“The approval policies for vaccines are incredibly conservative. The FDA is being skeptical on your behalf. And as for the money, vaccines are not very profitable, vastly less so that lifestyle drugs or (best of all) "nutraceuticals", for which no evidence or science is required at all!”
“Really? And did this research involve reading scientific papers or anti-vaccine conspiracist websites? I ask because the anti-vaccine conspiracist websites have form when it comes to publishing abject nonsense.”
“I'm impressed that you've managed to avoid hearing the storms of protest over McCarthy's advocacy of dangerous nonsense. I wish I had never heard of her either, but it's kind of hard to avoid when she's being cited as an authority for conspiracist diatribes against one of the most powerful lifesaving tools in modern medicine.”
urbancitygirl on Mar 16, 2014 at 20:27:42
“I always took her to be a mother of an autistic child with an opinion. I never saw her as an authority on any of it. It's as if we can't express ideas or have civil dialogue.”
Dec 1, 2013 at 07:36:32
HuffPost Live 321
“Why on earth is HuffPo promoting the ethical vacuum that is the Burzynski Clinic? 20 years ago it might have been (barely) defensible, but the conduct of his sham trials and the recent FDA inspection reports make it absolutely clear that he is the worst kind of quack.”
“To those of us living outside of the US of A, the resistance to expanded healthcare coverage is mystifying. I for one would not want to live in a society which combines the highest extremes of affluence, with people dying for want of medical care. That fails my definition of a nice place to be. And guess what? Every one of the many friends I have spoken to in America about this, thinks exactly the same. Fox News may not want you to know this, but Obamacare is just, compassionate and generally popular with all but the lunatic fringe of the far right.”
ecclesias on Jul 5, 2012 at 08:11:15
“I live in the U.S. and I agree. Had friends who were skeptical. All I did was send them the website and other information and now they are happy with it. Our media is a fount of misinformation and, in the case of FOX, just plain lies. Those who bother to find out what it actually says do like it. Honestly, the only people I know who don't like it are very misinformed as to what it actually is and some are just stubbornly hanging onto the misinformation they need to hate it. It's strange, actually.”
Oct 11, 2013 at 18:36:15
“No, it won't, ion channels are membrane proteins, not a conduit for empirically unverifiable "qi". You are engaging in speculative post-hoc rationalisation.
There is no such thing as "Western medicine", there's medicine and then there are the various alternatives to medicine. TCM does not classify disease as medicine does because its beliefs predate scientific understanding of human physiology and disease and - unlike medicine - have not changed as new knowledge came along.
It would be perverse and silly to assume that the ancients had deep insights into health - how come they only "knew" about medicine and not the electromagnetic field, or the Carnot cycle? How come they never worked out that the cause of malaria was a parasite carried by a mosquito, or that the cause of typhoid was infected water? How come their life expectancy was shorter than ours? The scientific method led to a rapid acceleration of the pace of discoveries. Old ideas are rejected by science when they are not found to be true. That even applies to some of the ideas of Einstein. Science is pretty relaxed abut discarding wrong ideas, whoever came up with them.
So, would you like to answer the questions now? For example, how do you reconcile the claim that medicine does not cure disease, with the fact that medicine can cure syphilis, something no pre-scientific belief system ever managed to do?”
Joy Tianyun Wu on Oct 12, 2013 at 01:54:24
“People are claiming they knew so much about science, however, only surface. NO points to argue more. Many modern medicine drugs are developed from the active reagents of the herbs used from tradition medicines. Chinese ancient time people understood life much deeper than we are now. They have been practicing quantum physics in all aspects of lives. Modern life science don't even know how to apply energy aspect of lives. Electric magnetic field is the Qi. Yin Yang theory can explain all the aspects of life.
TCM oldest medicine book already states human is able to live up to 120 years old. Wars were one of the factors that destroyed the life of human, and it still does. What science does is to discover the truth of the universe or life. The true knowledge, its self is science. TCM its self is science. That is why it has been passing on for more than 2500 years, and still practice in the same way. It is necessary to bridge the concept of Qi and electric-magnetic field, but modern scientists should really need deeply understand the concepts of Chinese ancient life science. Study ancient Chinese books, they are real human treasures.”
Oct 10, 2013 at 07:12:33
“Can Dr. Yang please explain why there is no objective evidence of the existence of the meridians he supposedly manipulates, and why careful tests show that the location of the needles makes no difference to the (implicitly placebo) effect of needling?
There is abundant evidence of how oxygen is absorbed into and transported around the body, the biochemical pathways are well understood and the relevant anatomical structures can be identified and their function established by reference to their structure and chemistry. There are no biological structures corresponding to the "meridians", and no scientific instrument is capable of detecting or measuring the life force that supposedly flows along these meridians.
You assert that medicine does not cure disease. How do you reconcile this with the provable fact that syphilis, which was incurable before antibiotics, can be completely and objectively cured in most patients by administration of antibiotics, but no recorded case exists where it has been objectively cured by acupuncture?
Why has acupuncture never succeeded in relieving the symptoms of coeliac, whereas medical science has successfully identified the cause as an autoimmune reaction to gluten and developed an understanding that a gluten free diet provides complete relief? No alternative medicine ever identified the cause, and alternative treatments using supposedly "holistic" methods uniformly failed to deliver the result arrived at by medical science.
Why has acupuncture never succeeded in curing Type I diabetes? Why is there no evidence that acupuncture delivers benefits equivalent to insulin in Type I diabetes?”
Dr Brandon Horn on Oct 15, 2013 at 01:11:38
I would encourage a more thorough review of the literature. I posted a link to a Grand Rounds presentation I gave if you are interested. Where you place the needles does change things. You have to understand that there are generalized effects of piercing body tissue and there are specific effects of where the needles are placed. Depending on how the study is set up, your results may be skewed.
Whether or not meridians can be visualized is a matter of contention. There are several researchers in Japan that claim they have shown approximate trajectories using radioactive isotope tagging. To me it doesn't matter if the meridians exist as they have been presented in Chinese medical theory. What does matter is whether the points that are suggested have physiological functions. This is something that has been demonstrated in fMRI and other studies. Whether meridians actually exist really doesn't matter if it is a tool that helps to produce measurable results.
Re Syphilis: You are also confusing what acupuncture is used for. In Chinese medicine, herbs are used to treat infectious diseases primarily. Acupuncture is only an adjunctive therapy. And in fact, many antibiotics were isolated from herbs (and continue to be). This is all abundant in the medical literature.”
Joy Tianyun Wu on Oct 10, 2013 at 15:43:20
“If modern biological science can verify how ion channels work in the organ level or holistic level, that will help everyone understand about the meridians. So far, scientists can only understand the ion channels under the petri-dish level, how can they explain what does meridian do. Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on the much advanced science that modern science don't even have the concepts yet.
Acupuncture is one of the remedies of TCM, practice Acupuncture should always combine with other remedies to achieve better result.
TCM dose not classify diseases as Western Medicine dose, which means we don't use western disease's name. How one could know these diseases were never be cured by TCM? Beside, TCM doctors promote diseases prevention. Great doctors or Medicine would not allow diseases progress further. People nowadays have deeper level of conditions because they are not treat properly or soon enough. If they are treated and managed properly at earlier stage, these types diseases may not even exists. How to evaluate the quality of health care, the quality of medicine? The theories of the medicine and patients can identify the quality of a medicine.”
Oct 7, 2013 at 18:24:57
“That's apparently the Chikramane team's third kick at the can of nanoparticle nonsense; the first was silicates (instantly identified as contamination from the glass vessels), the second was heavy metals (equally quickly busted as contamination form the conc nitric). I don't know what particular error has led them to this particular flight of wishful thinking, I must look up the paper. The last two were pretty funny so thanks, I anticipate a chuckle.
It's a pity that nobody in the world of homeopathy seems able to apply even a basic level of critical thinking, or they'd maybe stop this endless round of loudly trumpeted claims of a (finally!) potentially plausible mechanism, only to be shot down one after the other. Do you know some people are still asserting water memory as an explanation? I notice you don't any more, since it's now widely known that it lasts nanoseconds at most.”
HolisticDoc on Oct 8, 2013 at 17:16:44
“Wrong on all counts.
You should get your fact straight before you go making accusations.
Chikramane et al (it's actually Jayesh Bellare who is the team leader - but then, you'd actually have to be familiar with the research to know this - which you obviously aren't) found not nitrate or nitric acid, as you suggest, but rather they found 6 different metals - each corresponding to the source material of each of 6 separate homeopathic remedies (copper, silver, zinc, gold, etc).
What a coincidence this would be - finding 'contaminant' nano-particles of of gold in a high potency homeopathic remedy made from gold. Finding 'contaminant' nano-particles of zinc in a remedy made from zinc, etc
The fact is, this team proved that, at least in some cases, high potency homeopathic remedies retain nano-particles of source materials at dilutions at least as high as 200C (10 to the negative 400th)
Jayesh Bellare is the Chair of Materials Science at the Indian Institute for Technology (Mumbai) - the top science school in India and one of the most prestigious positions in this field, internationally. He is a member of the Indian National Academy of Sciences. I think the man knows how to do basic lab work.
Nice try, though "SceptiGuy" - go fool someone else with your pseudoscience.”
ChristyRed on Oct 7, 2013 at 20:58:14
“Yes, some people are still asserting memory of water may be an explanation of how homeopathy works. There is a growing body of evidence ("Water Structure and Behavior", Choplin, M., www.lsbu.ac.uk/water/) from chemistry:
"Unexpected solute aggregation in water on dilution", Chem Commun, 2001
"Thermodynamics of extremely diluted aqueous solutions", Ann NY Academy of Science, 1999
"Thermoluminescence of ultra-high dilutions of lithium chloride and sodium chloride", Physica (A), 2003
and from materials science:
"The structure of liquid water: novel insights into materials research", Mat Res Innov, 2005
all suggesting that the properties of water may well depend on its dilution history.
Luc Montagnier demonstrated memory effects in aqueous DNA solutions that depend on interactions with the background electromagnetic field ("Electromagnetic signals are produced by aqueous nanostructures derived from bacterial DNA sequences", Interdiscip. Sci Comput Life Scie, 2009.
Consequently, memory of water is not only plausible but it also contravenes no known scientific laws and principles.
In the 1950's scientists began tracing radioisotopes in ultra-molecular preparations which showed the presence of the original substances in potencies up to 1,000cK. Scientists have detected at least two very important phenomena in UMP's -- asymptotic amounts of nanoparticles and nanobubbles and durable physico-chemical changes of their vehicles.
Irregardless of how homeopathy works, it does work.”
“Robbing? Well, US prices are inflated, but that's largely down to the stranglehold a few companies have on retail pharmacy (they also charge eye-watering prices for homeopathic preparations, which require no evidence, are virtually free to manufacture, and have a massive markup).
It's more that medicine increasingly extends life by treating symptoms that would otherwise limit life or mobility. A hundred years ago, there were no seniors on insulin because Type I diabetics all died in childhood. There were no seniors on immunosuppressants following transplants. No seniors were on statins.
The pharmaceutical industry has its flaws, and it undoubtedly makes more profit than it should for its market size, but to characterise all this as theft is sufficiently obviously wrong that it undermines your point.”
Feb 26, 2013 at 06:27:40
“Which is irrelevant. The UK has an official state religion, this does not confer any provable legitimacy on the existence of any particular god.
The scientific consensus, based on weighted assessment of all the available evidence, is that homeopathy is a placebo only. This is also consistent with all other science, whereas any other conclusion would require us to completely rewrite all of nuclear physics, biochemistry and human physiology.”
Jonnybones on Feb 26, 2013 at 15:03:01
“Your last point is wrong. I love the pompous 'the scientific consensus' there is no such thing. Science is organic and ever developing. The scientific consensus you are referring to is political.
There are many branches of science, biology, physics, ecology etc than have the capability of providing an explanation for a real phenomenon in homeopathy.
The 'consensus' to which you refer is aggressively attacking homeopathy through an innate conservatism combined with political and economic interests far removed from true 'scientific' endeavour.
As for the last point 'if homeopathy is accepted we would have to rewrite science' is again nonsense. Science expands to take on new ideas. This is how science has developed historically, but not before the status quo has been defended vigorously.”
Feb 26, 2013 at 06:25:25
“Malik law: The probability of the Malik-bot spamming one of her many hundreds of endlessly repeated and endlessly refuted assertions is in direct proportion to the degree of agreement between an article and the scientific consensus that homeopathy is bunk.
As I pointed out last time, the Arndt-Schulz law is not a law of nature, it is a proposed explanation for certain facts which has now been replaced in scientific usage by the concept of hormesis - which is inconsistent with homeopathy.
While activity does vary with concentration, there is no credible evidence of any action at typical homeopathic concentrations, as there is no credible evidence that any of the substance remains. Nor is there any credible general evidence linking the supposed remedy substances with the causes of any individual disease or symptom.”
Jan 17, 2013 at 19:37:15
“There is no just cause for withholding multiple vaccines from a child. It is common sense, which it seems many medical practitioners lack, to minimise for anyone, especially an infant or small child, the benefits of protection, especially given the lack toxins (though there may be Toxins[TM], the Altie version, which means "anything we don't like the look of"). And no, vaccines aren't toxins. To be given one vaccine at a time with at least 2 weeks recovery before another is evidentially unjustified. What is the sense in it? I see it time and time again when a child falls behind with vaccines and they are given multiple ones to catch up. EXCELLENT!!! It is so important to expedite that process and protect them from the consequences of irresponsible mendacious antivax propaganda. Parents need to be smart about this and be the ones to advocate for their children's well being. They are the decision makers. Not the doctors.”
Jan 13, 2013 at 15:38:21
“They did. The Swiss federal health department concluded that homeopathy is not effective or cost-effective. The SCAM industry then forced a referendum and there is a temporary reimbursement in place, but the evidence review concluded against homeopathy.
This letter from Felix Gurtner of the Federal Office of Public Health FOPH http://www.smw.ch/content/smw-2012-13723/ explicitly states this, but it has been known ever since Dana first started talking about it. I don't know why he is still claiming otherwise, since the claim is patently false. As the letter acknowledges, Bornhoft et. al. is a case study in research malpractice and the Swiss Government absolutely does not endorse it.
Dana claims to be an "evidence based homeopath". Well, there's your evidence: this is not a report by the Swiss Government, it is not endorsed by them, it is not accepted by them, their conclusion is that homeopathy has no value. All of which was a matter of public record years ago, so it really is a mystery that people have asserted otherwise.”
Dec 20, 2012 at 15:11:07
“The fundamental truth that must never be forgotten is that there is no such thing as alternative medicine. There are things that can be shown to work, which we call medicine, and the rest, things which can't be shown to work, or which have been shown not to work. Medicine is not a homogeneous pharma-industrial complex, it is a heterogeneous field with enormous numbers of actors with diverse motives. Anything that can be shown to work will be used, although this sometimes requires a new generation of doctors to pick it up. This which definitely don't work - homeopathy, iridology, applied kinesiology, live blood analysis, reiki and all the other forms of discredited nonsense, should be ruthlessly discarded: at best they cost money for no effect, at worst they suck people into false belief systems to the very real detriment of their health.”
Dec 20, 2012 at 15:10:55
“Surely priority number 1 (and 2, and 3 and all the rest) is to stop "integrating" nonsense with real science. You don't improve an apple pie by "integrating" cow pie. "Integrative" medicine as it stands is merely a stalking horse for nonsense: by claiming all non-pharmaceutical interventions as its own, CAM sought to obscure the fact that the alternative medicine part is really alternatives TO medicine, i.e. the collection of things that are promoted by practitioners despite being either unproven or disproven. Now with "integrative" medicine, practitioners try to "integrate" the unproven and disproven with real medicine, to nobody's benefit but their own.
The cost-effectiveness argument is the biggest joke of the lot. Homeopaths, for example, claim cost-effectiveness by comparing cost, and waving away the apart about effectiveness. Homeopathy has no effect (at least none beyond placebo) so the cost is entirely immaterial. Medicine considers the use of placebos outside of a trial as being ethically questionable, but they are available if a doctor wants them, so there is no need to "integrate" the nonsensical claims of homeopaths in order to yield 100% of the benefit at pretty much zero marginal cost. You also save the additional costs of treating people whose disease has advanced while they let some deluded fool play doctor with them, an important point given the documented fact that cancer sufferers, for example, present with more advanced disease when they use alternatives to medicine in preference to seeing a real doctor.”
hp blogger John Weeks on Dec 21, 2012 at 08:11:20
“Hello SceptiGuy. Your comments would be far more interesting if you actually challenged what was found in Patricia Herman's paper and the MEPS paper and the Swiss report. The need for "integrative medicine" continues in part because mainstream medicine does not, often, integrate based on evidence but rather on what fits the prevailing medical economic model, regardless of evidence. Not sure what apple pie tastes like to you, but a medical "pie" that is 30%-50% waste and much of it harmful (that's the IOM taking, not "alternative medicine") looks and smells a lot like cow pie to me.”
Oct 7, 2011 at 07:56:50
“There are only three things stopping homeopathy from being accepted by science and the skeptic community.
First, there's no reason to suppose it should work - the "law of similars" is a generalisation from a single data point, there's no evidence it's generalisable and in fact it is generally wrong. The few exceptions to the rule of dose-response are intensively studied and still show a rapid drop-off well before homeopathic levels of dilution (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hormesis).
Second, there is no credible mechanism by which it can work, and if it did then everything we know about the structure of matter would be spectacularly wrong; the science that makes your mobile phone work, your computer, your CD player - all this is fundamentally incompatible with hoemopathic dilutions. Homeopaths claim the work of Benveniste and Montaigner as proof of a mechanism but Benveniste's work was admitted by his assistant to be faked and Montaigner has specifically said that his research cannot be extended to cover the substances used in homeopathy - and it has a life of nanoseconds only anyway.
Third, there is no robust evidence that it does work. Every single study result supportive of homeopathy appears to be equally consistent with the null hypothesis of placebo effect plus observer bias. The better conducted a study is, the more likely it is to conclude that the results are placebo.
So there you have it: just fix those three things and we're done, plus you get Randi's million.”
Sep 15, 2011 at 08:31:30
“I don't think the world of medicine perceives homeopathy as a threat - if it did then the big pharmaceutical companies would not be marketing homeopathic products. The issue is that the world of science and especially science-based medicine finds that the results on which the extravagant claims of homeopaths are based, are all consistent with the null hypothesis of placebo plus observer bias.”
Sep 15, 2011 at 08:29:25
“6C is less than the Avogadro limit. Your experiment does not address the substantive problems: lack of any credible basis for "similia", lack of any credible basis for "infinitesimals" and lack of any credible evidence of objectively and reproducibly measurable effect.”
Sep 14, 2011 at 17:38:00
“It takes more than one sentence to dismiss the entire body of anecdote that supports homeopathy. Three, in fact: There's no reason to suppose it should work. There's no credible means by which it can work. There's no robust evidence it does work.
Check the Wikipedia article for a detailed and neutral description of homeopathy.”
Kaviraj on Sep 14, 2011 at 20:22:29
“Wikipedia? Bwahahaha. Those "articles" are written by the same unqualified naysayers like you, who come here to pontificate on a subject they know nothing about. Pathetic!
You are of the same calibre as the people who told the Wright Brothers that a machine heavier than air would never fly. Yet it flies.
You say homoeopathy does not work, yet there are a billion customers in the world who are living proof that it does.”
Sep 14, 2011 at 17:36:17
“Ah yes, "medical fundamentalist" - a pejorative term coined by those whose preferred modalities lack any credible scientific basis, to describe those who prefer evidence-based medicine to claims based on objectively unverifiable hypotheses.
Yup, I'm proud to count myself in that number too. Along with anyone who's ever taken aspirin for a headache.”
Sep 14, 2011 at 16:50:25
“What they don't tell you is that laboratory water as used in high sensitivity electrochemistry is equivalent in homeopathic terminology to 4C random impurities. This water cannot be kept in glass as the glass leaches impurities into the water; any glassware used in experiments of this kind has to be washed in hydrofluoric acid, which dissolves the top layer of the glass itself.
Water of this purity is multiply filtered and distilled. It is expensive to produce. Homeopaths do not get even close to this level of purity.”
investment8813 on Sep 14, 2011 at 17:40:34
“Everywhere products glass used in the experiment hydrofluoric ACID, which dissolve the top layer of the glass itself to be washed.
Purity of water filtered and distilled times. It is costly to produce. Homeopathy experts are not too close to the stage this accuracy. "”