bad medicine
Posted: 04 March 2008 08:49 PM   [ Ignore ]
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what do you think are the ethical ramifications of “alternative” medicine? isn’t mixing metaphysics and health care bad medicine? (sorry about the pun- I couldn’t resist). there are historical precedents, for example the massacres of Jews (estimated as high as 25 million) in the mid 1300’s in an attempt to rid Europe of the miasmas that where causing the plague. while obviously an extreme example, much of the current new age approach is also essentially medical advice based on spiritual belief. why does the moral aspect never get mentioned?

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Confucius say: “i am jealous of those who go through the day with a full stomach but a vacuous mind-how do they ever do it?”

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Posted: 05 March 2008 05:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I’d agree with Stephen Barrett of Quackwatch fame that the term “alternative medicine” is itself marketing-speak. There is only one sort of medicine, the sort that has been demonstrated effective in carefully organized scientific trials. All the rest is quackery. The ethics of selling quackery is quite grave: it involves taking money from sick people in exchange for ineffective treatment. While I would not put it on a par with medieval massacres, nevertheless it is a repugnant practice.

Another take on it, a bit more cynical but hilariously written, is HL Mencken’s essay on chiropractic. You can read it HERE.

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Doug

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Posted: 14 April 2008 10:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I have never understood how the FDA tolerates unproved therapies. The determination that it must harm before it is removed from the shelf is idiotic. Their definition of harm does not begin to cover the amount of harm done by some of these therapies. I have seen people who have been suckered into believing quackery, until it is far too late for medicine to cure them, then they become very upset when you can not undo all of the lost time and resulting damage done, and can no longer effect a cure. Then they tell me ‘that is why they do not believe in modern medicine’. Then they die from something initially very curable…..and the FDA considers this choice, not harm.

I am tired of having people tell me that ‘they’ (fill in the culture) have been using X for thousands of years, as if that is proof that it works. X has been using this therapy for thousands of years because (1)superstition (2)luck(that the cause and effect was correct) (3)lack of scientific understanding/method(4)because nothing else was available ........I have never been able to convince people that this argument is ludicrous. If you apply this to a (say) rickshaw form of transportation as the most efficient, because the Chinese have been using it for thousands of years, and say that you don’t trust modern transportation conveyances, despite the voluminous safety records and studies, and rely instead only on the testimonies of those using the rickshaw all of their lives, people would think you were a effin idiot!
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Posted: 15 April 2008 04:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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asanta - 14 April 2008 10:02 PM

I have never understood how the FDA tolerates unproved therapies.

They do because the Congress wrote a number of them into the law—pressure from the quackery lobby. I think they and the FTC are also likely understaffed to deal with these issues.

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Posted: 16 April 2008 06:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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As a physician I deal with this problem all the time. The public thinks if its on the shelf its FDA approved and safe. They also have the insane idea that “Natural” ( whatever that word means - Aflatoxin and uranium and cyanide are natural but I wouldn’t put them in my body) means safer. Nothing could be further from the truth. The only thing the term natural can guarantee you is that the substance is untested for safety or efficacey. Lots of so called natural products have been pulled of the shelves over the years when they were found to be harmful or down right deadly.

One of the most laughable products that people are enamoured with these days is Red Rice Yeast Extract to lower cholesterol. People are taking it as a “safe” alternative to prescription drugs. The fact is that it does lower cholesterol but only because it contains the identical molecules found in drugs like Zocor. The problem is you don’t know what dose you’re getting because its not regualted. You could be getting a lot or none at all. In addition no one is monitoring the effects of the drug on these people since they can get it over the counter. You also don’t know what other garbage is in that pill. I simply tell my patients they can take a brand of Zocor made by a government regulated manufacturer or they can take a version made by some guy in his garage. Which would you rather take? That pretty much ends the discussion.

[ Edited: 16 April 2008 06:50 AM by macgyver ]
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Posted: 16 April 2008 07:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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macgyver - 16 April 2008 06:37 AM

As a physician I deal with this problem all the time. The public thinks if its on the shelf its FDA approved and safe. They also have the insane idea that “Natural” ( whatever that word means - Aflatoxin and uranium and cyanide are natural but I wouldn’t put them in my body) means safer. Nothing could be further from the truth. The only thing the term natural can guarantee you is that the substance is untested for safety or efficacey. Lots of so called natural products have been pulled of the shelves over the years when they were found to be harmful or down right deadly.

One of the most laughable products that people are enamoured with these days is Red Rice Yeast Extract to lower cholesterol. People are taking it as a “safe” alternative to prescription drugs. The fact is that it does lower cholesterol but only because it contains the identical molecules found in drugs like Zocor. The problem is you don’t know what dose you’re getting because its not regualted. You could be getting a lot or none at all. In addition no one is monitoring the effects of the drug on these people since they can get it over the counter. You also don’t know what other garbage is in that pill. I simply tell my patients they can take a brand of Zocor made by a government regulated manufacturer or they can take a version made by some guy in his garage. Which would you rather take? That pretty much ends the discussion.

This is going into my collection of “CFI forum favourite posts.” Well said, macgyver.

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Posted: 16 April 2008 12:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I usually end discussions by suggesting that people with heart disease should perhaps be ingesting leaves of the foxglove, instead of the the ‘artificial’ preparation of digoxin prescribed by their doctor. For some reason people are never willing to do that.

Mercury and lead are also toxic, but I would not ingest either of these substances…..oh wait, a lot of ‘natural’ food supplements have been found to contain lead and mercury! No wonder I don’t believe in supplements.

I think I’ll putter around MY kitchen today and invent a cure for SIRS! If that 2nd grade teacher could invent a cure for the cold, I should be able to do at least as well. At least I have some scientific training! Well, off to work to save the world!
geo

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Posted: 22 April 2008 02:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Whenever I have somebody who can’t see through the genetic fallacy (which cuts both ways) I’ll end the conversation by suggesting a cure for cancer I know for a fact works flawlessly: shotgun blasts. no one who has died of gunshot wounds has died of cancer. getting mauled by pitbulls works too.

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Confucius say: “i am jealous of those who go through the day with a full stomach but a vacuous mind-how do they ever do it?”

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Posted: 22 April 2008 06:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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t.p.a.b. hohenheim - 22 April 2008 02:47 PM

Whenever I have somebody who can’t see through the genetic fallacy (which cuts both ways) I’ll end the conversation by suggesting a cure for cancer I know for a fact works flawlessly: shotgun blasts. no one who has died of gunshot wounds has died of cancer. getting mauled by pitbulls works too.


  LOL That’s a great response!!I’ll have to borrow it. It is certainly a 100% money back guarantee! I’ll add falling(or pushed)off a high building or certain orange bridge can accomplish the same (and so one and so forth!) LOL
geo

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