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Old 07-09-2014, 10:49 PM
chirodrivencare is offline
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Response: Is chiropractic for real or just quackery?


Hi Cecil:
I would like to clear up some old wives tales about chiropractic that many people still believe to be true. Perhaps, after the clarification you will have a better understanding about the profession of chiropractic and the science behind what we do.
When many people think of a chiropractic adjustment they think of an “abrupt push or pull on the back or neck,” yet that is not all of the case. A chiropractor can perform an adjustment using his/her hands or a small instrument, such as an activator. In both manual adjusting and instrument-assisted adjusting motion is put into a joint, but never past the anatomical barrier. An adjustment is performed at a joint that has a subluxation, otherwise known as a joint that has a decreased range of motion. The chiropractic definition of subluxation is not to be confused with the medical definition of subluxation, for they are two different definitions. Adjustments do not only occur in the spine, but at any of the hundreds of joints in the body, including joints in your hands and feet.
History is filled with scientists that have since been proven wrong; well, even though many concepts that originated from the father of chiropractic, D.D. Palmer, still hold true, 119 years later, there are some concepts that have been proven wrong. Yet, unfortunately, these concepts gain the most public attention.
Chiropractors look at the body as a whole and evaluate each individual before treatment. We perform the exam to rule out any condition that may be beyond chiropractic care because not every patient is suited for chiropractic care. Every treatment is individualized for the patient, for instance, if a chiropractor orders radiographs and reads the radiograph to conclude the patient has osteoporosis, their treatment will include modalities that avoid a heavy thrust of a manual adjustment.
There is a lot of research stating the benefits to chiropractic care and the science that backs up chiropractic. Here are some for your enjoyment: Adjustments have been found to decrease nociceptive, or pain causing, input input to the spinal cord (Bartsch 2003). Measurable changes within a joint complex occur within one week of the start of lack of mobility of a joint (Lantz 1988). I encourage you to dabble in the plethora of other studies that will blow your mind!

Thanks for taking the time to read my response,

Karen

(ETA: Link To Column: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/...-just-quackery -- Rico)

Last edited by Rico; 07-10-2014 at 04:19 AM. Reason: Add Link to Column
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Old 07-10-2014, 04:22 AM
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Welcome to the Straight Dope Message Boards, Karen, glad to have you with us. For future reference, it's helpful to other readers if you provide a link to the column on which you're commenting. No problem, I edited your post to include that, and you'll know for next time.

Glad to have you on board.

Rico
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Old 07-10-2014, 04:29 AM
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I vote quackery.
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Old 07-10-2014, 07:29 AM
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Your definition of "subluxation" is different from the standard chiropractic one. If either of your references are available online, it would help to link to them so we can evaluate their worth.

Welcome to the SDMB.

Regards,
Shodan
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Old 07-10-2014, 07:51 AM
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Why can't it be both? FTR, I also believe a great deal of standard medicine is quackery as well.
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Old 07-10-2014, 08:55 AM
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Why can't it be both? FTR, I also believe a great deal of standard medicine is quackery as well.
1. Nailing down definitions furthers understanding.
2. "They do it too!" doesn't address the issue at hand-it is just a diversionary tactic.
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Old 07-10-2014, 09:15 AM
C K Dexter Haven is offline
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Cecil answer is:
Quote:
It depends on who's doing it and what kind of results you expect.
My personal experience has been a very positive result from a person with a doctorate in both Physical Therapy and Chiropractic.
  #8  
Old 07-10-2014, 09:45 AM
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100% quackery and fraud.
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Old 07-10-2014, 10:00 AM
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An adjustment is performed at a joint that has a subluxation, otherwise known as a joint that has a decreased range of motion. The chiropractic definition of subluxation is not to be confused with the medical definition of subluxation, for they are two different definitions.
A medical subluxation implies the presence of an incomplete or partial dislocation of a joint or organ. According to the wiki on Chiropractic Vertebral subluxation,
Quote:
In chiropractic, vertebral subluxation is a set of signs and symptoms of the spinal column. Those chiropractors who assert this concept also add a visceral component to the definition. Chiropractors maintain that a vertebral subluxation complex is a dysfunctional biomechanical spinal segment which is fixated. Chiropractors additionally assert that the dysfunction actively alters neurological function, which in turn, is believed to lead to neuromusculoskeletal and visceral disorders.
Where did you get your definition?

Last edited by Czarcasm; 07-10-2014 at 10:01 AM.
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Old 07-10-2014, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by chirodrivencare View Post
Hi Cecil:
I would like to clear up some old wives tales about chiropractic that many people still believe to be true...An adjustment is performed at a joint that has a subluxation, otherwise known as a joint that has a decreased range of motion. The chiropractic definition of subluxation is not to be confused with the medical definition of subluxation, for they are two different definitions.
Speaking of old wives' tales...

Subluxations in evidence-based medicine are real and can be seen on imaging studies. Chiropractic "subluxations" cannot be seen on imaging and have not been demonstrated to existl, which is why reform elements in chiropractic are trying (unsucessfully, so far) to eliminate this fantasy from the chiropractic curriculum. To quote chiropractor Sam Homola:

"An orthopedic subluxation, a true vertebral misalignment, or a mechanical joint dysfunction that affects mobility in the spine is not the same as a “chiropractic subluxation” that is alleged to cause disease by interfering with nerve supply to organs. Such a subluxation has never been proven to exist. There is no plausible theory and no credible evidence to support the contention that “nerve interference” originating in a single spinal segment can cause an organic disease."

http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/...pseudoscience/

As chiro subluxations do not exist, "adjustments" cannot resolve them, but are just another form of laying on of hands that some people find beneficial (along with massage and forms of physical therapy).
Quote:
History is filled with scientists that have since been proven wrong..
Chiropractors look at the body as a whole and evaluate each individual before treatment.
Two classics commonly expounded by proponents of woo. "Science was wrong before" does not excuse current chiropractic quackery. It is ironic that Karen approvingly cites the "father of chiropractic", D.D. Palmer, whose nonsense is still believed by many chiros today. Evidence-based medicine recognizes errors and is constantly revising and improving care, while chiros cling to concepts that were ridiculous over 100 years ago.
Quote:
There is a lot of research stating the benefits to chiropractic care and the science that backs up chiropractic.
...the overwhelming majority of which are in chiro journals, involve minimal numbers of patients and do not support the sweeping claims made for chiro treatments.

"In over a century, chiropractic research has produced no evidence to support the postulates of chiropractic theory and little evidence that chiropractic treatments provide objective benefits. Research on spinal manipulation is inherently difficult, because double blind studies are impossible and even single blind studies are problematic; a placebo response is hard to rule out.

There is good evidence that spinal manipulation therapy (SMT) is effective for some patients with low back pain but that it is not superior to other treatments. There is controversial evidence of lesser quality supporting the use of manipulation for neck pain and headaches. SMT is not exclusive to chiropractic: it is also used by physical therapists, doctors of osteopathy, and others. There is no acceptable evidence that chiropractic can improve the many other health problems it claims to benefit, from colic to asthma. There is no evidence to support the practice of adjusting the spines of newborns in the delivery room or providing repeated lifelong adjustments to maintain health or prevent disease."
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Old 07-13-2014, 12:19 PM
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There is a benefit to having someone pay attention to you, listen to your problems, and sincerely wish for you to get well. There's also a benefit to having someone place there hands on your body. It comforts and reassures the patient, makes them feel loved, gives them hope, and stimulates oxytocin.

You can get the same benefit from a hug as you get from a chiropractor.

Charging $150 for hugs and calling it medicine is quackery.
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Old 07-14-2014, 07:02 PM
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There is a benefit to having someone pay attention to you, listen to your problems, and sincerely wish for you to get well. There's also a benefit to having someone place there hands on your body. It comforts and reassures the patient, makes them feel loved, gives them hope, and stimulates oxytocin.

You can get the same benefit from a hug as you get from a chiropractor.

Charging $150 for hugs and calling it medicine is quackery.
So if our chiro only charges $20, then he's not a quack?
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Old 07-14-2014, 08:17 PM
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So if our chiro only charges $20, then he's not a quack?
No, just a lower class of quack.
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Old 07-14-2014, 11:02 PM
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Going down the row...

Quoting anything from sciencebasedmedicine.org is not stating any facts, but just opinions of Steven Novella and David Gorski. They may be doctors but so are 800,000 others that don't share their opinions. While not chiropractic yet, the Integrative Medicine at Yale University, where Dr. Novella is a professor, teaches Acupuncture. I might be wrong but I believe Novella once said if acupuncture worked then studies would be published. When confronted with the fact that 1000s are published in China annually, he replied that they aren't good studies because they prove Acupuncture works. Circular logic, I would say.

As to insurance companies paying chiropractors, yes maybe you can claim that doesn't prove anything...but what about state college sports programs, government run hospitals, and the VA system? Why do we accept Chiropractor services with tax payer money...could it be they have proven their worth with the consumer? The NBA, NFL, and the MLB also use them, are you assuming that jocks are so stupid they can simply be talked out of their pain?

Lastly, mentioning an Australia study of 99 patients is questionable. While I have never been to a chiropractor myself, I know many that have...including doctors. I might not make a chiropractor my first choice for the everyday flu, from what I have heard from other people, they would be my first choice for any back problems. I might check with an African Witchdoctor before I went to MD, as I have never heard a good result from someone coming back from a doctor's visit.
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Old 07-15-2014, 06:27 AM
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The fact is if chiropractic didn't work insurance wouldn't pay for it.
Nonsense. People whined hard enough to make it happen. As mentioned, chiropractors got lawmakers to write laws forcing coverage.

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Originally Posted by wissdok View Post
As to insurance companies paying chiropractors, yes maybe you can claim that doesn't prove anything...but what about state college sports programs, government run hospitals, and the VA system? Why do we accept Chiropractor services with tax payer money...could it be they have proven their worth with the consumer? The NBA, NFL, and the MLB also use them, are you assuming that jocks are so stupid they can simply be talked out of their pain?
One doesn't have to be stupid to fall for the placebo effect.

There is some benefit to spinal adjustment in easing back pain. It is similar in function to stretching and exercising and massage.
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Old 07-15-2014, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by wissdok View Post
Going down the row...

Quoting anything from sciencebasedmedicine.org is not stating any facts, but just opinions of Steven Novella and David Gorski. They may be doctors but so are 800,000 others that don't share their opinions.
Drs. Novella and Gorski, et al. are highly respected physicians who back up their opinions with evidence. Evidence=facts, and when facts are added to opinions, you get a better opinion, one that actually means something. IOW, the "opinions" expressed at SBM aren't argued ex culo as so many others are, including those from other MDs.

Quote:
While not chiropractic yet, the Integrative Medicine at Yale University, where Dr. Novella is a professor, teaches Acupuncture.
Irrelevant. Dr. Novella does not teach Integrative Medicine, acupuncture is not chiropractic, and the goal of the program at Yale will be to conduct rigorous academic research into alternative medicine. In any event, Yale's program is still expanding and, according to its website, is pretty limited to helping physicians and medical students improve their own practice by teaching people skills. Any plans for research are well into the future. Read your own "cites" before using them as an argument.

Quote:
I might be wrong but I believe Novella once said if acupuncture worked then studies would be published. When confronted with the fact that 1000s are published in China annually, he replied that they aren't good studies because they prove Acupuncture works. Circular logic, I would say.
I have no problem believing that Dr. Novella said this because it's a mantra of those involved in skepticism. That said, as an academic physician, he certainly knows a good study when he sees one because he cites them all the time. "Studies" based on anecdotes are not good studies; "studies" that don't control for such things as the placebo effect are not good studies; and "studies" that cherry-pick data so that they show what the author wants to show are not good studies. Novella knows this, which is why he dismisses these "studies".

Quote:
As to insurance companies paying chiropractors, yes maybe you can claim that doesn't prove anything...but what about state college sports programs, government run hospitals, and the VA system? Why do we accept Chiropractor services with tax payer money...could it be they have proven their worth with the consumer? The NBA, NFL, and the MLB also use them, are you assuming that jocks are so stupid they can simply be talked out of their pain?
First of all, can you please give me a cite that the VA is offering chiropractic as a system-wide option? I don't mean as a trial at certain hospitals, I mean as a regular benefit that is offered to every eligible veteran? For that matter, can you give me a cite about what percentage of publicly-owned hospitals offer chiropractic to all patients, not just as a trial?

Second of all, just because all of these entities offer it (assuming they even do) doesn't make it any more valuable. I'd be interested in knowing how many chiropractors use manipulation and other modalities specific to chiropractic, and how many keep it to heat, massage, exercises, and other physical therapy modalities.

Quote:
Lastly, mentioning an Australia study of 99 patients is questionable. While I have never been to a chiropractor myself, I know many that have...including doctors. I might not make a chiropractor my first choice for the everyday flu, from what I have heard from other people, they would be my first choice for any back problems. I might check with an African Witchdoctor before I went to MD, as I have never heard a good result from someone coming back from a doctor's visit.
That's funny, because if you're looking for anecdotes for people who got positive results from care they got from MDs, I've got a ton of those, too. Most of them required rest, pain medication, and a referral to a physical therapist or, in the case of a few of my friends, surgery. And I've met more than a few chiropractors who clearly don't know their way around a human body and who I wouldn't trust to give me first aid for a paper cut. So it works both ways.

Nice try, though.

Last edited by MsRobyn; 07-15-2014 at 06:49 AM.
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Old 07-15-2014, 07:41 AM
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I might be wrong but I believe Novella once said if acupuncture worked then studies would be published. When confronted with the fact that 1000s are published in China annually, he replied that they aren't good studies because they prove Acupuncture works. Circular logic, I would say.
Bullshit, I would say. Novella has never claimed acupuncture studies aren't any good because they show acupuncture works.

Many acupuncture studies clearly are flawed (and alt med studies out of China in general are notorious for being overwhelmingly biased towards positive effects while the same modalities get mixed or negative results in Western studies - see Bausell's "Snake Oil Medicine" for a detailed analysis of this phenomenon).

If you want to know what Novella has actually said about acupuncture (the conclusion being that any possible benefit of acupuncture is too tiny to have clinical significance), read this article.

And check out the Science-Based Medicine summary on acupuncture, which includes the following:

"It is important to evaluate the literature as a whole to see what pattern emerges. The pattern that does emerge is most consistent with a null effect – that acupuncture does not work.

Controlled clinical trials of actual acupuncture (uncontrolled trials should only be considered preliminary and are never definitive) typically have three arms: a control group with no intervention or standard treatment, a sham-acupuncture group (needles are placed but in the “wrong” locations or not deep enough), and a real acupuncture group. Most of such trials, for any intervention including pain, nausea, addiction, and others, show no difference between the sham-acupuncture group and the true acupuncture group. They typically do show improved outcome in both acupuncture groups over the no-intervention group, but this is typical of all clinical trials and is clearly due to placebo-type effects. Such comparisons should be considered unblinded because patients knew whether they were getting acupuncture (sham or real).

The lack of any advantage of real- over sham-acupuncture means that it does not matter where the needles are placed. This is completely consistent with the hypothesis that any perceived benefits from acupuncture are non-specific effects from the process of getting the treatment, and not due to any alleged specific effects of acupuncture. In other words, there is no evidence that acupuncture is manipulating chi or anything else, that the meridians have any basis in reality, or that the specific process of acupuncture makes any difference.

More recent trials have attempted to improve the blinded control of such trials by using acupuncture needles that are contained in an opaque sheath. The acupuncturist depresses a plunger, and neither they nor the patient knows if the needle is actually inserted. The pressure from the sheath itself would conceal any sensation from the needle going in. So far, such studies show no difference between those who received needle insertion and those who did not – supporting the conclusion that acupuncture has no detectable specific health effect.

Taken as a whole, the pattern of the acupuncture literature follows one with which scientists are very familiar: the more tightly controlled the study the smaller the effect, and the best-controlled trials are negative. This pattern is highly predictive of a null-effect – that there is no actual effect from acupuncture."


As I've said before on the Dope about chiropractic, there is evidence it may help some people with musculoskeletal pain, although not any more than other hands-on modalities like massage and forms of physical therapy. Where chiropractic fails is in its embrace (by many chiros) of quackery like naturopathy and homeopathy and gadget fakery, its opposition to quality evidence-based medicine (about half of chiros oppose vaccination, for instance), the insistence of many chiros that they are qualified to treat diabetes and other internal medical disorders, and its use of neck manipulation (rare but devastating strokes and death may result).
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Old 07-15-2014, 07:51 AM
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Going down the row...

Quoting anything from sciencebasedmedicine.org is not stating any facts, but just opinions of Steven Novella and David Gorski.
Heck, I can find dozens of cites. I tried to pick one which I thought people would have the fewest quibbles to and one which was generally accessible without the need for a special subscription.

Wikipedia

Quote:
Steven P. Novella (born July 29, 1964) is an American clinical neurologist and assistant professor at Yale University School of Medicine.
Quote:
David H. Gorski is an American surgical oncologist, Professor of surgery at Wayne State University, and a surgical oncologist at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, specializing in breast cancer surgery. He is a critic of alternative medicine and the anti-vaccination movement. He is the author of a blog, Respectful Insolence, and is the managing editor of the website, Science-Based Medicine
Yeah, I wouldn't trust either of these guys. What would they know about science or medicine?
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Old 07-14-2014, 03:51 PM
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The fact is if chiropractic didn't work insurance wouldn't pay for it.
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Old 07-14-2014, 04:05 PM
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The fact is if chiropractic didn't work insurance wouldn't pay for it.
It is reality that insurance pays for it. That does not make it a fact that it works.
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Old 07-14-2014, 04:06 PM
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The fact is if chiropractic didn't work insurance wouldn't pay for it.
Nonsense. Insurance pays for all sorts of stupid stuff, especially if it replaces or puts off more expensive treatments. See also: acupuncture, B12 shots, "therapudic touch," and homeopathic/naturalist treatments, all of which are often covered by insurance.
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Old 07-14-2014, 07:22 PM
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The fact is if chiropractic didn't work insurance wouldn't pay for it.
Actually, that might be decided by state statute. People who vote go to chiropractic clinics and some legislators may also be chiropractic patients too. In fact, this paper states that 45 states mandate insurance to cover chiropractic care.
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Old 07-14-2014, 08:16 PM
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The problem I have with chiropractics is the complete lack of evidence and the complete lack of blind studies to demonstrate any effectiveness.

The basic theory of chiropractics is full of what is obviously non-scientific based ideas of disease and physiology. As mentioned in the Straight Dope article, chiropractics states that most disease is the result issues with nerve flow. That the body has innate intelligence to heal itself, and this intelligence is transmitted by the nerves, and that this nerve flow can be blocked by misaligned vertebra. Even many chiropractors don't believe it. This is why there's a big fight between the straight (the true believers), and the mixers who believe that other treatments are necessary to help chiropractics work.

Even most patients don't believe in chiropractic theory. 60% of the visits to chiropractics are for skeletal muscle pain. Another 39% go for maintenance. Few go for diseases such as flu or cancer which chiropractic theory claims to also treat. (The article linked is very boastful of this fact, and crows about the [I]evidence based medicine[/] report. However, the report doesn't go into the effectiveness of the treatment, only why people are going).

And, it's not like chiropractics in benign. Many adjustments are actually quite dangerous. Neck manipulation is extremely dangerous and has been linked to strokes.

I will admit that maybe there might be something to chiropractics, even if the theory is all wrong. However, the way to show this is with a good double blind study. And, the two treatments must be equal in value to the patient. One study that showed moderate effects of chiropractics involved one group of patients being treated by chiropractors while the other group filled out a survey.

And, don't give me that bogus big medicine won't do a study. Hospitals now have chiropractic units (they'll do anything to make a buck). Chiropractics is a 14 billion dollar industry. It's big medicine. That's more than Norvartis' income in 2012 (9.6 billion). Chiropractics is a big industry and could sponsor a few good studies to prove its effectiveness.
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Old 07-15-2014, 07:59 AM
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If you are interested in the issue with many of these studies on acupuncture and chiropractics, check out Mark Crislip's various podcasts including his Quackcast on Supplements, Complementary and Alternative Medicine (SCAM).
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Old 07-15-2014, 03:09 PM
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Yale’s School of Medicine has over 2000 full-time professors and 2000 part-time instructors. While I don’t know when Dr Novella started at Yale, since 2006 the school has been teaching acupuncture. So to assume he speaks for the University, the staff, or anyone other than himself… is seeing what isn’t there. The fact he has his own podcast, doesn’t make him an “expert”.

People that Novella has criticized that have become renowned in medicine:
>Sanjay Grupta, CNN medical expert, who is the assistant chief neurosurgeon for Grady Hospital in Atlanta. Grady is the largest hospital in Georgia and one of the largest in the country. Dr Grupta was under consideration for Surgeon General.
>Deepak Chopra, new age guru, former Chief of Staff at New England Memorial Hospital.
> Andrew Weil, new age author, one of the directors of the University of Arizona Healthcare system.
> Dr. Mehmet Oz, tv show host, a department head at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. New York-Presbyterian is considered one of the top 10 hospitals of all the US.

These individuals weren’t one of a crowd, but established some known expertise in their own fields long before becoming famous. Novella being an assistant professor or even a professor at Yale of all places, doesn’t make someone an expert.

Mentioning Dr. Oz is very relevant to this issue. Several years ago, Dr. Oz invited Dr. Novella on his show after several of Novella’s complaints against Oz’s program. In the segment leading up to introducing Novella, Oz even showed criticism of himself by Dr. Gorski (a.k.a Orac). But when the interview started, both Oz and his other guests clearly had Novella outgunned. That could be expected as it was Oz’s show. Possibly from this encounter, Novella was quick to throw his two cents into the discussion months later when Oz was criticized for even mentioning the arsenic levels Apple Juice. ABC News did a special report with their expert and former classmate of Oz’s, Dr.Richard Besser. Dr. Besser, the former head of the CDC, confronted Oz and said that he wasn’t qualified to talk about arsenic, testing, or any other issue that he wasn’t an expert in. He remind the viewers that the FDA has clearly said Oz was wrong. Like Besser, Novella mentioned the debate and took Oz to task because Dr. Oz apparently really doesn’t understand science. Two months later the Consumer’s Union, publisher of Consumer Report, along with the FDA released statements that validated Dr. Oz’s report. The FDA said they had “mistakenly” been deleting failing samples from their reports. From this new information, both the Consumer’s Union and the FDA asked parents to reduce their daily serving of apple juice until better research and regulations can be obtained. Dr. Besser had Dr. Oz back on the news and apologized to Dr. Oz…sadly laying the blame on the FDA who provided him with the original information. He later said on the day of the original broadcast he had been on the phone with the FDA all day before he confronted Dr. Oz; they told him Dr. Oz didn’t have the right results. Now did Dr. Novella ever apologize or produce a correction? I think not. Did he spend anytime collecting evidence from any authority beforehand at the time of his blog? No, I believe he just used his “expert” opinion.

As to what I remember of Dr. Novella making his observation about acupuncture, it was in a televised debate. I don’t remember who he was debating, so it might be hard to find a online recording or video. But in a similar vein he said on one of his blogs about a released UN (the World Health Organization) study that supported acupuncture…” The fact that the architects of this review are all Chinese and clearly relied heavily upon Chinese research is not relevant because of the documented bias in the Chinese literature. “He goes on to say that another study showed that 99% of the Chinese studies are positive toward acupuncture; this of course can’t be true. But missing it why he assumes that Lancet, JAMA, and the New England Journal of Medicine regularly print negative stories about modern medicine; I am not aware they do.

Last edited by wissdok; 07-15-2014 at 03:14 PM.
  #26  
Old 07-16-2014, 07:51 AM
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People that Novella has criticized that have become renowned in medicine:
>Sanjay Grupta, CNN medical expert, who is the assistant chief neurosurgeon for Grady Hospital in Atlanta. Grady is the largest hospital in Georgia and one of the largest in the country. Dr Grupta was under consideration for Surgeon General.
>Deepak Chopra, new age guru, former Chief of Staff at New England Memorial Hospital.
> Andrew Weil, new age author, one of the directors of the University of Arizona Healthcare system.
> Dr. Mehmet Oz, tv show host, a department head at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. New York-Presbyterian is considered one of the top 10 hospitals of all the US.
You're citing Deepak Chopra, Andrew Weil and Dr. Oz as "renowned in medicine"? Seriously? A laughable New Age guru, an alt med supplement huckster and Dr. Oz, enabler of weight loss scams and faith healing?*

Even Sanjay Gupta, "renowned" "medical expert" is not immune to criticism, though it's unclear what he was criticized for.
Quote:
(Novella) goes on to say that another study showed that 99% of the Chinese studies are positive toward acupuncture; this of course can’t be true.
Actually, that sounds about right.

"...there is strong evidence that Chinese acupuncture studies are biased in favor of acupuncture. This evidence includes studies which have shown negative results of acupuncture research are almost never published, studies are often inaccurately reported as randomized when they aren’t, and systematic reviews often selectively search and report the literature in ways that are favorable to acupuncture. Yet another study has now been published which confirms that Chinese researchers simply do not produce or report negative results for acupuncture.

Yuyi Wang, Liqiong Wang, Qianyun Chai, Jianping Liu. Positive results in randomized controlled trials on acupuncture published in chinese journals: a systematic literature review. J Altern Complement Med 2014 May;20(5):A129

This review found 847 reported randomized clinical trials of acupuncture in Chinese journals. 99.8% of these reported positive results. Of those that compared acupuncture to conventional therapies, 88.3% found acupuncture superior, and 11.7% found it as good as conventional treatments. Very few of the studies properly reported important markers of quality and control for bias such as blinding, allocation concealment, and losses to follow-up."
Quote:
Novella being an assistant professor or even a professor at Yale of all places, doesn’t make someone an expert.
Novella doesn't ask us to believe him based on his job title. He supplies good evidence and relevant references to support his views. I'm not sure why you think denigrating his medical qualifications debunks his statements about alt med or disqualifies what Science-Based Medicine has to say about chiropractic.

*The Oz show's mistakes in analyzing juice samples are not excusable on the grounds that a small percentage of samples were later found to have elevated arsenic levels.

Last edited by Jackmannii; 07-16-2014 at 07:52 AM.
  #27  
Old 07-16-2014, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Jackmannii View Post
You're citing Deepak Chopra, Andrew Weil and Dr. Oz as "renowned in medicine"? Seriously? A laughable New Age guru, an alt med supplement huckster and Dr. Oz, enabler of weight loss scams and faith healing?*
I listed several individuals that had achieved some unique position of importance in their field before, and ever after, their fame. Simply being one of 4000 doctors at Yale isn't really a gauge to bestow "expertise."

Quote:
(Novella) goes on to say that another study showed that 99% of the Chinese studies are positive toward acupuncture; this of course can’t be true.
I am sorry you don't pick up on sarcasm. None of the conventional "peer-reviewed" Medical magazines here or in the UK, ever seem to print articles that goes against field. Why a double standard? Recently last year JAMA printed an article explaining that chiropractics do have a better track record with low back pain than conventional medicine. While it is noteworthy to have something like that admitted in a AMA publication, the fact that the same information could have been obtained from the AMA records presented into evidence in the Wilks v AMA (1987) more that 25 years ago, tends to show that the AMA doesn't say nice things about alternative medicine often.

Quote:
*The Oz show's mistakes in analyzing juice samples are not excusable on the grounds that a small percentage of samples were later found to have elevated arsenic levels.
Define "small percentage"? The original FDA study said no apple juice had high arsenic levels. After being given 'a heads up' by Consumers Union about their research, the FDA noticed that 8 failing samples had been deleted. That was 8 out of 70 samples....or around 11%. Consumer Union's research said 10%. Consumers Union/Consumer Report didn't say Dr. Oz was wrong, the FDA eventually said he was right, and as I listed, Dr. Richard Besser... former head of the CDC... also said he was right. No matter how you look at it, 10% isn't a truly small number.
  #28  
Old 07-16-2014, 01:11 PM
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Simply being one of 4000 doctors at Yale isn't really a gauge to bestow "expertise."
What is with your continued obsession about "expertise"? There are no PhD programs in recognizing quackery, but a solid medical background and knowledge of how to evaluate the scientific literature goes a long way. Your insistence on attempting to denigrate Dr. Novella does not obscure your inability to a) challenge the evidence presented in his articles and conclusions relating to acupuncture, or b) refute the evidence that much of chiropractic is useless and potentially harmful woo.
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I am sorry you don't pick up on sarcasm.
I'm sorry you're unable to admit you were wrong about Chinese acupuncture studies being overwhelmingly biased towards positive results.
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None of the conventional "peer-reviewed" Medical magazines here or in the UK, ever seem to print articles that goes against field.
Utter nonsense, seeing that mainstream therapies/drugs are constantly being reevaluated and sometimes discarded on the basis of new evidence. The same cannot be said for chiropractic treatments, homeopathy, acupuncture and other woo.

Unfortunately, I doubt any of this will change the mind of someone who apparently views Deepak Chopra as a towering figure in the world of medicine.

Last edited by Jackmannii; 07-16-2014 at 01:12 PM.
  #29  
Old 07-16-2014, 11:25 AM
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Coincidentally, I saw this article from Skeptical Inquirer in my Facebook feed this morning. I think it's very relevant to the discussion at hand. It's called "Why Bogus Therapies Seem to Work" and it goes into some detail about why people think SCAM therapies work.

In any event, the goal of the scientific skepticism movement, at least within the context of medicine, is to prove or disprove through empirical evidence from studies based on falsifiability, verifiability, and reproducibility the efficacy of a particular treatment. In other words, they want hard, quantifiable data before they will accept a claim. "This works because I say it does" doesn't cut it, nor does "It worked for my friend, so it'll work for me, too". "Treatment X worked in y percent of patients, while a placebo showed no statistical difference" works.

It's also worth noting that Drs. Chopra, Weill, and Oz have become very, very famous and very, very wealthy from peddling their bullshit. Dr. Oz, in particular, will shill for anyone who will pay him and he recently came under fire at a congressional hearing because of this. My own mother was taken for almost $100,000 by some otherwise legitimate MD for "stem cell transplants" that did nothing to improve her multiple sclerosis; if anything, she's worse, but I don't know that it's due to the "transplants".

If it'll put a buck in someone's pocket, it's worth thinking twice or three or four or six times about.
  #30  
Old 07-16-2014, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by MsRobyn View Post
Coincidentally, I saw this article from Skeptical Inquirer in my Facebook feed this morning. I think it's very relevant to the discussion at hand. It's called "Why Bogus Therapies Seem to Work" and it goes into some detail about why people think SCAM therapies work.
I've had that excellent article bookmarked for years, and send out the link to anyone who sends me a dose of woo.
  #31  
Old 07-16-2014, 01:10 PM
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Dr. Oz, in particular, will shill for anyone who will pay him and he recently came under fire at a congressional hearing because of this.

If it'll put a buck in someone's pocket, it's worth thinking twice or three or four or six times about.
First, I don't watch Dr. Oz, but I did watch the congressional hearing. At no time did Dr. Oz say he was paid to support products and NOBODY said he was. Your NBC article doesn't claim that either. The whole discussion was if it was "ethical" for Dr. Oz to promote products that had little scientific support and just have Dr. Oz's personal feeling. As for the subject matter, of all people to talk about ethics, Senator Claire McCaskill isn't one of them. After establish she had neglected to pay $500,000 of taxes on her personal plane that was used at taxpayers' expense, she got lucky her 2012 opponent made a stupid statement about rape that killed his campaign.

If we really want a government that works efficiently, should the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Insurance, that McCaskill chairs, not be addressing GM, Merck, or any number of the manufacturers that have produced items that have lead to innocent deaths? In all do respect, I think the worry that dieters are being mislead to drink green tea is slightly more hype that substance.
  #32  
Old 07-17-2014, 02:13 AM
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Chiroquacktic = quackery.
  #33  
Old 07-19-2014, 07:38 AM
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Since we're talking about accupuncture, here's links to a couple of columns that Cecil has written about it -

From 1984:

Do "auto-acupressure" and acupunture work?

Which concludes that it might be worth studying but had yet to be proven.


The second column, from 2000 is even less encouraging.

Does acupuncture really work?
Quote:
Acupuncture enthusiasts say it will cure everything from cholera to overbite, but few of these claims can be taken seriously. Acupuncture is widely used to treat addiction, for example, but there's little solid evidence it does any good.

It's not even clear acupuncture is effective in treating pain, its most basic use. Acupuncture isn't routinely used as an anesthesia substitute in China; reports to the contrary in the early 70s were based on observation of surgical patients who'd been selected for high pain tolerance and who in at least some cases were secretly given morphine. At best acupuncture can be said to alleviate rather than eliminate pain, and even then we don't know whether it's blocking the pain pathway or simply having a placebo effect.
  #34  
Old 07-20-2014, 10:34 AM
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I know a few people -- Westerners and Asians alike -- who swear they have received some level of real benefit from acupuncture. I don't like arguing with them about it, but I suspect it may be a placebo effect.
  #35  
Old 07-20-2014, 02:14 PM
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I'm actually kind of wondering if Martymer81 ever ran Chopra through the "30-second stupid test"; I wonder if he'd break SpiritScience's record of 11.
Um, what?

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He invited Mike Fucking Adams to do a segment on toxicity.
That's an unusual middle name.

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then you're running afoul of Scopie's General Law
Um, what?
  #36  
Old 07-20-2014, 07:55 PM
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Um, what?



That's an unusual middle name.



Um, what?
Hmm, need to work on communicating more clearly. The 30-second stupid test involves taking a 30-second clip from a person and then counting the number of things they get wrong and the number of statements that are just flat-out dumb.

I refer to him as Mike Fucking Adams to emphasize the point that this person is really really really dumb.

Scopie's General Law is a thing I kinda made up, described as the generalization of Scopie's Law, right after the statement:
"because you took this person/idea/claim/website seriously, your critical thinking faculties are clearly so woefully compromised you that you do not deserve to be taken seriously until you explicitly repudiate that position and do a hell of a lot of work showing us that you're willing and able to actually think again"
  #37  
Old 07-21-2014, 08:11 AM
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I recently transcribed an interview with a drug counselor who swears by acupuncture as a way to get a client to detox from opioids instantly. Of course, the client is also receiving Suboxone or methadone at the same time, so I'm inclined to think that it's more the Suboxone or methadone than it is the acupuncture. In fact, the one client who had a miracle cure from the acupuncture never came back for follow-up care, so it's unknown whether the guy stayed clean, found some other support group, or what.

I've also worked on a project involving something called the Emotional Freedom Technique, which involves "tapping" on various points along the upper body. During each tapping session, the person uses certain statements that follow the formula "Even though I have this problem, I deeply and completely accept myself". The project involved EFT applied to weight loss, and if someone does this instead of eating a candy bar, then it's done something positive for that person. There is no empirical evidence that this works, but some people may find it soothing enough to prevent impulsive behavior due to emotional stress. All the same, I wouldn't rely on this as a substitute for evidence-based therapy with a competent counselor.

I'm now very clear that I don't take on projects involving SCAM therapies. It's more important that I be able to look at myself in the mirror.
  #38  
Old 07-30-2014, 08:48 AM
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Since the OP cited a "lot of research" supposedly validating chiropractic treatments, it might be of interest to note that there's a new "study" claiming that chiropractic adjustments are good for treating autism - at least, if you can hold the kids down long enough.

"For the cervical group, these chiropractors were taking a plunger, sticking it between the mastoid process right near the ear and the back part of the mandible and hitting it to “impart energy,” all accompanied by unnecessary radiation exposure and trauma of being held down in order to obtain completely unnecessary X-rays of the cervical spine."

The article describing this latest travesty provides a good example of what passes for research in the chiro world.
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