Prime candidate for de-funding
Posted: 25 June 2009 08:36 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Mentioned in the last Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe. Read about it HERE:

$2.5 billion spent, no alternative cures found
Big, government-funded studies show most work no better than placebos

updated 12:15 p.m. ET, Wed., June 10, 2009

BETHESDA, Md. - Ten years ago the government set out to test herbal and other alternative health remedies to find the ones that work. After spending $2.5 billion, the disappointing answer seems to be that almost none of them do.

Echinacea for colds. Ginkgo biloba for memory. Glucosamine and chondroitin for arthritis. Black cohosh for menopausal hot flashes. Saw palmetto for prostate problems. Shark cartilage for cancer. All proved no better than dummy pills in big studies funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The lone exception: ginger capsules may help chemotherapy nausea.

As for therapies, acupuncture has been shown to help certain conditions, and yoga, massage, meditation and other relaxation methods may relieve symptoms like pain, anxiety and fatigue. ...

Annoyingly, they even misstated the results on acupuncture in that last paragraph. Later in the article they basically retract that claim, stating: “[Dr. Briggs] conceded there were no big wins from its first decade, other than a study that found acupuncture helped knee arthritis. That finding was called into question when a later, larger study found that sham treatment worked just as well.”

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Posted: 25 June 2009 10:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Yes, Science-Based Medicine has devoted a number of posts to why this agency is a waste of taxpayer money and should be defunded. It is odd that under the misleading mantle of “health care freedom,” the very right wing folks who claim to be so worried about government spending will still defend a purely ideological boondoggle like this. *sigh* I can’t see that it will actually happen any time soon, but it will be a great day for science and public health if it ever does.

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Militant Agnostic: I don’t know, and neither do you!

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Posted: 25 June 2009 02:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I DID like that Novella gave information on how to report Chiropractors who make scurrilous claims of the ability to heal anything.

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Church; where sheep congregate to worship a zombie on a stick that turns into a cracker on Sundays…

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Posted: 25 June 2009 08:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I realize that alternative medicine is an accepted term in common usage that is not going away.  But, I dislike it intensely.
It helps set the stage for a separate standard of evaluation, just as they are attempting to promote through NCCAM.
There are perfectly acceptable ways to evaluate medicines without a separate entity.  If something has merit, put it through the scrutiny of the scientific process.  JUST AS ANY OTHER TREATMENT. 
It is either medicine with a recognized effect, or it is not effective medicine.  The only thing alternative about some treatments, such as homeopathy, is that they are an alternative to rational thinking.

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Posted: 25 June 2009 09:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Hawkfan - 25 June 2009 08:20 PM

I realize that alternative medicine is an accepted term in common usage that is not going away.  But, I dislike it intensely.
It helps set the stage for a separate standard of evaluation, just as they are attempting to promote through NCCAM.
There are perfectly acceptable ways to evaluate medicines without a separate entity.  If something has merit, put it through the scrutiny of the scientific process.  JUST AS ANY OTHER TREATMENT. 
It is either medicine with a recognized effect, or it is not effective medicine.  The only thing alternative about some treatments, such as homeopathy, is that they are an alternative to rational thinking.

NO, it’s either medicine or it’s NOT. I REFUSE to call ANYTHING ‘alternative’ med. It is either proved or not proved. If it has not been scientifically proven, it is not a medication.

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Church; where sheep congregate to worship a zombie on a stick that turns into a cracker on Sundays…

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Posted: 26 June 2009 04:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Hawkfan - 25 June 2009 08:20 PM

I realize that alternative medicine is an accepted term in common usage that is not going away.  But, I dislike it intensely.
It helps set the stage for a separate standard of evaluation, just as they are attempting to promote through NCCAM.
There are perfectly acceptable ways to evaluate medicines without a separate entity.  If something has merit, put it through the scrutiny of the scientific process.  JUST AS ANY OTHER TREATMENT. 
It is either medicine with a recognized effect, or it is not effective medicine.  The only thing alternative about some treatments, such as homeopathy, is that they are an alternative to rational thinking.

Agreed, Hawkfan. It can be difficult to break out of the common rut, though, sometimes.

The correct word is “quackery”.

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