Jul 292009
 

spine reprinted from Sense About Science

free debate

Simon Singh is a science writer in London and the co-author, with Edzard Ernst, of Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial. This is an edited version of an article published in The Guardian for which Singh is being personally sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association.

Beware the spinal trap

Some practitioners claim it is a cure-all, but the research suggests chiropractic therapy has mixed results – and can even be lethal, says Simon Singh.

You might be surprised to know that the founder of chiropractic therapy, Daniel David Palmer, wrote that ‘99% of all diseases are caused by displaced vertebrae’. In the 1860s, Palmer began to develop his theory that the spine was involved in almost every illness because the spinal cord connects the brain to the rest of the body. Therefore any misalignment could cause a problem in distant parts of the body.

In fact, Palmer’s first chiropractic intervention supposedly cured a man who had been profoundly deaf for 17 years. His second treatment was equally strange, because he claimed that he treated a patient with heart trouble by correcting a displaced vertebra.

You might think that modern chiropractors restrict themselves to treating back problems, but in fact some still possess quite wacky ideas. The fundamentalists argue that they can cure anything, including helping treat children with colic, sleeping and feeding problems, frequent ear infections, asthma and prolonged crying – even though there is not a jot of evidence.

I can confidently label these assertions as utter nonsense because I have co-authored a book about alternative medicine with the world’s first professor of complementary medicine, Edzard Ernst. He learned chiropractic techniques himself and used them as a doctor. This is when he began to see the need for some critical evaluation. Among other projects, he examined the evidence from 70 trials exploring the benefits of chiropractic therapy in conditions unrelated to the back. He found no evidence to suggest that chiropractors could treat any such conditions.

But what about chiropractic in the context of treating back problems? Manipulating the spine can cure some problems, but results are mixed. To be fair, conventional approaches, such as physiotherapy, also struggle to treat back problems with any consistency. Nevertheless, conventional therapy is still preferable because of the serious dangers associated with chiropractic.

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In the sack!

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Jul 242009
 

Fantastic! This has already been posted at a number of other blogs recently, and I think that this was originally on the BBC. Dara O’Briain explains, with humour, what he really thinks of pseudo-scientists, preachers of woo woo and other modern witch-doctors. Great line "homeopath horseshit peddler". And "psychics, astrologers and priests" all get the same treatment; I would add acupuncturists in that list too.

 

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2009

Jul 152009
 

Another cracker of a post from The Quackometer http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2009/07/hair-transmission-homeopathy.html.

Using hair to transmit homeopathic "treatments".

I can’t take it anymore more! The stupid, it burns!!! thestupiditburns

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2009

Image credit: Ahren Paulson, aka Plognark