Writing on “Migraines, methylation & B vitamins”, Holford argues that supplementation with B vitamins can be useful. He offers two suitably referency links to pubmed-indexed papers. However, both links fail substantiate Holford’s claims and are the source of a little embarrassment for one who so frequently upbraids others for their knowledge or being up to date with recent research. Continue reading
Tag Archives: CAM
The Journal of the American Medical Association has recently published a good quality, placebo-controlled, randomised, double-blind trial looking at whether vitamin C and E supplementation can reduce cardiovascular events. It ran for 10 years, and included “14 641 US male physicians enrolled, who were initially aged 50 years or older, including 754 men (5.1%) with prevalent cardiovascular disease at randomization.” The trial concluded that “[t]hese data provide no support for the use of these supplements for the prevention of cardiovascular disease in middle-aged and older men.”
I was surprised to see that the alternative nutrition industry has not yet responded to this – I was waiting with bated breath for Sir Cliff Richard’s definitive critique of the science – so I thought that I would respond on their behalf: frankly, the alternative nutrition industry’s response to such trials has become tediously predictable so there seems to be little point in waiting.
I will list a number of likely industry responses below; I will then enjoy the small satisfaction of ticking them off when they appear in industry press releases: Continue reading
Bad Science‘s Dr Ben Goldacre has collaborated with Radio 4 to produce a 2-part exploration of the potent, intriguing power of placebo. Both Part 1 and Part 2 discussed the history, science and theatre of this fascinating phenomenon and it has been notable that the examples spanned from Perkins Tractors, Mesmer and animal magnetism, to work that was published only this year. Placebo has such an extensive and rich history and encompasses so many issues aside from medicine such as social influence and trust that it isn’t practical to present more than a tasting menu of it in 2 half-hour programes. Nonetheless, at the risk of sounding like Brillat-Savarin, it was strangely unsatisfying that neither of the programmes addressed the issue that some researchers argue that the placebo is both over-rated and ineffective and that there is no role for it in medicine, outside the context of a clinical trial. Continue reading
The Elmhurst Epidemic: classic example of the cultural and scientific clash between CAM and medicine
Dr Scott Gottleib has reviewed Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial for Wall Street Journal. He also recounts an intriguing anecdote from his own experience. Continue reading
Hot on the heels of the recent action involving Professor Frank Frizelle and the New Zealand Medical Association‘s journal v. the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association we now learn about the British Chiropractic Association issuing a legal writ against Simon Singh: Doctors Take Simon Singh to Court.
Simon Singh expected to arouse controversy when he claimed that chiropracters knowingly promoted bogus treatments for illnesses including asthma and ear infections. The bestselling author and Bafta-winning broadcaster did not, however, expect to have a High Court writ issued against him.
Dr Dave Gorski has sparked off an interesting discussion on the topic: Death by “alternative” medicine: Who’s to blame?. A patient with early stage breast cancer is advised on a course of medical intervention but elects to pursue alternative healing modalities. After 3 years she then re-presents to the original diagnostician. Unfortunately, the tumour had progressed “from a highly curable clinical Stage I to a difficult to cure clinical stage IIIC”. Despite this, the patient was not willing to accept any medical intervention.
The patient is a fully competent, autonomous adult who is exercising her right to choose her treatments. Does the responsibility for this perceived failure lie with anyone but the patient in question? Could her doctors have done more to dissuade her while maintaining a therapeutic alliance with her? Continue reading
In yesterday’s Telegraph, Damian Thompson asks whether we’re seeing “The last rites for alternative medicine?” For Thomson
CAM’s [Complementary and Alternative Medicine’s] real problem…is shortage of proof. The information technology brilliantly exploited by unorthodox therapies is now being harnessed to spread the inconvenient truth that most of them don’t work. Sceptics in the blogosphere have assembled a global daisy-chain of links exposing the falsehoods of alternative practitioners.
Interestingly, Thompson believes that media nutritionists such as Prof Patrick Holford of Teesside University (and – in particular – Holford’s unjustified support for Wakefield’s bad science) have played an important role in CAM’s problems Continue reading