Thursday, June 04, 2009

Bogus Osteopaths

The ever delightful Purps is encouraging folks to sign a petition supporting Dr Simon Singh in his efforts to avoid being sued for libel by the blinkered, fraudulent idiots of the British Chiropractic Association. I signed it. I hope lots of other people do, too.

The Telegraph have an article about it, as do most of the other papers, I'm sure.

I was especially taken with this Telegraph paragraph:
The BCA represents a quasi-scientific group of medical practitioners who believe that manipulating the spine can treat or cure a range of other conditions not normally associated with a bad back.
Such deliciously understated mockery. I love it.

There have been a great number of celebrity endorsements, including a very eloquent summary from Sir Steven Fry (okay, I know he's not been knighted yet, but it's surely only a matter of time). Funny man and husband to a doctor, Dara O'Briain also chipped in with this memorable comment:
The preliminary ruling is a worrying development for comedians as well, a number of whom have been ridiculing the world of dubious medicinal and scientific practices for some time. For example, I may now have to reconsider my routine about homeopathy being a 300 year old con trick.
I do hope the courts see sense on this matter, and I'm very grateful to see that James Randi has voiced his committment to back Dr. Singh in any way that he can.

We should enjoy it while we can. We can't know how many years the Queen has left in her, but when that gloved hand has waved its last wave, we're going to be lumbered with a King as in thrall to the looney new age horse-shit spreaders as it is possible to be. Okay, his mum her has own homeopath, but Charlie boy, with his Duchy product range is much more open and outspoken about it. Despite the recent setback of being accused of defrauding the public with his "detox tincture".

Incidentally, I recently read a few very interesting books on CAM (Complimentary and Alternative Medicine), as a result of which I will never have chiropractic again. Some of the manipulations they do can cause stroke! I don't want to be having one of those any time soon. Besides, the whole theory is based on "subluxations" which are made up nonsense. You might as well base a theory on naughty pixies wiggling your vertebrae during the night. I'll stick to regular massage from now on.

Amongst the other claims in one of the books I read, which was backed up with a lot of evidence, were:
  • Chinese herbal medicine was more or less made up in the aftermath of the Cultural Revolution
  • Commonly used homeopathic remedies are so dilute that you would only get one molecule of active ingredient in a sphere of water with a radius greater than the distance from the earth to the sun
  • The so-called Detox Foot Bath, or Ionic Detoxification relies on a standard electrochemical reaction
And what on earth are the so-called toxins that build up and need to be flushed from our bodies? Our organs do a very good job of that already, thank you very much. If they didn't, we'd all be dead.


Anonymous said...

All so true. And vaguely related, you don't need to drink the oft-cited eight glasses of water per day either. Another unresearched unscientific canard.

Tickersoid said...

I've always been sceptical of alternative medicine. Although I suspect Acupuncture may be of some benefit. An aquaintance recently tried to ease my back pain with it and failed. She also failed to hypnotise me.
Kenny on the other hand, has convinced me he can stab a pen through my £20 note and withdraw it, right in front of my eyes with out any permanent damage to the note.
If you can be so convincing with an illusion, how come others have such difficulty convincing me of that which they believe to be real.

Qenny said...

Yup - 8 glasses of water is the kind of thing much beloved of the so-called "Hydration Council".

And Tickers, I very much like the way you're thinking. Not least because it's flattering :)

Kenny Campbell said...

When I originally wrote this, I hadn't yet experienced the delight that is "Storm" by Tim Minchin. To paraphrase:

Alternative medicine, by definition, has either not been proved to work, or has been proved not to work. Do you know what they call alternative medicine that has been proved to work? Medicine.

I would also add a note of scoffery for those who trot out the hoary old cliché "these things work but are suppressed by 'Big Pharma' because you can't make money out of a plant". "Big AltMed" is worth billions every year, and they spend a lot of time and effort putting people off actual medicine so that they can sell more of their snake oil. But by all means, don't be taken in by "Big Pharma". Go with "Big AltMed" instead. And maybe earn yourself a Darwin Award along the way.