Yet Another Alternative to Evidence Based Medicine
Eloquence based medicine
The year round suntan, carnation in the button hole, silk tie, Armani suit and tongue should all be equally smooth. Sartorial elegance and verbal eloquence are powerful substitutes for evidence.
New Zealand Medical Journal Vol 113 No 1122 p479
A comprehensive literature search has concluded that there is no strong evidence for the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating and rehabilitating musculoskeletal injuries when compared to other forms of treatment. This is similar to the conclusion of Ernst & White, who reviewed 600 references and concluded, “the only compelling evidence is that acupuncture is efficacious for the treatment of backache, nausea and dental pain.” (Acupuncture: a scientific appraisal, Ed. Ernst & White, Butterworth-Heinemann, 1999)
The National Council Against health Fraud (NCAHF) concluded in 1997 that “acupuncture is mostly a powerful placebo and/or a psychological aid for use in managing behavioural disorders.”
I intend writing to David Rankin at ACC Healthwise, to ask him how they will justify continuing to pay for unproven treatments such as acupuncture.
ACC News August 2002 Issue 48
NCAHF Newsletter Vol 20, No. 6
Water births have no proven benefit
Considering man’s status as a terrestrial mammal, the pre-occupation with water births has appeared on the scene like some kind of antediluvian regression. It seems like the more advances are made by medical science, the more people want to revert to medieval superstition or New Age silliness.
There have been few trials of water births but plenty of reports of near-drownings of newborn infants. Many years ago I was invited to attend one such birth, but my attendance was cut short when I asked if I could bring my dive gear and speargun. Those slippery newborns can be elusive! Seriously though, what’s next? Water births attended by orcas and dolphins at Napier’s Marineland? Hmmm, could be a great new tourist attraction. A clever dolphin could soon be trained to flick the newborn infant up out of the water and into the arms of the waiting midwife. There has to be an idea there for some tasteless new TV program.
Marlborough Express 12/8/02
As we all know, oxygen is essential for life. If something’s good for us it stands to reason that a lot more must be even better. This is the rationale for extra vitamins, food supplements and so on. Oxygen clinics are an excellent scam because if properly run there is an unlimited crowd of gullible customers. All you need is some convenient threat, for example air pollution, and you have a perfectly reasonable excuse to remedy that problem by offering people oxygen in pleasant and soothing surroundings. A clinic based in Calcutta offers twenty minutes of oxygen via nasal prongs “where customers can sink back into soft leather chairs, inhale oxygen flavoured with various scents and be lulled by soothing music.” There’s only one small problem. Our haemoglobin, the oxygen carrying pigment in the blood, is about 98% saturated with oxygen at the earth’s surface. Inhaling extra oxygen does not improve this saturation at all. In fact, I would bet anything you like that if the oxygen was substituted for clean air the subjects would feel just as refreshed and still cheerfully pay their 175 rupees. This is a classic placebo scam. Someone should start a similar clinic in Auckland aimed at the same sort of people who buy energy drinks. As WC Fields was fond of saying – never give a sucker an even break!
Imagine a doctor’s surgery. A patient complains of tender areas everywhere. This is what I call “und here” after the German syndrome of the same name. The patient has pain here, und here und here. The doctor examines the patient and finds that they are indeed tender in the areas where they say they are tender! This ridiculous folie-a-deux has been sturdily defended by a few remaining rheumatologists. It has taken a judge to rule “evidence of physical symptoms is not evidence of physical injury” and “is not compensable by ACC”.
Fibromyalgia (aka “fibro-sitis”) is a typical psychosomatic complaint where vague malaise and non-specific aches and pains get endorsed by a group of specialists. Skeptics noted that four fifths of patients were women and it is now recognized that the syndrome is indistinguishable from chronic fatigue syndrome. (Shorter Pg313)
ACC News September 2002 Issue 49
From Paralysis to Fatigue, Edward Shorter, 1992 The Free Press
Get an Educayshun??
Until I looked at the site www.massagecollege.co.nz I had no idea that ridiculous pseudo-science such as holistic pulsing and polarity therapy could be studied and rewarded by NZQA recognition. It gets worse. Student subsidies are available from Winz. I have written to both Winz and the NZQA asking how taxpayer funds can be wasted in this manner. Watch this space.
The Wisest Fool in New Zealand?
A GP colleague forwarded me a portion of letterhead from a doctor who practises chelation therapy as well as using Electro acupuncture of Voll. I have discussed this latter quackery before. It is an evolution of the “black box” and its use by registered medical practitioners should occasion a referral to the Medical Practitioners Disciplinary Committee. When I read the list of qualifications held by this doctor I was reminded of the famous description of James 1 of England as “the wisest fool in Christendom.”
Here is the list – the meaning of most is obvious: B.Med Sc. MBChB. Dip Bus Admin. MRNZCGP, ANZIM, BSc, Dip Obst., MRACGP, MSc, FAMS, BA, Dip AvMed, MRSNZ.
The Diary of Inspector Melas
I cannot reveal how this diary excerpt came into my possession but it gives an insight into police methods in relation to the Christchurch Civic Crèche case. I reproduce it verbatim. The original has been placed with my lawyer.
Monday That damned book has won a Montana award! Called a meeting to discuss how to counter these attacks on our integrity. Det. Dixon suggested contacting the Counsellor who has been seeing B. and making good progress with regression therapy. ACC have agreed to pay for a further 1500 counselling sessions. (1703 for the mother – she’s making good progress).
Tuesday Wonderful news. B. has recovered more memories. The tunnels. I knew they existed! Material very detailed – dates, times etc. Regular underground trips involving other Crèche children in the company of known Christchurch Satanists and pornographers. Contacted Karen who confirmed that these are absolutely classical descriptions of systematic child abuse. Ordered Det. Green to obtain ground-penetrating radar.
Wednesday Phoned by some loony in Fendalton who claimed his dog was psychic and could help our investigations. Told him we don’t use that sort of unscientific rubbish. 1430: Green phoned. Promising radar returns from under the Civic crèche. The tunnel complex!!! Decide to hold press conference after we have the evidence. Told them we were on the verge of a breakthrough. Great excitement.
Thursday Meet on site with excavation team. B. present with whanau. (All our supporters.) B. has apparently remembered “dancing, poos, clowns and somebody called Lara Croft”. (NB. not one of the original accused) Probably need Karen to interpret that when we interview the suspects again and lay charges. Det. Green offered to let me break into the tunnel. Most unfortunate – hit the main sewer. Bugger. Green apologetic. Told him to sort out the mess. B. very upset and will probably need more therapy. Went home and changed uniform. Cancelled press conference.
Friday Depressing day. On the phone mostly sorting out the repair of the sewer. Called up to see the Boss – he was not happy at all. No more tunnel searches. Found two copies of the book in a second-hand shop on my way home and burnt them. Cheered up a bit. Rem – must follow up the Lara Croft lead on Monday (and clowns).