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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Homeopathy, The Skeptics How Effective Are They?

Homeopathy, the Skeptics: How effective are they really?

The Rise and Fall of Militant Skepticism

A Google search for homeopathic skeptics will return information on Stephen Barrett, Edzard Ernst, Skeptics in the Pub, Simon Singh and the magician and illusionist James Randi, among others. A Google search for skeptics blogs returns a site URL (among others) for a skeptic who tells you how you can "fix" the Wikipedia entries. It just so happens that the Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales is not a fan of homeopathy and wants to "stop it." An advantage for the skeptics? Ah, so far that's a no. (1, 2)

The skeptics have tried to discredit homeopathy since Hahnemann's time. The medical establishment and its member practitioners and scientists, along with the press, had a field day attacking Hahnemann and his patients. I think the same skeptic types are recruited and involved today. Despite their efforts then and now, according to the World Health Organization, homeopathy has grown in popularity and is the second most used health care system worldwide. Are the skeptics failing? Let's consider the facts.

1. Health care consumers have not been convinced that "real drugs" (versus "sugar pills") are a better option, especially when there is the continued publicity of class action law suits and the withdrawal of drugs because of adverse side effects, including death even years after they were FDA approved and on the market. And then there is the over prescription of antibiotics giving rise to new drug resistant infection by "super bugs". From the FDA The Limitations of Safety Data for Drug Approval the following:

"There are hundreds of thousands of adverse events reported via MedWatch each year, but this reporting system is voluntary and there are serious drug reactions that are never reported. Because the nation's healthcare system is not integrated, there is no standard way to track the adverse effects of a medicine in any given health system or across different health systems. Health insurance databases can be helpful in this regard, but they are only accurate as long as a patient has the same job and is enrolled with the same insurance system since many people are insured through their employer. This limits FDA's ability to monitor the safety of medications taken over many years. However, FDA, through its Sentinel Initiative, is currently working to develop capabilities to use data from different health systems to better understand the safety of drugs in clinical practice. " (3)

2. Perhaps a bit trite, but still significant when one considers sales and market trends, the number of books about the effectiveness and theory of homeopathy for sale on Amazon at the time of this writing was 2,772. On October 21, 2015, that number has risen to 8,155. A search of Amazon's homeopathic remedies on 9/9/2013 showed 11,233 active listings. (4, 5) Today, 10/21/15 that number has increased to 21,922 active listings.

3. Every state in the U.S. now recognizes the practice of homeopathy and homeopathic doctors. (6)

"Every state requires a license for the practice of medicine, the diagnosis and treatment of illness. Consequently states also regulate the practice of homeopathy. Medical doctors and osteopathic doctors are the only professions allowed to diagnose and treat illness in all of the states. There are several states that also license naturopathic physicians to diagnose and treat illness. These states are AK, AZ, CT, HI, ME, NH, OR, UT, VT, WA. Generally, homeopathy can be employed legally by those whose degrees also entitle them to practice medicine in their state. This includes MD's, DO's, ND's, DDS's, DVM's. Some DC's are permitted by their state law to administer homeopathic remedies. Other health care providers such as nurse practitioners, physicians assistants, dentists, veterinarians, chiropractors, licensed acupuncturists, nurse midwives, and podiatrists may be allowed to use homeopathy within the scope of their licenses, depending on the laws of the state in which they reside."

4. The number of online and campus setting teaching courses in all the CAM practices, including homeopathy, is steadily growing. "There are literally dozens of homeopathic training programs offered in states like Delaware, Georgia, California, Washington, New Jersey, Colorado, Arizona, North Carolina, Nevada, Illinois, Oregon, Massachusetts, New York, Minnesota, New Mexico, Connecticut, and Texas." (7)

"The Evolving Role of CAM Integrative Medicine in American Medical Education" (8)

5. The number of cancer research and treatment centers in the U.S. that are using integrative medicine, including homeopathy is also expanding. (9)

"Integrative medicine (blending the best of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) with conventional medicine) is becoming increasingly popular.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...."[1] Charles Dickens had never heard of integrative medicine when he wrote the opening line to his classic text, but it fittingly describes the context in which integrative medicine clinics find themselves today. [2,3] There is increasing evidence that both patients and clinicians see integrative medicine as the best way to provide optimal health care."

6. According to an October 7, 2011 study released by the Chamber of Commerce of India (ASSOCHAM), the world homoeopathy market is a $5.35 billion dollar market and growing at a rapid annual rate. If one multiplies $5.35 billion by just 1.25% annually, without adjustment for inflation, one gets a $1.1 trillion dollar global market by 2035. (10)

7. Homoeopathy is the third most popular method of healing in India, after conventional medicine and Ayurveda. Additionally, the legal status of homeopathy in India shares an equal footing with both modalities.

Nine million people use homoeopathy in Brazil. Homeopathy was recognized as a medical speciality there by the country's Ministry of Medicine Director in 1980.

Countries that offer homeopathy within their national health care system include: Brazil, India, Mexico, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, UK and Switzerland. Countries that recognize homeopathy as a medical specialty and/or system of medicine include Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Equador (rated by WHO as being better in health care than the US), Mexico, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Belgium, Bulgaria, Hungary, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania, Russia, UK and Switzerland. Homeopathy is established as a primary discrete health care discipline with an in-depth undergraduate education and training program, as well as a professional infrastructure equal to that of conventional medicine in India, Mexico, Pakistan and South Africa. It is also officially recognized in Bangladesh, Singapore, Dubai and Malaysia.

The UAE, Thailand, Cuba, Argentina, Iran, and Russia have granted official recognition to the number of homeopathic teaching institutions, and their research activities are being revitalized.

Australia and New Zealand homeopathy is developing into a complete healthcare profession and is receiving government recognition through positive enabling legislative change. (11, 12 )

8. There are growing numbers of research studies and controlled clinical trials proving the efficacy of homeopathy dating back to January,1988. (13)

9. The homeopathy skeptics are coming under fire. (It's about time). One of the skeptics' top personalities, Brian Dunning was indicted for fraud. (14)

"Who are these so-called Quackbusters?" Consumer Advocate Tim Bolen (15)

10. "Edzard Ernst - Critic Of Homeopathy Exposed" (16)
"We believe that it is time to recognise that opposition to homeopathy is largely based on the opinions of individuals who are unqualified or unwilling to judge the evidence fairly. One person may be right and 2.3 million may be wrong, but this interview confirms the evidence which H:MC21 (Homeopathy of the 21st Century) has already presented, namely that one individual, Edzard Ernst, is not a credible source of information about the effectiveness of homeopathy."
11. "California Superior Court Judge Rules on Quackbuster Credibility"
"This was a case filed by the so-called National Council Against Health Fraud (NCAHF) against a manufacturer of Homeopathic products. The quackbusters were soundly, and publicly, beaten in this courtroom. The Judge's opinion about top quackbusters Stephen Barrett, and Wallace Sampson is classic." (17)
12. The skeptics talking points have lost their effect from over-use in combination with ridicule and cyber-bullying. (I think I can boast that yours truly has become the fart in the elevator of their minds.) (18)

This comment by Maria Maclachlan the wife of Alan Henness, the director of the Nightingale Collaboration was posted on my fighting for homeopathy blog on Google. At first I thought I would delete it, but decided instead to publish it instead.
"I recommend a homeopathic remedy to you, Sandra. Excrementum caninum. On the principle that like treats like, I presume it treats shit-for-brains syndrome. Try it and let's see if it makes you any more intelligent.

You are one of the nastiest cult-members I've had the misfortune to come across and it's fair to assume that it's because you don't have a rational argument that you continue to behave in this despicable manner.

So far all I have seen you do is harass, abuse and lie about people who tell the truth about homeopathy - the truth being, of course, that it is a pile of steaming crap that unscrupulous quacks promote in order to line their own pockets.

Your stupidity is boundless and it is no surprise that you believe in magic pills. So what do you ultimately hope to achieve, Sandra? If your objective is to demonstrate the rank idiocy and nastiness of followers of cult of homeopathy, then please carry on because it is behaviour like yours that keeps me going."
13. The medical journalist and author Jerome Burne of the UK had this to say about the "arrogant batty" (Mr. Burne's terminology) skeptics, particularly the Nightingale Collaboration. (19)
"Step forward the Nightingale Collaboration, earnest and self-styled defender of rationalism, whose seriously potty members have got these categories mixed up. They have picked on something that might, to some, be mildly irritating – homeopathy – and pumped up their dislike into a cause." Why hounding homeopaths is both batty and arrogant.
To answer the question posed in the title of this editorial opinion. Homeopathy skeptics: how effective are they? Not very....based on current data and facts. That said, a personal note to all the homeopathy skeptics: Your talking points against homeopathy are as dilute as you incorrectly think a 1M potency of any remedy is. You need to work harder.



References:


1.   http://www.skeptic.com/get_involved/fix_wikipedia.html
2.   http://homeopathyplus.com.au/wikipedia-co-founder-wants-to-stop-homeopathy/
3.   http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/Transparency/Basics/ucm269834.htm
4.   http://alturl.com/et9xn
5.   http://preview.alturl.com/svzdu
6.   http://www.healthandhealingny.org/complement/homeo_training.html
7.   http://www.alliedhealthworld.com/homeopathy-schools.html
8.   http://alturl.com/b5ygm
9.   http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6882/8/32
10. http://alturl.com/k57jb
11. http://drnancymalik.wordpress.com/article/status-of-homeopathy/
12. www.globinmed.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=99852 13. http://nationalcenterforhomeopathy.org/articles-research
14. http://www.homeopathyheals.me.uk/site/featured/3250-top-skeptic-federally-indicted-for-fraud
15. http://www.quackpotwatch.org/WisconsinWar/who_are_these_so.htm
16. http://nationalcenterforhomeopathy.org/content/edzard-ernst-critic-of-homeopathy-exposed
17. http://www.quackpotwatch.org/quackpots/california_superior_court_judge_.htm
18. http://fighting-for-homeopathy.blogspot.com/
19. http://jeromeburne.com/2013/06/27/why-hounding-homeopaths-is-both-batty-and-arrogant/

Nightingale Collaboration Followers Try Censorship of WDDTY Magazine

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Nightingale Collaboration Tries Censorship of an article in the WDDTY Magazine. It mentions the word cancer, homeopathy & cure in the same headline!

This article Much more than placebo: Homeopathy reverses cancer | What Doctors Don't Tell You is the content the followers of the Nightingale Collaboration were upset about. Apparently, they did not and never want stores in the UK to stock the magazine. I replied to JoBrodie's tweet which implied that the group of Nightingale anti-homeopathy followers should keep up the pressure by emailing the magazine demanding that Tesco take the magazine off their shop shelves. I think this attempt to keep information about alternative medicine, and especially homeopathy, from the public is "sinister" and told her so. In tweets I have followed, one skeptic bragged that he/she would enter the shops and hide the magazines. Another said that he/she bought all the copies to put in the trash so that the magazine would not be in stock. Censorship is never a good thing. It's a 'numbers game' to the followers of the Nightingale Collaboration. Don't let these few people practice this censorship.

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Guy Chapman is a follower of the Nightingale Collaboration and in my opinion this cyber bullying post (see screen shots) on his "blag" show that those who oppose homeopathy are not content with hounding homeopaths but private citizens who support homeopathy as well. See the actual post and comments HERE

June 25, 2013

Guy Chapman also visits Amazon to bash homeopathic books, remedies and products containing homeopathic ingredients. Read how he bashes homeopathic books and products on Amazon.com for a total of 125 negative reviews on 13 pages so far HERE

His review comments for the book Family Guide to Homeopathy: Symptoms and Natural Solutions (in paperback) can be found HERE

Just below is another example of the unfounded contempt Guy Chapman shows towards homeopathy, homeopaths and homeopathy supporters. It is an image published on the blog of Steve Scrutton, a UK homeopath who was obviously fed up with the ridicule and decided to make it public.

CAM & Homeopathy Skeptics are Anything BUT Civil

Anti Homeopathy Skeptics are Anything But Civil



Many of you who follow this blog know that a few people, including myself, are posting in comment sections to articles that are both for and against homeopathy. What has occurred in the comment sections is not a civil discussion per se but hounding and ridicule by the opposition directed towards anyone who supports homeopathy. It seems that not one person who opposes homeopathy has had a negative experience with their own family homeopath and therefore a legitimate podium from which to speak. But, I digress. What is difficult for me to comprehend is why the intimidation and ridicule other than to stop the posting of anything positive with regard to homeopathy? To me personally, this is nothing more than a form of cyber-bullying. I will include quoted examples of these types of comments, as well as screen shots, at the end of this editorial.

The skeptics claim a variety of reasons for drowning out the positive voices for homeopathy, one being that it prevents people who are seriously ill from seeking legitimate health care. My goodness, people have already died and will continue to die if they abandon conventional medicine that surely would have or will save them! Never mind the lack of statistics to back up this “noble?” claim. There are, however, many patients who can testify otherwise.

One organization involved in challenging all things homeopathic including books on Amazon, homeopaths’ web sites, retailers who sell homeopathic remedies and supporters of homeopathy is the Nightingale Collaboration. There is plenty of information about them and their volunteers here on my blog and elsewhere. They are not the only organization with the means and funds to spend hours online combatting the people they call dupes and imbecils that believe in sugar pills and woo-woo medicine practiced by snake-oil salesmen and charletans. But, I digress.

I don't recall who commented about me with this: “I assume though that the magic water that a homeoquack would offer would be a 100c preparation of SandraCourtney”

Homeopathy Skeptic Alan Henness & The Nightingale Collaboration

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19 July 2013   Does the Nightingale Collaboration "place an unnecessary burden" on the ASA by their reporting? I'll leave that up to my readers to judge. A reminder....these same supporters report homeopaths, write letters to law makers and are seen posting comments that ridicule supporters of homeopathy on blogs all day long...even posting in the wee early a.m. orders.

In this post below, in bold text, there is information updating the complaints made about the advertisements in a newly launched health care magazine "What Doctors Don't Tell You" in the fall of 2012. The author of this communication was most likely Alan Henness. (If not, I’m sure he will correct me by commenting.) Is the systematic hounding homeopaths and homeopathic supporters not enough? Who and what is next? A link to the source of this message to the “supporters” is at the end.

Message to supporters title header: What They Don't Tell You

Many of you will be aware that a new monthly magazine called What Doctors Don't Tell You is being sold in various retail outlets including WH Smith and many supermarkets.

We were dismayed to see that the magazines carry many adverts for products and services that we believe are making questionable claims, which could mislead the public.

There is, of course, a responsibility on all advertisers to comply with the Advertising Standards Authority's CAP Code and this publication and its advertisers are no exception.

In view of the seriousness of many of the claims being made, we have submitted complaints to the ASA about a number of adverts found in the first and second issues.

In the September 2012 issue, we counted a total of 37 ads, with 34 in the October issue. Some of these are duplicate ads for the same service or product.

We have submitted complaints about 26 adverts.

We believe this may be the greatest number of complaints submitted to the ASA for a single publication.

We'd like to remind our supporters that the ASA only need one complaint to investigate an advert — additional complaints about the same ads only places an unnecessary burden on the ASA and will not change the outcome. We believe we have covered the vast majority of questionable claims, so we would suggest there is no need for anyone else to submit any further complaints.

It is, of course, up to the ASA to investigate and decide whether or not any of the ads we've highlighted are in breach of the CAP Code and to rule accordingly.

We will let you know the outcome of our complaints in due course and we will, of course, be monitoring all future issues for similar questionable claims.


04 October 2012 The source of this information can be seen HERE
The image below, from a post gloating about the Nightingale Collaboration's victory against homeopaths, should send a chill up the spine of everyone who loves homeopathy, especially the comment posted by Jonathan who noted that one of the homeopaths who received his threat to monitor his/her web site "was terrified." And then..."I got carried away rubbing their faces in it"...meaning the judgement against the homeopaths. This display of arrogance should anger every supporter of homeopathy. The image is a screen shot from a post by someone in support of the campaign against homeopaths by The Nightingale Collaboration which resulted in the censorship of some of their advertisements. Source: http://www.skepticat.org/2013/07/a-bad-week-for-homeopaths-but-a-great-one-for-the-nightingale-collaboration/

Thursday, August 7, 2014

CAM Skeptics Gang Up on Chiropractor via Twitter


Nightingale Collaboration Founder Alan Henness enjoys ridiculing CAM practitioners Tweeted by drbillgibson via Twitter to a practicing chiropractor in Jacksonville, Florida for the past two days after a negative article about chiropractors by Edzard Ernst. This is the same disgusting behavior used against homeopaths, and most CAM providers by a small group of skeptics (followers of ....you guessed it...The Nightingale Collaboration) headed by Alan Henness (Zeno001) and his wife Maria. The harassment began on 8/7/14 and has not ended yet. To see the first tweet, scroll down the page to the first entry sent by drbillgibson on 8/7/14. I have not included the individual tweets used to harass the chiropractor by Zeno001 a.k.a. Alan Henness.

Before I forget, to me the most insulting tweet by drbillgibson was this:

Faces of the main three participants:


@FlHealing @zeno001 @EdzardErnst Goodnight. Perhaps you could provide that evidence for you claims tomorrow? Aug 08, 2014

@FlHealing @zeno001 @EdzardErnst Not without producing evidence to back it up, no. Aug 08, 2014

@zeno001 @FlHealing @EdzardErnst I'm licenced in 2 countries, if that helps. Aug 08, 2014

@FlHealing @zeno001 @EdzardErnst Who is the unlicensed doctor? Aug 08, 2014

@FlHealing @zeno001 @EdzardErnst Still no evidence? Aug 08, 2014

@FlHealing @zeno001 Ecidence for that? Aug 08, 2014

@FlHealing @zeno001 You have neither disproven @EdzardErnst not provided evidence of benefit for chiro. Aug 08, 2014

@FlHealing @zeno001 Insleep fine at night because far more people are helped by my profession than harmed. You can't say the same. Aug 08, 2014

@FlHealing @zeno001 That's absolute bullshit, and you know it. So: evidence for chiropractic's benefits? Aug 08, 2014

@zeno001 @FlHealing Amazingly, no. The number of deaths from oxycodone in that study was ... None. Aug 08, 2014

@FlHealing @zeno001 That has been answered. Stop lying. Aug 08, 2014

@FlHealing @zeno001 His claims were accurate. The paper he linked to showed >50% of manipulations are associated with adverse effects. Aug 08, 2014

@FlHealing @zeno001 Which false claim? Aug 08, 2014

@zeno001 @FlHealing There have been deaths associated with neck manipulation. Aug 08, 2014

@FlHealing @zeno001 you asked how many deaths in the study. I answered none. Stop lying. It's getting embarrassing for you. Aug 08, 2014

@FlHealing @zeno001 That's a big if. Where's your evidence of *any* benefit? Aug 08, 2014

RT @PharmacistScott: Never let a chiropractor touch your neck: Neck Manipulation Linked to Cervical Dissection — http://t.co/ZwSmx2wVRY Aug 08, 2014

@FlHealing @zeno001 Silence? Apart from over a hundred answers. Still no evidence for chiropractic, I see. Aug 07, 2014

@FlHealing @zeno001 it's best not to start a tweet with "I didn't lie" if it then contains a lie. Aug 07, 2014 @FlHealing @zeno001 Your question has been answered. The fact you're too stupid or dishonest to acknowledge that is your problem. Aug 07, 2014

@FlHealing @zeno001 Yes, I did. No deaths in the study (which was oxycodone, not morphine). Aug 07, 2014

@FlHealing @zeno001 You asked how many deaths in the study. There were none. Deal with it. Aug 07, 2014

@FlHealing @zeno001 If they saved millions of lives, if accept it. Aug 07, 2014

@FlHealing @fowkc And the deaths from chiropractic are on yours. What's your point? Aug 07, 2014

@FlHealing @zeno001 No, I didn't. You lied about which question for which answer. Aug 07, 2014

@zeno001 @FlHealing So. Now we've cleared that up: evidence for benefit of chiropractic. In your own time. Aug 07, 2014

@FlHealing @zeno001 Which question was that? I've got lost in all your lies about what I said. Aug 07, 2014

@FlHealing @fowkc Chiro's can't prescribe, because they're not doctors, no matter how much they wear white coats and use the title. Aug 07, 2014

@FlHealing @zeno001 14,000 deaths from opiates, mostly overdose. Almost none at therapeutic doses. Move on and answer Alan's question, Aug 07, 2014

@FlHealing @zeno001 Please stop lying about what I said. I did not misunderstand anything. "None" was the number of deaths in the study. Aug 07, 2014

@FlHealing @fowkc No. Those people died from overdose. Very few - almost no - deaths from therapeutic doses of opiates. Aug 07, 2014

RT @zeno001: .@FlHealing @WolfieSmiffed Like you, I abhor intellectual dishonesty particularly someone lying about what they asked http://t… Aug 07, 2014

@fowkc @FlHealing At least the sledgehammer is free. Aug 07, 2014

@FlHealing @WolfieSmiffed @zeno001 @EdzardErnst are you *ever* going to produce evidence for chiro, you quack? Aug 07, 2014

@FlHealing @zeno001 @EdzardErnst In overdose. Not at therapeutic doses. And yes, I question your ethics: your whole profession is a fraud. Aug 07, 2014

@FlHealing @WolfieSmiffed @zeno001 @EdzardErnst I never said there were no deaths from opiates. Aug 07, 2014

@FlHealing @WolfieSmiffed @zeno001 @EdzardErnst No. I'm saying that you are assigning the answer to a different question. Which is a lie. Aug 07, 2014

@zeno001 @FlHealing Why would they? Too busy counting their fraudulently-acquired money. Aug 07, 2014

@FlHealing @zeno001 @EdzardErnst Go on: tell that lie about it being illegal to criticize Chiroquacks again. That ones good. Aug 07, 2014

@FlHealing @zeno001 @EdzardErnst Not at therapeutic doses. How fucking stupid are you? Can you not read? Aug 07, 2014

@FlHealing @zeno001 @EdzardErnst So you're not going to produce any evidence for benefit of what you do? That makes you a fraud. Aug 07, 2014

@FlHealing @WolfieSmiffed @zeno001 @EdzardErnst As I said yesterday, none was the number of deaths in the trial I quoted. Stop lying. Aug 07, 2014

@FlHealing @WolfieSmiffed @zeno001 @EdzardErnst how so? Aug 07, 2014

@FlHealing @zeno001 @EdzardErnst No. How many deaths through *therapeutic* doses of opiates? Aug 07, 2014

@FlHealing @WolfieSmiffed @zeno001 @galdam @fMRI_guy @EdzardErnst And neither did I, as has been explained. Answer the question. Aug 07, 2014

@FlHealing @WolfieSmiffed @zeno001 @galdam @fMRI_guy @EdzardErnst So, where's the evidence for what *you* do? Aug 07, 2014