Remember there is no such thing as alternative medicine

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BWV 1080
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Remember there is no such thing as alternative medicine

Post by BWV 1080 » Thu Apr 24, 2008 11:41 pm

There is only medicine that has been proven to be effective and medicine that has not.

http://newhumanist.org.uk/1744
Suckers: How Alternative Medicine Makes Fools Of Us All by Rose Shapiro

Natalie Haynes endorses an attack on alternative medicine

Natalie Haynes

For many years, the scientific community has watched the rise of shamanism in our culture with a weary shrug. You can’t really blame them: whenever they suggest that there’s no evidence for homeopathy, or that it might not actually be a very good idea to self-medicate with St Johns Wort when you use an oral contraceptive, they receive a barrage of abuse from people who simply don’t want to know. Scientists are often, in my experience, charming, funny and brilliant, but somehow in the media they become abrasive, shrill and out of touch. If they suggest that science has all the answers they’re viewed as egomaniacal lunatics and, when they concede its limitations, they’re told that their science is no more valid than someone else’s beliefs. It’s a lot like the evolution/creation fight – science can’t convince religion, because proof denies faith, which is, for the faithful, poor form.

This is a pity on many levels, only one of which is that Rose Shapiro’s excellent book, Suckers: How Alternative Medicine Makes Fools Of Us All, won’t be read by the people who would most benefit from it. It’s a potted history of alternative medicine, as well as a thorough rebuttal of it, and her research is both fascinating and illuminating. Did you know that traditional Chinese medicine, described so often as dating back thousands of years, was actually a rag-bag of ideas put together under Chairman Mao to try to fill in the gaps left by a shortage of “the superior new medicine”? Me neither.

And the history of alternative medicine isn’t as huggy as you might think: a homeopathic pesticide was tried in Germany in 1924 – the skin, spleen and testes of rabbits were turned to ashes and then sprayed over farmland to apparently successful effect. Or perhaps they’d just cremated all the rabbits in the area. Anyway, so successful was the leporine experiment that, according to Shapiro, it was later decided to see if the same technique would work with “the potentised ashes of the same parts of young Jews”. I wonder if water has a memory of that?

Shapiro concedes that the biggest consumers of alternative medicine are middle-aged, middle-class women. But they’re educated enough to know what they’re paying for and if they prefer to spend money on an aromatherapist than a stiff gin, it’s hard to cry too many tears for them. Since the average amount of time a patient can speak to a GP before interruption is 23 seconds, it’s easy to see why someone might find it worthwhile to bung fifty quid to a reflexologist just to chat for an hour. As Shapiro notes, we have a grave suspicion of mental illness in this country and many people would feel it a sign of weakness to visit a psychotherapist. So it’s perfectly possible that the foot massage is just a cover for the opportunity to talk about your problems in all their banal detail, without boring the pants off everyone who used to love you.

Shapiro reserves her real fury for the snake-oil merchants who knowingly prey on the weak: terminal cancer is a favourite. After all, the dying will often believe anything. She reveals case after case where someone has been talked out of chemotherapy or palliative care by a quack with a big bank balance. Their defining characteristic is to peddle a “cure” that mainstream medicine doesn’t want you to know about, in case they lose business. If you think that only the absurdly foolish could believe such a thing, she offers a chilling statistic – the American Cancer Society found that 27 per cent of respondents agreed that the medical establishment was suppressing a cure for cancer. Another 14 per cent thought that might be true. Shapiro may be fighting a losing battle, but we should be on her side

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Post by Teresa B » Fri Apr 25, 2008 6:29 am

I'm pretty well convinced that most "Alternative Medicine" is effective as placebo, but that's it. There is validity to the idea that a patient benefits from being listened to seriously. As a physician, I've found that if your patients have confidence that you understand what they are truly concerned about and will do what you think is in their best interest, you've won half the battle.

As a sufferer of frequent migraine, I have experimented with alternatives--Feverfew, CoQ10, various bio-identical hormones, acupuncture and neurofeedback. They didn't work--the acupuncture and neurofeedback reduced the headaches temporarily, but proved to be placebo, as the effect was small and didn't last. (What does work, although I have to take it too often, is sumatriptan.)

It' truly amazing sometimes how "rational" people can be sucked in by "alternative" practitioners. A pilot friend of my husband who prides himself on his rigorous checklist approach has spent thousands of $$ on some sort of "kinesiology" therapy that prescribes specific herbs depending on whether holding the bag of herbs seems to cause your arms to be off balance. (He didn't think it was funny when I asked him if he thought his airplane flew on the fairy dust principle.)

Teresa

P.S. As for the idiots who think the medical establishment is hiding the Cure, have they ever thought about the fact that we would be treating our own families or ourselves with it if IT existed?
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Post by GK » Fri Apr 25, 2008 5:32 pm

My internist who's mostly against "Alternative Medicine" suggested that I try CoQ10 for leg cramps. It didn't work. On the other hand he told me that I was wasting good money by buying Soothherbs lozenges, a combination of vitamin C, echinacea, and zinc. I still take them at the first sign of a cold and they seem to help. Placebo effect?

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Re: Remember there is no such thing as alternative medicine

Post by Corlyss_D » Fri Apr 25, 2008 5:47 pm

BWV 1080 wrote:There is only medicine that has been proven to be effective and medicine that has not.
No, there's medicine that's been proven to work and the doctors know why it does; there's medicine that been proven to work and the doctors don't know why it does; and there's nostrums that don't work.

Doctors haven't even begun to plumb the depths of the placebo effect. And remember when they didn't know that the reason pain meds work to the extent they do is because they link-up with the body's self-healing capacity in the form of endorphins? Tying onself to alopathy is fine if the conditions and the treatments are well-settled and the docs know what they are doing, but if neither of those facts pertain, it can be crap shoot every bit as risky as using alternative medicines. One has to be an intelligent consumer of medicine and medical services as much as one needs to be an intelligent consumer of any other product or service.
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Re: Remember there is no such thing as alternative medicine

Post by Teresa B » Fri Apr 25, 2008 6:22 pm

Corlyss_D wrote: Tying onself to alopathy is fine if the conditions and the treatments are well-settled and the docs know what they are doing, but if neither of those facts pertain, it can be crap shoot every bit as risky as using alternative medicines. One has to be an intelligent consumer of medicine and medical services as much as one needs to be an intelligent consumer of any other product or service.
This is true.

Teresa
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Re: Remember there is no such thing as alternative medicine

Post by Holden Fourth » Sat Apr 26, 2008 4:01 am

Teresa B wrote:
Corlyss_D wrote: Tying onself to alopathy is fine if the conditions and the treatments are well-settled and the docs know what they are doing, but if neither of those facts pertain, it can be crap shoot every bit as risky as using alternative medicines. One has to be an intelligent consumer of medicine and medical services as much as one needs to be an intelligent consumer of any other product or service.
This is true.

Teresa
Yes Corlyss, once again you've hit the nail right on the head! Most medical treatment today is allopathic. While this is a very loose term it can best be described as a way of treating the symptoms and not necessarily the ailment. This in itself is not necessarily bad but one has to realise that the majority of drugs administered today have side effects. Some of those side effects have made the news in recent years for all the wrong reasons even after a supposedly exhaustive trial by the FDA. Celebrex/Vioxx is just one case in point.

The major problem seems to be the financial power of the drug manufacturers. Doctors are regularly visited by pharmaceutical company reps exhorting them to prescribe their new drugs to their patients. The problem for the doctor is that he has no choice but to give it the green light - after all it passed FDA scrutiny and the only way he has of checking is by what happens to his patients!

The FDA is also very quick to jump on 'alternative medicines' and many natural products must not be prescribed by anybody or prosecution will result.

Unfortunately, here in Oz, we tend to believe what our American cousins tell us is gospel.

I suspect that Rose Shapiro is a member of the allopathic medical community and therefore her motives (and reasoning) could be questioned.

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Post by Teresa B » Sat Apr 26, 2008 8:50 am

I totally agreed with Corlyss's statement, but Holden, after devoting 30 years trying to do the best thing for my patients, I will say it's a little tiresome to have my profession reduced to a cliche.

First of all, there is no "allopathic" community. "Allopathic" is a term that arose as a pejorative to describe standard western medicine, to contrast it with "homeopathy", which could be equated with "alternative" medicine.

Homeopathy supposedly treats the whole individual using tiny doses of the purported offending substances, while "allopathy" treats the symptoms with big, toxic doses of evil pharmaceuticals. This is grossly oversimplified, and mostly inaccurate. Most of us physicians do not fit some silly stereotype of treating a symptom complex and not a patient. We tend to use the scientific ("evidence-based") method to try to arrive at a diagnosis and then determine what treatment modalities are effective, then treat the patient individually and accordingly.

I don't deny that there is influence from the pharmaceutical companies, or that treatments don't have toxicities. There are also "natural" treatments that have toxicities; I guarantee, if you eat some unregulated amount of foxglove, you're going to have a higher chance of a fatal cardia arrhythmia than if you take a properly prescribed dose of digitalis. And there is the question of effectiveness: If someone decides to take herbal tea instead of chemotherapy to treat his cancer, he may forgo a cure.

There are so many gray areas it would take a book. Some "alternative" treatments may be very effective, but until some actual evidence is available by the (yes) scientific method, we western-trained physicians will be reluctant to prescribe them.

Teresa
"We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad." ~ The Cheshire Cat

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BWV 1080
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Re: Remember there is no such thing as alternative medicine

Post by BWV 1080 » Sat Apr 26, 2008 10:54 am

Holden Fourth wrote:
Teresa B wrote:
Corlyss_D wrote: Tying onself to alopathy is fine if the conditions and the treatments are well-settled and the docs know what they are doing, but if neither of those facts pertain, it can be crap shoot every bit as risky as using alternative medicines. One has to be an intelligent consumer of medicine and medical services as much as one needs to be an intelligent consumer of any other product or service.
This is true.

Teresa
Yes Corlyss, once again you've hit the nail right on the head! Most medical treatment today is allopathic. While this is a very loose term it can best be described as a way of treating the symptoms and not necessarily the ailment. This in itself is not necessarily bad but one has to realise that the majority of drugs administered today have side effects. Some of those side effects have made the news in recent years for all the wrong reasons even after a supposedly exhaustive trial by the FDA. Celebrex/Vioxx is just one case in point.

The major problem seems to be the financial power of the drug manufacturers. Doctors are regularly visited by pharmaceutical company reps exhorting them to prescribe their new drugs to their patients. The problem for the doctor is that he has no choice but to give it the green light - after all it passed FDA scrutiny and the only way he has of checking is by what happens to his patients!

The FDA is also very quick to jump on 'alternative medicines' and many natural products must not be prescribed by anybody or prosecution will result.

Unfortunately, here in Oz, we tend to believe what our American cousins tell us is gospel.

I suspect that Rose Shapiro is a member of the allopathic medical community and therefore her motives (and reasoning) could be questioned.
What about the financial power of those hawking alternative medicines? It is a much better business model than conventional medicine - no expensive tests, labratories, long government approval process, no accountability for claims made about its effectiveness etc.

This allopathic stuff is nonsense. Scientific medicine first tries to treat the underlying ailment, not the symptoms (what do you think penicillin, or a heart transplant does?) alleving the symptoms is the next best thing, and for many conditions, from the common cold to multiple sclerosis that is all that can be done.

Bottom line is you must ask yourself is how the hell does anyone know whether a particular treatment is effective? People recover naturally from various ailments, others that are persistant wax and wane in their severity for inexplicable reasons. How do you tell whether a particular treatment was the cause of an improvement or just the natural recovery or variation of the condition? This is where the double blind methods used in scientific medicine come in - they are designed to eliminate these biases and establish a statistical validity to the effectiveness of a treatment. The plural of anecdote is not data. Personal experience is not a reliable basis for establishing medical practice. You can find people who swear by any treatment, no matter how ridiculous or potentially dangerous.

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Post by absinthe » Sat Apr 26, 2008 12:05 pm

It's interested me that what we call "alternative medicine" is the medicine for about two thirds of the world and western orthodox medicine is the alternative.

Medical herbalism is more about restoring homeostasis than dealing with crises, at which orthodox medicine is clearly superior. Unfortunately, the condition some people are in before arriving at the door of the medical herbalist is too far gone for treatment to be much use. However, many of the medicines used by the orthodoxy have their origins in herbs. Unfortunately, scientists often miss the point looking for the "active ingredient" and some herbs have received bad press whereas the herb in its entirety is usually innocent.

We've pushed the ecology so far out of reach of supporting humanity that much of medicine is about patching up the harm caused by the resulting, increasingly hostile environment. We repair damaged people then plug them back into the environment that damaged them.

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Post by BWV 1080 » Sat Apr 26, 2008 2:15 pm

absinthe wrote:It's interested me that what we call "alternative medicine" is the medicine for about two thirds of the world and western orthodox medicine is the alternative.
Yes and how do they live? They die like flies. Half the children die before their 5th birthday and adults seldom live to old age.
Medical herbalism is more about restoring homeostasis than dealing with crises, at which orthodox medicine is clearly superior. Unfortunately, the condition some people are in before arriving at the door of the medical herbalist is too far gone for treatment to be much use. However, many of the medicines used by the orthodoxy have their origins in herbs. Unfortunately, scientists often miss the point looking for the "active ingredient" and some herbs have received bad press whereas the herb in its entirety is usually innocent
Of course you have constructed a completely unfalsifiable proposition. You could just as easily substitute the word "spirits" for "herbs". How did the traditional wisdom about herbs begin in the first place? Either there was some sort of empirical support or somebody just made it up. If there is empirical support then science can test it. There are lots of nasty toxins in plants - many of which surpass in potentcy anything modern chemistry can concoct. How do you know a particular herb is beneficial vs. toxic other than relying on science? It seems incredibly stupid to rely on some shamanistic faith in the benevolence of some plant.
We've pushed the ecology so far out of reach of supporting humanity that much of medicine is about patching up the harm caused by the resulting, increasingly hostile environment. We repair damaged people then plug them back into the environment that damaged them
I do not know what world you live in, but on Earth the natural environment is a bloody hostile place full of bacteria, parasites, plagues and all manner of physical hazards. Life in it is brutish, nasty and short. All improvements have come from scientific medicine and only someone who is well off in a Western country could possibly think otherwise.

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Post by Evelyn Laden » Sat Apr 26, 2008 3:10 pm

Interesting as all these arguments are, and without passing judgment on any of them, I think a number of points are worth mentioning.

1. The Department of Alternative (sometimes called Complementary) Medicine exists within the NIH (National Institutes of Health). This department is charged with researching the effectiveness of alternative therapies, be they herbs, done via manual application (massage, etc), or technical in some way. A physician (whose name I don't recall at the moment) heads this department.

2.Some alternative medicines are effective, either as placebos (fine if they provide relief or other benefits, even if only temporarily). Fish oil is one, various vitamins, glucosamine, which definitely works for some people with osteoarthritis but not for others, and acupuncture, which also works for some but not for others, and others too numerous to mention, should therefore not be condemned out of hand.

3. Bioequivalence (quality and quantity of pertinent drug or substance) is not necessarily guaranteed.

4.Some toxic substances not accounted for on the label may be present in certain alternative drugs, thus special caution is indicated. At least, legitimate (FDA approved drugs) clearly state potential dangerous side effects.

5. Some physicians are actually prescribing certain alternative medicines, having belatedly come to the realization that there may be something to some of these, which they were never taught in medical school.

6.That one such drug doesn't work for one person, but another swears by it simply means both are anecdotal examples, and can't be used to either praise or condemn them out of hand.

7. Some hospitals today welcome certain alternative medicines and/or treatment methods. Considering the legal risks in medicine being what they are, that should tell us something. That a growiing number of physicians are cautiously exploring the benefits of some alternative drugs, and advising their patients to try them is further proof that some of these drugs may have some merit, and benefit patients who were not relieved by other, usually far more expensive drugs. There is no question that legitimate drugs are useful, helpful, often expensive, and worth the money to patients who benefit from their use. However, much more investigation is both warranted and necessary, to properly evaluate alternative therapies as yet only incompletely studied and understood.

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Post by Teresa B » Sat Apr 26, 2008 4:15 pm

Evelyn Laden wrote:However, much more investigation is both warranted and necessary, to properly evaluate alternative therapies as yet only incompletely studied and understood.
Evelyn, your points are all good ones, and I think this last one sums it up well. When particular "alternative" modalities are studied using the scientific method, and enough evidence accrues to show them to be beneficial, then they can be considered "mainstream."

"Complementary" brings to mind certain therapies that may be helpful along with more mainstream ones--such as acupuncture, which is currently used here at the Moffitt Cancer Center as an adjunct pain relief treatment for those who desire it.

Corlyss's comment about being an educated and wary consumer of any type of medicine is right on, no question.

Teresa
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Post by absinthe » Sat Apr 26, 2008 5:09 pm

BWV 1080 wrote:
absinthe wrote:It's interested me that what we call "alternative medicine" is the medicine for about two thirds of the world and western orthodox medicine is the alternative.
Yes and how do they live? They die like flies. Half the children die before their 5th birthday and adults seldom live to old age.
Medical herbalism is more about restoring homeostasis than dealing with crises, at which orthodox medicine is clearly superior. Unfortunately, the condition some people are in before arriving at the door of the medical herbalist is too far gone for treatment to be much use. However, many of the medicines used by the orthodoxy have their origins in herbs. Unfortunately, scientists often miss the point looking for the "active ingredient" and some herbs have received bad press whereas the herb in its entirety is usually innocent
Of course you have constructed a completely unfalsifiable proposition. You could just as easily substitute the word "spirits" for "herbs". How did the traditional wisdom about herbs begin in the first place? Either there was some sort of empirical support or somebody just made it up. If there is empirical support then science can test it. There are lots of nasty toxins in plants - many of which surpass in potentcy anything modern chemistry can concoct. How do you know a particular herb is beneficial vs. toxic other than relying on science? It seems incredibly stupid to rely on some shamanistic faith in the benevolence of some plant.
We've pushed the ecology so far out of reach of supporting humanity that much of medicine is about patching up the harm caused by the resulting, increasingly hostile environment. We repair damaged people then plug them back into the environment that damaged them
I do not know what world you live in, but on Earth the natural environment is a bloody hostile place full of bacteria, parasites, plagues and all manner of physical hazards. Life in it is brutish, nasty and short. All improvements have come from scientific medicine and only someone who is well off in a Western country could possibly think otherwise.
From the hostility of your response I take it you're suffering PMS or something.

Pillock. How d'you think humanity survived as long as it has? The local drug store?

As for bollocks like this:
How do you know a particular herb is beneficial vs. toxic other than relying on science? It seems incredibly stupid to rely on some shamanistic faith in the benevolence of some plant.
you've obviously been leading a very sheltered life and know nothing about shamanism - I don't know much more but enough to be able to tell you you're talking bolleaux. Likewise, if you can't answer the first question you rhetorically put in this quote, you really aren't in a position to comment. How do you think they did it? They didn't have scientists and didn't rely on "shamanistic faith in the benevolence of some plant".

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Post by Teresa B » Sun Apr 27, 2008 7:45 am

absinthe wrote:Pillock. How d'you think humanity survived as long as it has? The local drug store?
Hmm, considering the fact that beetles are by far more successful (350,000 species) than humans (1 surviving species), and have lived on Earth about 500 times longer, one might conclude that the little buggers must have a lot more natural cures up their sleeves than humans! (Of course they do have 3 times as many arms. :wink: )

Teresa
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Post by absinthe » Sun Apr 27, 2008 10:19 am

Teresa B wrote: ....one might conclude that the little buggers must have a lot more natural cures up their sleeves than humans!
..... :wink: )

Teresa
Or they have superior scientists.

Well, they must get their beetle juice from somewhere...

;)

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Alternative medicine.

Post by Agnes Selby » Wed Apr 30, 2008 3:16 pm

Thank you Evelyn and thank you Teresa.

Love,
Agnes.

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Re:

Post by Chosen Barley » Tue Oct 14, 2008 9:09 pm

GK wrote:My internist who's mostly against "Alternative Medicine" suggested that I try CoQ10 for leg cramps. It didn't work. On the other hand he told me that I was wasting good money by buying Soothherbs lozenges, a combination of vitamin C, echinacea, and zinc. I still take them at the first sign of a cold and they seem to help. Placebo effect?
You don't need CoQ10 for leg cramps; you need magnesium, and lots of it, and an easily assimilable kind, such as Peter Gillham's. Mg makes Calcium usable. Worked for me!
STRESSED? Spell it backwards for the cure.

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Re: Remember there is no such thing as alternative medicine

Post by Ralph » Tue Oct 14, 2008 9:25 pm

As one who is a rather major consumer of medical, and in the fairly recent past, surgical, services I try to know as much as I can about treatment options. The first step is to be fully informed, the second to be realistic. The general proposition - if something seems to be too good to be true, it probably isn't - is very relevant to medical care.

Most over-the-counter nostrums are harmless, especially if the underlying condition will be defeated by the bodies own defenses. Do zinc tablets really shorten a cold or is it a placebo effect? Advertising suggests the former but experience indicates that colds vary so much in intensity and duration that it's impossible to ascribe cause and effect to some highly touted product.

When medical conditions are serious, or even life threatening, the resort to alternative medicine is understandable. And I do believe that there are drugs that will be discovered from natural sources, one more reason to prefer tropical forests and wetlands. That aside, just comprehending different clinical approaches by respected and board licensed MDs is a heavy task in and of itself.

To the extent that non-mainstream alternatives are offered to treat major conditions, the odds are great that the therapy is of little or no value and the placebo effect, harmless when fighting a cold while trying to maintain a busy schedule, is irrelevant when there is serious illness.
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Re: Re:

Post by Corlyss_D » Tue Oct 14, 2008 9:56 pm

Teresa wrote:after devoting 30 years trying to do the best thing for my patients, I will say it's a little tiresome to have my profession reduced to a cliche.


I certainly understand your sentiment. I have faith in modern science and medicine but I also understand that it doesn't understand or explain everything. I try to be an informed consumer when it comes to health and meds.
GK wrote:My internist who's mostly against "Alternative Medicine" suggested that I try CoQ10 for leg cramps. It didn't work. On the other hand he told me that I was wasting good money by buying Soothherbs lozenges, a combination of vitamin C, echinacea, and zinc. I still take them at the first sign of a cold and they seem to help. Placebo effect?
Charlie Pellegrino tells the somewhat amusing story that he was dying of some condition his doctor was unable to diagnose. His doctor gave him the news that at his rate of decline he had only a few days or weeks at most and he'd better get his affairs in order. A childhood friend, a scientist of some discipline that escapes my memory, turned up on his doorstep with massive doses of vitamins. He began to respond and recovered fully. He concludes the story with "Now, many years later, I'm still alive and healthy and my doctor is dead." Doesn't happen all the time of course, but such outriders keep hope alive when all seems lost. I wouldn't try it unless traditional medicine was stymied. My first choice would be traditional medicine. My martial arts instructor tried to talk me out of kemo and into chinese medicine when I was diagnosed with cancer. I thanked him for his concern and told him I couldn't take the chance.
Chosen Barley wrote:You don't need CoQ10 for leg cramps; you need magnesium, and lots of it, and an easily assimilable kind, such as Peter Gillham's. Mg makes Calcium usable. Worked for me!
Amen! Me sainted mither taught me about that and I was able to pass it along to friends who suffered from severe idiopathic leg cramps that their doctors had given up on. I suggested they try some dolomite, with the proper proportion of magnesium to calcium, and they experienced immediate relief.
Corlyss
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Brendan

Re:

Post by Brendan » Tue Oct 14, 2008 10:08 pm

Teresa B wrote:
absinthe wrote:Pillock. How d'you think humanity survived as long as it has? The local drug store?
Hmm, considering the fact that beetles are by far more successful (350,000 species) than humans (1 surviving species), and have lived on Earth about 500 times longer, one might conclude that the little buggers must have a lot more natural cures up their sleeves than humans! (Of course they do have 3 times as many arms. :wink: )

Teresa
Depends on how one measures success, of course. There has only ever been one species of human being within the genus of Homo- neanderthals were not human beings. Beetles have had how many millions years vs humanity's less than 1? Within that incredibly brief time-frame, one species of hominid, human beings, now inhabit every continent on earth in every ecological niche available and some we have created for ourselves - no species of beetle is nearly as successful. Success on the genus level is a different question . . .

Of course, the real success-story is bacteria - the rest of life evolved to fill the niches bacteria do not.

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Re: Remember there is no such thing as alternative medicine

Post by Teresa B » Wed Oct 15, 2008 4:36 am

Brendan wrote:Of course, the real success-story is bacteria - the rest of life evolved to fill the niches bacteria do not.
:lol: No question!

Now that this thread re-popped up, I have a nice story to refute my previous points about evidence-based medicine. I saw an 86-year old lady for an "intractable" itchy skin condition 2 weeks ago. She was scratching when I walked in the room, and had innumerable excoriations and thicked areas from scratching everywhere. She had an inch-thick file of previous medical records in which it looked like everything but the kitchen sink had been tried.

I ran lab work, a biopsy, and switched her to a couple of different medications and told her to use oatmeal baths. She wanted me to pray with her, so my physician assistant, nurse and I did what she wished and held her hands while she offered up a prayer for God to make her better.

I saw her again yesterday. She had ZERO open excoriations and was not scratching. Was it God who did the trick, or placebo? Or did my choice of medications turn out to be the right ones, after all those others?

Probably a combo. I used evidence-based medicine as far as the work-up and treatment. But my strong suspicion is that the woman suffers from neurodermatitis, which is a manifestation of anxiety/stress in predisposed individuals. The lesions are secondary to the scratching. She got what she evidently needed at her visit with us. And so my advice to the rookie...evidence-based medicine is not limited to drugs and surgery. If the evidence shows that the patient may respond to a prayer circle, DO it!

Teresa
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Re: Remember there is no such thing as alternative medicine

Post by Ralph » Wed Oct 15, 2008 6:12 am

Teresa B wrote:
Brendan wrote:Of course, the real success-story is bacteria - the rest of life evolved to fill the niches bacteria do not.
:lol: No question!

Now that this thread re-popped up, I have a nice story to refute my previous points about evidence-based medicine. I saw an 86-year old lady for an "intractable" itchy skin condition 2 weeks ago. She was scratching when I walked in the room, and had innumerable excoriations and thicked areas from scratching everywhere. She had an inch-thick file of previous medical records in which it looked like everything but the kitchen sink had been tried.

I ran lab work, a biopsy, and switched her to a couple of different medications and told her to use oatmeal baths. She wanted me to pray with her, so my physician assistant, nurse and I did what she wished and held her hands while she offered up a prayer for God to make her better.

I saw her again yesterday. She had ZERO open excoriations and was not scratching. Was it God who did the trick, or placebo? Or did my choice of medications turn out to be the right ones, after all those others?

Probably a combo. I used evidence-based medicine as far as the work-up and treatment. But my strong suspicion is that the woman suffers from neurodermatitis, which is a manifestation of anxiety/stress in predisposed individuals. The lesions are secondary to the scratching. She got what she evidently needed at her visit with us. And so my advice to the rookie...evidence-based medicine is not limited to drugs and surgery. If the evidence shows that the patient may respond to a prayer circle, DO it!

Teresa
*****

How many physicians today would have the heart or would take the time to accommodate this patient's non-clinical request and need? I am so impressed. We need a million Teresas practicing medicine.
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Re: Remember there is no such thing as alternative medicine

Post by Robinland » Wed Oct 15, 2008 11:44 am

I am not much of one for alternative medicine and if any of it worked I am certain the drug companies would be on it before you could say "Jack Robinson". Some natural things do work..like belladonna, digitalis and willowbark..which is why it is now packaged and sold. I personally don't want to guess how much Foxglove to go harvest and chew when I get a little "tachy" as thats quite a gamble. (Of course these days it may be a gamble to take your digitek!) There ARE elements in nature that work..but they can be risky. The amount of "drug" can differ from plant to plant. After years and years of some serious migraines and way more Imitrex than I want to take I honestly have found that by taking high dosage liquid magnesium has really helped a GREAT deal..and my neurologist tells me there is data that supports this. It seems to be helping a number of things.
Sometimes I fall asleep with my tv on and I am awakened to a commercial wherein there are "Doctors" discussing their product for cleansing the colon. I find it incredulous that these persons touting this product are doctors, I hate that I am paying for program length commercials...I wish they would have to take the product and THEN be filmed...THAT might be interesting, I'd watch that!

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Re: Remember there is no such thing as alternative medicine

Post by rwetmore » Wed Oct 15, 2008 12:05 pm

Robinland wrote:I am not much of one for alternative medicine and if any of it worked I am certain the drug companies would be on it before you could say "Jack Robinson".
No they wouldn't. Drug companies cannot patent natural products - only man made drugs.

There is no real money in alternative medicine, which is why so little research is ever done on it.
"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
- Aldous Huxley

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened."
-Winston Churchill

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!”
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Re:

Post by rwetmore » Wed Oct 15, 2008 12:15 pm

Teresa B wrote: There are so many gray areas it would take a book. Some "alternative" treatments may be very effective, but until some actual evidence is available by the (yes) scientific method, we western-trained physicians will be reluctant to prescribe them.
Who is going to spend the money on such research when there is no money or profit incentive? The drug companies control virtually the entire educational system in western medicine.

There is definitely quackery in alternative medicine; however, the notion that there is no such thing as legitimate alternative medicine is absurd.

Our society is way over drugged and over medicated. Drugs should only be used as last resort - not as a reflex first option.
"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
- Aldous Huxley

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened."
-Winston Churchill

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!”
–Charles Mackay

"It doesn't matter how smart you are - if you don't stop and think."
-Thomas Sowell

"It's one of the functions of the mainstream news media to fact-check political speech and where there are lies, to reveal them to the voters."
-John F. (of CMG)

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Re: Re:

Post by BWV 1080 » Wed Oct 15, 2008 12:51 pm

rwetmore wrote:
There is definitely quackery in alternative medicine; however, the notion that there is no such thing as legitimate alternative medicine is absurd.
There is no legitimate alternative medicine because any medicine that has strong empirical evidence for its efficacy is by definition traditional medicine.

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Re: Re:

Post by Corlyss_D » Wed Oct 15, 2008 1:31 pm

BWV 1080 wrote:There is no legitimate alternative medicine because any medicine that has strong empirical evidence for its efficacy is by definition traditional medicine.
That strikes me as circular reasoning. One of the hallmarks of alternative medicine is that it can't be proven by traditional scientific research which is why allopaths oppose it or don't recommend it (putting aside the self-interested motives inherent in watching their market share decrease). It took years for allopaths to come around to the consequence of nutrition beyond the infamous pyramid. Even now very few are knowledgeable enough to treat with vitamins and minerals in addition drug company products.
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BWV 1080
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Re: Re:

Post by BWV 1080 » Wed Oct 15, 2008 1:53 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:
BWV 1080 wrote:There is no legitimate alternative medicine because any medicine that has strong empirical evidence for its efficacy is by definition traditional medicine.
One of the hallmarks of alternative medicine is that it can't be proven by traditional scientific research.
If a medical treatment cannot be supported by emperical evidence, what rational basis is there for believing in it?

Who is greedier, the pharma companies who risk billions of dollars in R&D and FDA approvals, or the guy selling the Kinoki detox footpads for $20 at the counter of Walgreens?

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Re: Re:

Post by Corlyss_D » Wed Oct 15, 2008 2:29 pm

BWV 1080 wrote:
Corlyss_D wrote:
BWV 1080 wrote:There is no legitimate alternative medicine because any medicine that has strong empirical evidence for its efficacy is by definition traditional medicine.
One of the hallmarks of alternative medicine is that it can't be proven by traditional scientific research.
If a medical treatment cannot be supported by emperical evidence, what rational basis is there for believing in it?
The usual: anecdotal.

The placebo effect remains a black hole of health research.
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

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Re: Re:

Post by Teresa B » Wed Oct 15, 2008 3:31 pm

rwetmore wrote:The drug companies control virtually the entire educational system in western medicine.
And how do you know that?

Teresa
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Chosen Barley
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Re: Re:

Post by Chosen Barley » Wed Oct 15, 2008 3:35 pm

BWV 1080 wrote:
rwetmore wrote:
There is definitely quackery in alternative medicine; however, the notion that there is no such thing as legitimate alternative medicine is absurd.
There is no legitimate alternative medicine because any medicine that has strong empirical evidence for its efficacy is by definition traditional medicine.
I think maybe you are confusing "traditional" with "orthodox". TCM (Traditional Oriental Medicine) is not orthodox in N.America, but it is "orthodox" in China, in the positive sense of having widespread acceptance by the population, and government, even tho it has undergone some severe changes as part of the Cultural Revolution.

"Orthodox" in the negative sense can be applied to medical systems that are entrenched in a particular society to the point that governments, colluding with practitioners of that style of medicine, consider it to be the only legitimate kind of medical treatment, where payment by medicare is concerned. I am speaking about Canada here. Also, "orthodox" practitioners, acting on behalf of governments, decide what styles of "alternative" medicine are acceptable when it comes to licensing. Big Daddy Government, Nanny State, etc.

"Traditional" medicine, however, usually refers to any ages-old, culturally- or racially-based type of treatment, eg, TCM, Ayurveda, Kampo (a Chinese/Japanese mixture), traditional African, long-standing European herbal system, etc.

The MD-ruled system here is not traditional, not at all. It is largely a mulligan's stew of unproven methods. Yes, unproven. I think it was only a couple of decades ago that the Office of Technology Assessment took a look at the methods of medical treatment doled out in the US by MDs every day. They found that the overwhelming majority of these treatments had no proven scientific basis, that they had never undergone the scrutiny that the MD-ruled Colleges of Phys. & Surgeons demand "alternatives" be subjected to. Therefore, I would add that there is definitely quackery in official, entrenched, Orthodox medicine.

As some others here have implied, there really is no conflict between "alternative" (which may be ancient traditional or quite new) and orthodox. The issue is freedom from interference by the medical mafia/State. If I have a chronic hangnail problem, I should be able to go to a self-taught crone or to a dermatologist, and neither the crones nor the dermatologists should have to undergo any scrutiny or licensing by any government authority. The public can decide for itself if one type of practitioner or the other is useful or not.
STRESSED? Spell it backwards for the cure.

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Re: Remember there is no such thing as alternative medicine

Post by Teresa B » Wed Oct 15, 2008 3:54 pm

Ralph wrote:How many physicians today would have the heart or would take the time to accommodate this patient's non-clinical request and need? I am so impressed. We need a million Teresas practicing medicine.
Thanks, Ralph. Although I didn't intend to be fishing, I appreciate the compliment!

Teresa
"We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad." ~ The Cheshire Cat

Author of the novel "Creating Will"

BWV 1080
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Re: Re:

Post by BWV 1080 » Wed Oct 15, 2008 6:33 pm

Chosen Barley wrote:
BWV 1080 wrote:
rwetmore wrote:
There is definitely quackery in alternative medicine; however, the notion that there is no such thing as legitimate alternative medicine is absurd.
There is no legitimate alternative medicine because any medicine that has strong empirical evidence for its efficacy is by definition traditional medicine.
I think maybe you are confusing "traditional" with "orthodox". TCM (Traditional Oriental Medicine) is not orthodox in N.America, but it is "orthodox" in China, in the positive sense of having widespread acceptance by the population, and government, even tho it has undergone some severe changes as part of the Cultural Revolution.

"Orthodox" in the negative sense can be applied to medical systems that are entrenched in a particular society to the point that governments, colluding with practitioners of that style of medicine, consider it to be the only legitimate kind of medical treatment, where payment by medicare is concerned. I am speaking about Canada here. Also, "orthodox" practitioners, acting on behalf of governments, decide what styles of "alternative" medicine are acceptable when it comes to licensing. Big Daddy Government, Nanny State, etc.

"Traditional" medicine, however, usually refers to any ages-old, culturally- or racially-based type of treatment, eg, TCM, Ayurveda, Kampo (a Chinese/Japanese mixture), traditional African, long-standing European herbal system, etc.

The MD-ruled system here is not traditional, not at all. It is largely a mulligan's stew of unproven methods. Yes, unproven. I think it was only a couple of decades ago that the Office of Technology Assessment took a look at the methods of medical treatment doled out in the US by MDs every day. They found that the overwhelming majority of these treatments had no proven scientific basis, that they had never undergone the scrutiny that the MD-ruled Colleges of Phys. & Surgeons demand "alternatives" be subjected to. Therefore, I would add that there is definitely quackery in official, entrenched, Orthodox medicine.

As some others here have implied, there really is no conflict between "alternative" (which may be ancient traditional or quite new) and orthodox. The issue is freedom from interference by the medical mafia/State. If I have a chronic hangnail problem, I should be able to go to a self-taught crone or to a dermatologist, and neither the crones nor the dermatologists should have to undergo any scrutiny or licensing by any government authority. The public can decide for itself if one type of practitioner or the other is useful or not.
This is just semantics. For 21st century Westerners traditional medicine is science-based. Pre-modern superstition may be traditional for other societies, but it is only recently popular in the West because everyone takes the benefits of scientific medicine for granted and has no idea of the abysmal state of health under these non-Western traditional regimes. Any thoughtful person who has tried to educate themselves on medical issues quickly realizes that it is such a complex, multi-variable problem that even following utmost scientific rigor, there are real epistomological problems and most of scientific medicine relies on a preponderance of statistical evidence rather than the deterministic proofs in physics or other disciplines. An application of Bayes theorem with some reasonable assumptions will lead one to realize that likely a significant portion of all published medical research papers are false positives. It is extremely difficult to know anything with any level of certainty in regards to medical issues, however that does not stop people from believing anything that suits their fancy. As corylss admitted, the only evidence for alternative medicine is anecdote, which is of course no evidence at all. Why anyone would bet their health or waste their money on merely anecdotal evidence is beyond me, but millions do. It is akin to religious faith - a deep seated emotional need for control is being met that is immune to the light of reason.

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