular. Because they are not qualified enough.

Oh, wait we are only at the entrance to this rabbit hold.

According to the CAA it takes a minimum of 5-years to become a chiropractor, while a doctor can just upskill with a correspondence course from the RACPG.

The article also suggests that tha CAA candidly admits that there are risks associated with spinal manipulation. I wonder if the wider chiropractic community will accept these risks are potential (and any risk will not be wholly mitigated by the presence of trained ‘professional’).

Now while the CAA almost seems laughable here, they are actually attempting to enforce exactly what the evidence-based medicine community has asked of them: clean up their own house. They are accepting responsiblity for the safe practice of chiropract by all practicioiners, by attempting to get some training standards in place.

Rather then laughing this off perhaps the EBM community should be asking – why are all these actual GPs and MDs engaging in an unproven non-reality based mode of practice with established associated risks, and why is the RACPG encouraging it?

I can think of a couple of weak reasons, can you?

Homeopathic A&E

20 07 2009

Hattip Max from the Brisbane Atheists Meetup.

From the Mitchell & Webb Look, BBC.

Oils ain’t oils: the essentials

2 06 2009

ResearchBlogging.orgYou may have noticed my general feeling about so-called “alternative medicine” is that there is no “alternative” to medicine. One of my friends puts it another way:

Q. What do you call an alternative medicine that works?

A. Medicine.

There is no grand pharmaceutical conspiracy against natural remedies. Once a treatment demonstrates value to medical science, it will become accepted as medicine. That’s why, while you last month science bloggers descended upon a laughably flawed acupuncture study flouted as proof of effect and tore it to pieces, I doubt there’ll be a similar response at this a new international study currently in print that shows essential oils may have a role to play in combating infections caused by multi-resistant microbes.

It’s actually quite a well done study, with interesting results that provide an opportunity for the complementary medicine industry to clean up it’s act and get on board with whole evidence-based medicine paradigm, rather than remaining in the realm of snake oil and shamanism.

Read the rest of this entry »

Under the house is not a cancer clinic

26 04 2009

The definition of quackery – offering cure for cancers bought of the internet being supplied by untrained staff in someone’s garage.

Choice quotes:

“We haven’t announced it yet, we haven’t told the world, it’s very secret.” (Naturopaths don’t care about curing cancer, they care about making money).

“It’s not a garage, Chris, it’s under the house*, okay” (In response to why she was not operating but in her “backyard, garage”).

You’ll all be quite thankful that successful investigation and prosecution has seen Ms Newlands fined $12,000 and banned from “making any claims she is able to treat, cure, or benefit any person suffering from cancer”.

I must say, it is good to see some action, but it is awfully lenient (especially seeing as she was charging $2,000 per client). And I don’t think I’m alone in being a little perturbed that making such claims (when not a registered medical practitioner) is not already an offense of some kind.

(Press release and more info at Sceptic’s book of Pooh-Pooh)

*For those of you not familiar with Queensland architecture. Most older “Queenslander” style homes are built up on stilts to promote airflow. “Under the house” is usually an semi-enclosed space not fully protected from the elements that can be used as a storage area, carport, laundry and/or tool shed.

Lying to children is good for them

7 03 2009

Somone often tells me:

Adults you know and trust will not only lie to you, but they’ll do it because its fun.

There’s stories about the bogeyman, Santa Claus giving presents, zombie Jesus, the Tooth Faerie trading scheme, and of course, what exactly really did happen to Rover when Mummy forgot to check her rearview mirrors.

Is fun the only reason why we befuddle the youth in this way?

Well, now scientific studies have given us another reason: It works!

When 186 four-year olds were given carrots called “X-ray Vision Carrots” ate nearly twice as much as they did on the lunch days when they were simply labeled as “carrots.”

Animal experiments on carrot-marketing were stopped by the ethics commitee
Early carrot-marketing studies conducted with standard animal models were halted by Cornell’s ethics commitee

…Oh… dear…

I think that might fall under “false and misleading claims” line found in in most advertising codes.

I don’t think this quite matches up with calls to improve schoolyard scientific literacy by not only promoting the concept of “X-ray vision” (that’s not how x-rays work!) but also that eating lots carrots is good for your eyes.

You can’t try to promote good nutrition and make children more aware of how the food choices they make affect them by just simply to get them to follow the whizz-bang empty marketing jargon that got us here in the first place.

Lying to children is NOT good for them.

Image: Carrots! by marmotto (CCbyA-NC)

There is no “alternative” to medicine

22 12 2008

Unless you consider horrible agonising pain and death an “alternative”.

That’s why in my country if you don’t take your kids to the doctor when they are sick we will send you to prison.

It’s called “criminal neglect”.

Too bad it had to reach the stage where an eleven year old girl had to reach a stage where a paediatrician at Brisbane Mater called her “the sickest person I’ve ever seen in 35 years of practicing medicine”.

The girl’s condition had worsened “to the stage she was hallucinating, could not stand or walk unassisted, suffered from diarrhoea and had a temperature of up to 42C.”

She had a heart infection. She had to spend a year in hospital. She suffered significant brain damage and is not expected to be able to walk unaided ever again.

This isn’t about Big Pharma trying to steal your money. This isn’t about trying to outlaw your vitamins. This isn’t about pumping your body full of chemicals. It’s about avoiding easily preventable tragedies like this happening.

Alternative medicine kills.