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Trick or Treatment: Alternative Medicine on Trial

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Book reviews

  • The last rites for alternative medicine? - Telegraph

  • Note to Prince Charles: 'You're wrong' - MediaLife Magazine

  • Complementary therapies: The big con? - The Independent
  • Trick or Treatment:
    by Simon Singh and Edzard Ernst

    The ultimate verdict on alternative medicine.

    Welcome to the world of alternative medicine. Prince Charles is a staunch defender and millions of people swear by it; most UK doctors consider it to be little more than superstition and a waste of money. But how do you know which treatments really heal and which are potentially harmful? Now at last you can find out, thanks to the formidable partnership of Professor Edzard Ernst and Simon Singh. Edzard Ernst is the world's first professor of complementary medicine, based at Exeter University, where he has spent over a decade analysing meticulously the evidence for and against alternative therapies.He is supported in his findings by Simon Singh, the well-known and highly respected science writer of several international bestsellers. Together they have written the definitive book on the subject. It is honest, impartial but hard-hitting, and provides a thorough examination and judgement of more than thirty of the most popular treatments, such as acupuncture, homeopathy, aromatherapy, reflexology, chiropractic and herbal medicine.

    In "Trick or Treatment?" the ultimate verdict on alternative medicine is delivered for the first time with clarity, scientific rigour and absolute authority.

    Snake Oil Science:
    The Truth about Complementary
    and Alternative Medicine
    by R. Barker Bausell

    Millions of people worldwide swear by such therapies as acupuncture, herbal cures, and homeopathic remedies. Indeed, complementary and alternative medicine is embraced by a broad spectrum of society, from ordinary people, to scientists and physicians, to celebrities such as Prince Charles and Oprah Winfrey.

    In the tradition of Michael Shermer's Why People Believe Weird Things and Robert Parks's Voodoo Science, Barker Bausell provides an engaging look at the scientific evidence for complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and at the logical, psychological, and physiological pitfalls that lead otherwise intelligent people--including researchers, physicians, and therapists--to endorse these cures.

    The book's ultimate goal is to reveal not whether these therapies work--as Bausell explains, most do work, although weakly and temporarily--but whether they work for the reasons their proponents believe. Indeed, as Bausell reveals, it is the placebo effect that accounts for most of the positive results.

    He explores this remarkable phenomenon--the biological and chemical evidence for the placebo effect, how it works in the body, and why research on any therapy that does not factor in the placebo effect will inevitably produce false results. By contrast, as Bausell shows in an impressive survey of research from high-quality scientific journals and systematic reviews, studies employing credible placebo controls do not indicate positive effects for CAM therapies over and above those attributable to random chance.

    Here is not only an entertaining critique of the strangely zealous world of CAM belief and practice, but it also a first-rate introduction to how to correctly interpret scientific research of any sort. Readers will come away with a solid understanding of good vs. bad research practice and a healthy skepticism of claims about the latest miracle cure, be it St. John's Wort for depression or acupuncture for chronic pain.

  • MS Toolkit Blog
  • Based on the recently published book, "MS TOOLKIT - A Patients' & Caregivers' Guide to Multiple Sclerosis," MS TOOLKIT will inform patients and caregivers about the realities of the disease, its possible causes, effects, and treatments. It will provide current information on new developments, clinical trials and other important matters for those dealing with MS.
    BUY MS Toolkit
    Finally! A how-to kit for understanding and dealing with multiple sclerosis - "MS" - one of the most commonly diagnosed diseases of the central nervous system. The true "story of multiple sclerosis' impact" - on everyone! If you have MS, or know someone with MS, you simply cannot be without this book! Cary Polevoy speaks candidly about the impact of MS and chronic disease on the lives of patients, family, friends, and co-workers, revealing critical information about the disease, the effectiveness of highly touted treatments, and what everyone should know BEFORE they find themselves stricken with a crippling disease or sidetracked by a career-ending accident: the importance of disability insurance and how to navigate the often onerous paths of insurance companies and Social Security. Everything is contained in one highly readable volume that everyone will understand. It is a necessity for anyone that has MS for dealing with the changes in their lives, family and work, and the medical community.

    healthwatcher - Hot-Links

    HealthWatcher and its affiliated web sites are one of the world's best sources for up to date information about consumer health fraud, cancer quackery, diet scams, herbal product dangers, chiropractic problems, alternative medicine and assorted fraudulent practices. Over the years we have also tackled the tobacco industry, sunbed promoters, and other public health issues. Enjoy your visit to and let us know if you would like us to cover additional consumer health issues. - Weight Loss - Dangerous and Unproved Supplements

    If you thought that herbal medicine was completely safe because it was natural, think again. follows the latest news and reviews of the hazards and safety of natural health products. If the FDA and the Natural Health Products Directorate seem to be not in control, find out why.

    Canadian Quackery Watch

    - Who would you believe, a quack with a fake diploma, or your doctor?

    Which one of the following would you want to deliver your health care in Canada or any other country today?

    • Hulda Clark disgraced and now deceased cancer quack. Her family still profits from her wacko ideas and patients risk it all. BTW - She died of cancer, despite all of her claims that she could cure all cancers, even the tough ones.
    • Bill O'Neill and the Cancer Care Research Group in Ottawa.
    • Tyrell Dueck the 13 year old boy who was lured to a quack cancer clinic in Tijuana through the efforts of a chiropractor and an evangelical lawyer. His tragic story explains why he might still be alive today.
    • A Canadian doctor and Buffalo, NY guru who tell you that they know the truth about illness and disease, and use a bogus biofeedback device to rip you off.
    • An American dentist and religious fundamentalist who combines evangelical furvor, anti-vaccine rhetoric, and conspiracy theories in a massive attack at reality.

    What Chiropractors Don't Want You to See

    • Pediatric chiropractic promoters train each other at weekend courses at hotels, even though there is no evidence that any chiropractic treatment works for infants and/or kids.
    • Lana Dale Lewis - A woman strokes out and dies after chiropractic neck manipulation. It takes coroner's inquest nearly two years, and the family waited 7 years to finally find the real cause of her death.
    • Radiologists refuse to do chiropractic x-rays for children under 18 yrs.
    • The Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College fails in their bid to become part of York University
    • Why has it taken nearly a decade to move against any chiropractors for their anti-vaccine position?
    • What did 20/20 say about chiropractic insurance fraud?
    • If veterinarians don't care about chiropractors who crack animal backs, then why should anyone else?

    Pig Pills, Inc.

    EMPOWERPLUS - The true story of an academic health fraud
    Would you believe the story of two Southern Alberta business people who invented a cure for all sorts of serious mental health problems. They discovered it in a pig barn. The whole story unravels as the government tries to control the situation. Aided by chiropractors, Members of Parliament, and paranoid natural health promoters, this story won't go away.

    Acne Care Clinics
    ISCAN - International Skin Cancer Awareness Network

    • Why does the sunbed industry escape regulation and lie about the harmful effects of artificial tanning?
    • What is your real risk for skin cancer, and other cancers if you continue to go to tanning parlors?
    • How does the industry use teenagers to addict them to tanning beds? What is "tanorexia?
    • How you can file lawsuits against the sunbed industry if you have been injured.
    • Why does the sunbed industry pay medical researchers to protect their turf?
    • Why did the governor of California become the spokesperson for the sunbed industry?
    • If veterinarians don't care about chiropractors who crack animal backs, then why should anyone else?

    Kidz Play

    Thousands of children die in accidents each year in North America. What role do parents or other adults play in those tragic deaths, and what can be done to reduce the toll?

    Hulda Clark Died of Cancer on September 3, 2009

    • Hulda Clark - research genius or cancer quack? Born and educated in Saskatchewan, Quebec, Minnesota, and Indiana, she held bizarre and unsupported beliefs that many major medical conditions are caused by parasites, or flukes. She said that she could diagnose them and then cure them by using cheap electrical devices that she calls "zappers" or "syncrometers". Then add in a few herbs, remove your amalgams, and there you have it, A Cure for All Diseases. The only problem is that none of her claims are legitimate. Her naturopathic degree is mailorder, her ridiculous Tijuana clinic was closed down by Mexican authorities for cancer and alternative medical treatment. When she was arrested in 1999 for practicing medicine without a license in Indiana, she hired Tim Bolen. That was a big mistake.

    • Patrick Timothy Bolen - publicist or a menace? He became Hulda Clark's publicist, and launched a war to destroy the reputation of anyone who spoke out against cancer quackery. Bolen's interview on Christine McPhee's radio program launched an intensive investigation. Tim Bolen's rants and libelous comments were, in our opinion, used to coerce others to do his bidding. He single-handedly composed letters that were copied and forwarded to numerous government agencies, including the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. He and others, including Canadian health freedom activists like Helke Ferrie, Christine McPhee, Wayne Obie, Trueman Tuck, Chris Gupta, Alive Magazine editors, nutraceutical makers, and others have furthermore jumped into the fray to do battle with Dr. Polevoy. The legal battle centered in Oakland, California, may eventually end up in the U.S. Supreme Court.

      The issues are basically that the people in control of the Hulda Clark "corporate image", who help to market the multi-million dollar a year collection of inventions, formulas, and books don't want to give up the fight. If they continue to sell products, books, tapes, and devices without successful intervention by the FDA, or the FTC, then perhaps it will be the courts that will end up putting them out of business. Announces
    The True Story of EMPOWERPLUS

    Pig Pills, Inc. - order your copy today

    Pig Pills, Inc.
    Synergy Group

    The result of over two years of research into the bizarre claims and marketing of a nutraceutical made in Utah, sold in Alberta, and promoted by some pretty slick business people. This story involves claims made by leading researchers in universities, unbelievable media hype, and a scramble to stay one step ahead of Health Canada.

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