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6 New Age Cures That Aren’t As Full Of Crap As You Think
Posted: 21 March 2012 06:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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asanta - 21 March 2012 06:40 PM
Coldheart Tucker - 21 March 2012 04:57 AM

Germany has a government body called “Commission E” which examines herbal medicine and the like.  They do rigorous studies and government policy generally follows their recommendations from what I understand.  (They’ve done an number on St. John’s Wort,  BTW.)  US law generally prohibits the FDA from using results from foreign studies in making policy in regards to drugs and medical procedures.

Germany is also the creator and continuing bastion of the nothing that is homeopathy…

Oh, like Germany is somehow unique in having people creating snake oil products.

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Posted: 22 March 2012 11:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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CT,

I think asanta’s point was that the German government doesn’t do a very good job of weeding out nonsense therapies despite the work fo the agency you mentioned. You seemed to be suggesting that if the FDA made use of these studies we might do a better job controlling ineffective treatments, but I don’t think that is the case.

The same is true for other coutnries. The UK NHS, for example, has a group called NICE that writes fantastic evidence-based reviews of CAM therapies, but they still have government health-service sponsored homeopathic hospitals. For better or worse (in this case worse, I think) people tend to get what they want regardless of the evidence concerning whether it is useful for them.

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Posted: 22 March 2012 07:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Again, the US hardly has the high ground in this instance.  Pharma companies can’t (or at least they couldn’t, it might have changed in the past few years) hand the results of drug trials done in Europe to the FDA and get a drug approved, they have to rerun them in the US.  Even if there’s no difference in how the trials are ran.  Additionally, in the US, you can walk into nearly any store, buy some homeopathic garbage and “treat” yourself without ever seeing a doctor.  Thus, potentially making your condition worse, exposing others to the same ailment (assuming its something communicable), and driving up healthcare costs because you only go see a doc after your condition worsens to the point where your life is in danger.

No doubt many of the people prescribing homeopathic “medicine” in places like the UK and Germany are utterly unqualified to bandage a finger, but there’s probably a few docs savvy enough to hand the stuff out, either in cases when a placebo is the best solution (i.e. patient comes in demanding antibiotics because they have a cold, the doc knowing that they won’t rest until they get something to cram in their piehole, gives them a homeopathic “cure” rather than handing them antibiotics which are useless in this case), or because they can at least monitor a person’s health, an intervene with real medicine before it gets to be too late.  Yes, I know, I know, I know, a doctor shouldn’t be handing out snake oil, but given that a large number of people are obstinate about listening to reason, it is probably better than the system we have in the states (where some 39 million people have no health insurance, and are thus more likely to rely on things like homeopathy and alternative medicines, since its cheaper to buy much of that stuff than it is to see a doctor).

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Posted: 22 March 2012 11:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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There was a law passed in the 1990s which gave CAM medicines all sorts of leverage in the popular market. It doesn’t help that many of these fake cures are made by the same pharmaceuticals making real medications. No one said the US is taking the ‘high road’, just that Germany is not the face of ultimate reason.

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Posted: 23 March 2012 09:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Wait, I thought Cracked was supposed to be satirical? It was, when I was a kid.

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Posted: 25 March 2012 09:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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asanta - 22 March 2012 11:43 PM

There was a law passed in the 1990s which gave CAM medicines all sorts of leverage in the popular market. It doesn’t help that many of these fake cures are made by the same pharmaceuticals making real medications. No one said the US is taking the ‘high road’, just that Germany is not the face of ultimate reason.

Never said it was the ultimate in reason, just pointing out that they have a mechanism in place for evaluating such things.  It would be nice if the US had a similar mechanism, because it would be easier to sort through the various claims about different things than what we have now.  For example, echinacea is often touted by herbalists as having anti-bacterial/anti-viral properties, and its commonly sold as a tea.  The results of scientific studies show that it does, but only when used topically.  Big difference that.  I’ve never seen any herbal/alternative medicine hawkers mentioning that fact.  In theory, if the US had a body like Commission E, herbal/alternative medicine hawkers could be required to print the information from said commission on the labels, or consumers could check the website of the commission.  Currently, we’ve got nothing, so you’re force to either take the claims at face value (dangerous) or do research on your own.  Most folks don’t have the smarts to do the latter and only do the former.

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Posted: 25 March 2012 09:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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FreeInKy - 23 March 2012 09:51 AM

Wait, I thought Cracked was supposed to be satirical? It was, when I was a kid.

That changed when they moved to the web.  They decided to go “edgy.”  Mad Magazine is still satirical, however.

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Posted: 26 March 2012 04:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Coldheart Tucker - 25 March 2012 09:38 PM
asanta - 22 March 2012 11:43 PM

There was a law passed in the 1990s which gave CAM medicines all sorts of leverage in the popular market. It doesn’t help that many of these fake cures are made by the same pharmaceuticals making real medications. No one said the US is taking the ‘high road’, just that Germany is not the face of ultimate reason.

Never said it was the ultimate in reason, just pointing out that they have a mechanism in place for evaluating such things.  It would be nice if the US had a similar mechanism, because it would be easier to sort through the various claims about different things than what we have now.  For example, echinacea is often touted by herbalists as having anti-bacterial/anti-viral properties, and its commonly sold as a tea.  The results of scientific studies show that it does, but only when used topically.  Big difference that.  I’ve never seen any herbal/alternative medicine hawkers mentioning that fact.  In theory, if the US had a body like Commission E, herbal/alternative medicine hawkers could be required to print the information from said commission on the labels, or consumers could check the website of the commission.  Currently, we’ve got nothing, so you’re force to either take the claims at face value (dangerous) or do research on your own.  Most folks don’t have the smarts to do the latter and only do the former.

That might not be a bad idea but alt med purveyors have gone above and beyond to exempt themselves from the same laws that apply to conventional medicine. I think its highly likely that they and their standard bearer Orin Hatch would fight such an attempt tooth and nail unless the rules were heavily weighted in their favor.. ie. in order to get the stamp of approval you might only need a handful of anecdotal reports or a small study of 20 people and you might only have to show a numerical benefit instead of a statistically significant one. Instead of educating public about the problems we may end up inadvertently delivering a level of credibility to these treatments that they don’t deserve.

The bottom line is that we need to eliminate the double standard once and for all. These mostly phony and ineffective and occasionally harmful treatments should have to meet the same level of evidence as standard treatments.

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Posted: 26 March 2012 08:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Coldheart Tucker - 25 March 2012 09:40 PM
FreeInKy - 23 March 2012 09:51 AM

Wait, I thought Cracked was supposed to be satirical? It was, when I was a kid.

That changed when they moved to the web.  They decided to go “edgy.”  Mad Magazine is still satirical, however.

Interesting. Still, I wouldn’t turn to them for my news. OTOH, millions of people consider Faux News to be real news, so there you go.

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