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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
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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.
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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, 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, 07:02 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, 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 07-14-2014, 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.
  #22  
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).
  #23  
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?
  #24  
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 07-15-2014, 04:38 PM
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There is some benefit to spinal adjustment in easing back pain. It is similar in function to stretching and exercising and massage.
And, to be fair, there is a school of “Ethical Chiropractic” that does nothing else.
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Old 07-16-2014, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by wissdok View Post
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.
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(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."
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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.
  #28  
Old 07-16-2014, 11:24 AM
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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."

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(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.

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*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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
  #33  
Old 07-16-2014, 01:26 PM
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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?
You may not have noticed this, but we have government agency and Congressional committee oversight of such things, and extensive regulation of medicine and the pharmaceutical industry. What we don't have is any remotely comparable regulation of woo (supplement industry lack of regulation under DSHEA is but one example).

Responding to woo's deficiencies by pointing a finger at evidence-based medicine and in effect saying "they do it too" is not just inaccurate, it's a fallacious and invalid defense of woo.
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Old 07-16-2014, 02:04 PM
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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.
I don't know if Dr. Oz is paid directly for endorsements. However, Dr. Oz's production company, OzWorks (as well as Oprah's production company, Harpo Productions) gets a cut of the ad revenue on his show. Many of the products advertised are products that Dr. Oz endorses.
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Old 07-16-2014, 03:11 PM
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Sorry, it's quackery, straight up.

Last year, SWMBO was having back issues. I tried to get her to go see a real doctor, but a friend talked her into going to a chiropractor. Did the X-ray, the whole 9 yards. After a month of treatment, she was getting worse, not better and finally went to a real back doctor.

Turned out that she had a broken back. Fracture between L4 and L5, which wound up requiring major surgery to pin and refuse. The chiro was making it worse, not better. I'm not a doc, but even I could see the problem on the X-ray, which makes me ask why the chiro didn't.
  #36  
Old 07-16-2014, 03:26 PM
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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...
I seem to miss where I degraded Dr. Novella. All I have said was... he shouldn't be proclaimed an expert. Just because you may love him, doesn't make him an expert. Simply proclaiming things you don't like as "quackery" don't make you( or him) an expert. Again Yale School of Medicine, where Novella teaches, has acupuncture classes...if Yale thought he was an expert, why do they teach acupuncture? Surely his "expert" opinion would sway the leadership at Yale.

Another colleague of Dr Novella often cited in quackery discussion is retired Dr. Stephen Barrett who runs "Quackwatch". While he is clearly education with a doctorate from Columbia University and a man who should be respected, the courts have repeatedly said that simply being a consumer advocate doesn't qualify someone as a "expert". The term expert is bestowed on someone by an authority within the field of study. Neither Dr. Barrett, nor Dr. Novella have ever mention an authority that named them experts. In fact, unlike Dr. Barrett, I personally have never heard Dr. Novella say he was anyway.

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I'm sorry you're unable to admit you were wrong about Chinese acupuncture studies being overwhelmingly biased towards positive results.
I never said they weren't, the simply fact is... that is what medical, industrial, or trade journals do. For Dr. Norvella to say "I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!" is very insincere. The stories of faulty medicine, bad techniques, or criticism against medicine are not the hallmarks of either JAMA or New England Journal of Medicine. How many drug recalls can be traced back to published articles? Did shock therapy and lobotomies come to the end because of an article? The accepted focus of all trade journals is to market what is coming in the industry, not to criticizes every aspect of the industry.


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Originally Posted by Jackmannii View Post
Responding to woo's deficiencies by pointing a finger at evidence-based medicine and in effect saying "they do it too" is not just inaccurate, it's a fallacious and invalid defense of woo.
Again you are off target. I clearly said that there were more important subjects that committees in Congress could be dealing with. While popularizing dubious weight-loss programs may be questionable, there is an assumed rule of prioritizing issues over their importance. Really did Congress ask Dr. Oz to appear because of the subject or just the face-time on television for the committee? If they invited the head of Merck or Pfizer to appear, would anyone have noticed?

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Originally Posted by Qazwart
Many of the products advertised, are products that Dr. Oz endorses.
I cannot speak for all products mentioned on Dr. Oz show, but the products mentioned in the congressional hearing were not paid advertisers. That was made clear in the discussion.
  #37  
Old 07-16-2014, 03:28 PM
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Oz says he doesn't get paid for product endorsements, and actually claims they aren't endorsements at all, which is a bit of a stretch.

"McCaskill showed a clip from one of Oz's commercials in which he says, "It's green coffee beans, and when turned into a supplement, this miracle pill can burn fat fast. It's very exciting and it's breaking news."

http://www.wjla.com/articles/2014/06...#ixzz37fFO60Wj

Oz has called Garcinia cambogia “a revolutionary fat buster”.

Sales of neti pots spiked tremendously after Oz touted them on his show.

Oz's show is potentially worth tons of money to sellers of supplements and products. And people tune in to see what the next "revolutionary" supplement will be, which boosts ad revenues, and in turn makes sure Oz keeps getting paychecks and media attention.
  #38  
Old 07-16-2014, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by wissdok View Post
Simply proclaiming things you don't like as "quackery" don't make you( or him) an expert.
Nope, it's the evidence (which you ignore) that does that.
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Again Yale School of Medicine, where Novella teaches, has acupuncture classes...if Yale thought he was an expert, why do they teach acupuncture?
A number of med schools have sunk to teaching or offering woo. It's big business and they either want to get in on the action or at least be seen as being sympathetic to what some patients want. It doesn't mean such therapies work as promised. Arguing from popularity or based on what an "authority" says doesn't wash if the evidence isn't there.
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Another colleague of Dr Novella often cited in quackery discussion is retired Dr. Stephen Barrett who runs "Quackwatch".
Barrett is a good example of a quackery debunker whose enemies concentrate on attacking him personally and denigrating his qualifications, while ignoring the accurate, detailed and well-referenced articles that Quackwatch produces.
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How many drug recalls can be traced back to published articles?
I refer you to a favorite altie meme, that of Vioxx - taken off the market thanks in part to journal articles and criticism within the medical community.
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I clearly said that there were more important subjects that committees in Congress could be dealing with.
Yep, we haven't achieved world peace yet, so everything else should be off the table.

You are way, way too impressed with dubious authority figures, and pay way too little attention to solid scientific evidence.
  #39  
Old 07-16-2014, 04:01 PM
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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.
As others have noted, Dr. Oz gets a cut of the advertising revenue from the show, and he most likely receives income from the production company and/or the distributor. Since advertising revenue is directly related to audience, and his is pretty big and demographically desirable (women 25-54), manufacturers of woo are eager to advertise on his show. It's a quid pro quo: You deliver the audience, we'll deliver the revenue. By mentioning the products on his show, he's endorsing them, and even if he doesn't tell his viewers his approved sources, he's still attaching himself to them and he's profiting handsomely from them.

Quote:
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.
We do have that. It's a highly specialized agency called the Food and Drug Administration, and they have the authority to require that a drug have what's called a "black box warning" for dangerous side effects; require certain special conditions, such as requiring that users of known teratogenic drugs be on contraception and that female patients be tested monthly for pregnancy; or the drug can be taken off the market entirely if it's deemed not to be safe and effective.

Conversely, dietary supplements don't have the same protections; the best anyone can do is hope the Federal Trade Commission can make a case for fraud and deception if they don't work. This is after the fact, by the way; they can't prevent a product from entering the marketplace like the FDA can. And therein lies the rub. A drug like Belviq requires a crapton of testing and development before it can be approved, and it can still be taken off the market if there are problems with it. A supplement like Garcinia requires no such testing and if there are problems, the manufacturer might only get a slap on the wrist. Yet Dr. Oz is perfectly happy to endorse Garcinia as this week's "miracle" to the hordes of women who are begging the manufacturer to take their money.

And you're probably asking yourself "Well, what's the harm? Garcinia is just mangosteen, and mangosteen is a fruit. How bad can that be?" It's probably not harmful in and of itself unless the fruit is tainted with something that shouldn't be there. (BTW, the links go to food products, which the FDA regulates, not to supplements, which they don't. My point is that these things are sometimes tainted with drugs, pathogens, or allergens.)

The real problem is that the supplements that Dr. Oz pimps don't work at causing weight loss or anything else, and he's deluding his audience into believing that they do. The only real solution for obesity is following a healthy diet and exercising. Any drug that helps weight loss simply makes you not hungry so you don't overeat; it's also used in conjunction with a medically-supervised diet program. It's not to make you magically lose weight while you keep stuffing your face with junk.

Caveat emptor, my friend. Caveat emptor.
  #40  
Old 07-16-2014, 04:40 PM
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The real problem is that the supplements that Dr. Oz pimps don't work at causing weight loss or anything else, and he's deluding his audience into believing that they do. The only real solution for obesity is following a healthy diet and exercising. Any drug that helps weight loss simply makes you not hungry so you don't overeat; it's also used in conjunction with a medically-supervised diet program. It's not to make you magically lose weight while you keep stuffing your face with junk.
Not to mention, legitimate weight-loss drugs, like topiramate, or phentermine, are PRESCRIPTION drugs. Anyone taking them will be under a doctor's care already, and not going to a TV doctor for advice.
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Old 07-16-2014, 09:35 PM
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"McCaskill showed a clip from one of Oz's commercials in which he says, "It's green coffee beans, and when turned into a supplement, this miracle pill can burn fat fast. It's very exciting and it's breaking news."
The "commercial" mentioned in your article was from a online website that just posted a clip from the Dr. Oz show on its website. It was presented here at 2:00 of a 1:38:53 C-Span episode. If you do watch the whole hearing, it is made perfectly clear if you didn't automatically get it from the website clip, that Dr. Oz didn't have anything to do with it; that is the internet in all its glory.

Again at the hearing there was nobody claiming Dr. Oz personally, or through his show, profited from any of the three products that had been mentioned on his show. All three weren't patented products and it is made even more clear that the green tea advertisement that include Dr. Oz was from a company that entered the market after the show aired. Nowhere did the committee or anyone else claim, that any of these products indirectly bought commercial time from Dr. Oz or Harpo Production. In what the committee said about Dr. Oz, all the advertisements were from online sources, not broadcast media.

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A number of med schools have sunk to teaching or offering woo. It's big business and they either want to get in on the action or at least be seen as being sympathetic to what some patients want. It doesn't mean such therapies work as promised. Arguing from popularity or based on what an "authority" says doesn't wash if the evidence isn't there.
Georgetown also has a program. Harvard, Columbia, and Emory offer alternate medicine courses as do most medical schools. Are you assuming that there is a grand conspiracy of college administrators that no "expert" has any control over? One would think if major universities that produce a good number of America's great doctors also had "questionable" alternative medicine programs that there would be a good deal of controversy. What network is carrying this story?

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Barrett is a good example of a quackery debunker whose enemies concentrate on attacking him personally and denigrating his qualifications, while ignoring the accurate, detailed and well-referenced articles that Quackwatch produces.
Several years ago researchers at Penn State did check Barrett's website and concluded that of 5 random subjects, he failed to cite accurate studies, current medical knowledge, and all were mostly his personal opinion. Dr. Barrett gave up his license in 1993, and has admitted in court hearing that he hasn't taken any continuing education classes in his specialty of Psychology, or even medicine in general. While he has claimed he could regain his license at anytime, both his former state of Pennsylvania and his current home of North Carolina, both have said it ISN'T just paying a license fee. He has a series of legal loses in California that the courts didn't recognize his "expertise" and also got the same response from his former home of Pennsylvania.
I personally haven't check "quackwatch" in several years, but he once claimed that the Atkins diet worked because after a couple of days people get sick and stop eating altogether... which in fact made it a simple calorie diet. That of course would be a surprise to the late Dr. Atkins, the AMA, and Consumers Union which had been researching the diet for over 40 years.

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I refer you to a favorite altie meme, that of Vioxx - taken off the market thanks in part to journal articles and criticism within the medical community.
I think you have your sources confused, as it was the LEGAL community that got the ball rolling. They received some help when Circulation (the journal for the American Heart Association) ran a study supporting the legal case. Later help came from the Wall Street Journal that release their story a few days after the recall. It may have been that story, that forced the recall.

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Originally Posted by MsRobyn
Conversely, dietary supplements don't have the same protections
I didn't know where to chop your speech. First alternative medicines do get regulated by the federal government. All natural products are what are not regulated by the FDA, but simply from the Department of Agriculture and the FTC. Like anything else is America, fly-by-night companies do come and go. To blame Dr. Oz, your local health food store, or even Whole Foods is very misleading. Do you really need to blame Walmart or Costco for every product recalled from their shelves? Dr. Oz has made (according to Wikipedia) over 800 episodes of which, in the passing views I've got of his show, he mentions 5 or 6 product. Assuming he has had the same format the whole run...that is at least 4000 products mentioned. If the three attending Senators at the hearing( there are 15 members of the Committee) can only find 3 items to mention to Dr. Oz, I think he should get an award, not a criticism from Senator McCaskill. It was stated throughout the hearing that the major problem in weight-loss, and in medicine in general, is that with the growth of the internet, cable television, and talk radio, along with newspapers, magazines, and conventional television...there are not enough self policing media personal and the government is undermanned. The fact McCaskill's soundbite got on the nightly news is more about the fame of Dr. Oz than of what the Senator said.
  #42  
Old 07-16-2014, 11:33 PM
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Not to mention, legitimate weight-loss drugs, like topiramate, or phentermine, are PRESCRIPTION drugs. Anyone taking them will be under a doctor's care already, and not going to a TV doctor for advice.
Topiramate (Topamax) was never approved for weight loss. Was it? I know it's an anti-seizure medication prescribed to epileptics and it's used 'off-label' for migraine prevention (that's why I take it). But as far as I knew, it had too many side effects to be considered a safe weight loss drug, even by prescription. Did something change?
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Old 07-16-2014, 11:35 PM
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Not to mention, legitimate weight-loss drugs, like topiramate, or phentermine, are PRESCRIPTION drugs. Anyone taking them will be under a doctor's care already, and not going to a TV doctor for advice.
Topiramate (Topamax) was never approved for weight loss. Was it? I know it's an anti-seizure medication prescribed to epileptics and it's used 'off-label' for migraine prevention (that's why I take it). But as far as I knew, it had too many side effects to be considered a safe weight loss drug, even by prescription. Did something change? (I do know it was originally developed as a weight loss drug but was never approved as such.)
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Old 07-17-2014, 02:13 AM
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Chiroquacktic = quackery.
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Old 07-17-2014, 07:49 AM
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One would think if major universities that produce a good number of America's great doctors also had "questionable" alternative medicine programs that there would be a good deal of controversy. What network is carrying this story?
Networks, major newspapers and online news and blog sources have all covered this story. From NBC News:

"Teaching about alternative medicine implies acceptance of it and "potentially creates more gullibility and less critical, objective thinking," said Dr. Wallace Sampson, editor of the journal Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine. "This will be felt in many indirect ways," he said, including judgment errors, misguiding people with severe diseases, and lax standards and laws.

The real issue is not whether alternative medicine should be taught, but how, said Dr. Joseph Jacobs, former head of the federal Office of Alternative Medicine.

"The parallel here is creationism versus science," Jacobs said. "If the topic is taught objectively, to help students communicate with patients, it's a good idea. If it's being taught as part of an advocacy, for acceptance among physicians, I think that's a little bit bogus."


It is not a valid defense of woo to say that since some med schools teach it, it's OK. The standard is whether it's evidence-based medicine. It's not.

I figured you'd start trashing Dr. Stephen Barrett instead of addressing any Quackwatch articles. This is a common altie ploy, including making insinuations about him losing his medical license. Barrett in fact is licensed in at least one state (you can look it up online), and never had a med license taken away. Like a lot of retired physicians, he did not renew his home state license (there's little point in paying renewal fees if you're not in active practice). I personally decided years ago not to keep paying thousands of dollars to maintain active licenses in states where I no longer work. Quackwatch's enemies (quacks who do not like being labeled for what they are) like to pretend that Barrett was "de-licensed", which is false.

Feel free to cite any Quackwatch articles on acupuncture or chiropractic and show where you think they're wrong or unfair. Or post evidence that Barrett was ever disciplined by a medical board. But I don't think you can. Vague attempts at character assassination seems to be more your speed.

Regarding Vioxx, I refer you to easily found online sources for info on the VIGOR study, the New England Journal of Medicine's role in criticizing Merck and other medical community action that brought this story to public attention.

Your lack of knowledge of deficiencies in supplement regulation is too extensive to address in a forum like this. You should at least know that "natural products" do not have to be proven safe and effective like pharmaceutical drugs, and that the FDA can only act once problems arise. An astounding number of health claims are made by makers of such products, despite federal law that's supposed to limit them. It's a 32 billion dollar annual industry in the U.S. and traditional drug manufacturers are increasingly getting into the market because the lack of regulation and big profits make it attractive. And yes, it's a problem worthy of attention - even if you want to point fingers everywhere else as a distraction.
  #46  
Old 07-17-2014, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by wissdok View Post
The "commercial" mentioned in your article was from a online website that just posted a clip from the Dr. Oz show on its website. It was presented here at 2:00 of a 1:38:53 C-Span episode. If you do watch the whole hearing, it is made perfectly clear if you didn't automatically get it from the website clip, that Dr. Oz didn't have anything to do with it; that is the internet in all its glory.
It's very clear that you didn't read my post. To cut through the shit, woo sells, and it sells big. People want in on that action, so they sell stuff that is worthless or dangerous for no other reason than to make money. Dr. Oz, in particular, is being made an example of because he's an MD who is associated with a major research facility. He's also responsible for peddling woo and walking it back when he's called on it. Yes, he's got a profit motive. It's called "advertising revenue" which comes from something called an "audience" that generates "ratings". The higher the ratings, the more the advertising costs. Oz has every incentive to keep ratings as high as possible so his show and media empire make as much money as possible. He does this by peddling crap that he knows doesn't work, but that his credulous audience wants to hear and believe in. It doesn't matter who cuts the check that lines his pockets, he still profits off what he says. When he says that he's not responsible for other people using his identity to sell this crap, he's being disingenuous.

Quote:
Again at the hearing there was nobody claiming Dr. Oz personally, or through his show, profited from any of the three products that had been mentioned on his show. All three weren't patented products and it is made even more clear that the green tea advertisement that include Dr. Oz was from a company that entered the market after the show aired. Nowhere did the committee or anyone else claim, that any of these products indirectly bought commercial time from Dr. Oz or Harpo Production. In what the committee said about Dr. Oz, all the advertisements were from online sources, not broadcast media.
I never said any of that, and I have seen the video of the hearing. I don't watch the Dr. Oz show, so I have no idea who advertises on it; a quick Google search didn't turn up anything useful. That said, Dr. Oz is a brand. People are going to associate anything he does or says with him, whether he profits directly or not. The fact is that he himself has claimed that certain products are "miracle" weight loss products. He's also got this crap all over his website; a brief look-see this morning gave me a slide show that gave weight loss advice that was either obvious (avoid processed foods), contradictory (weigh yourself regularly and track your weight in a journal/avoid weighing on a scale and use a tape measure to track your progress), or questionable (eating red pepper flakes in the morning helps reduce hunger during the day; I do use red pepper flakes on easy-to-overindulge foods like pizza and pasta when I eat out, but the effect seems to last for the meal, not the rest of the day.) I know he doesn't write most of this stuff, and I don't know who does, but it's his name on the show, the website, the magazines, the books, and who knows what else. He gets a check from some of it, and he's crying all the way to the bank.


Quote:
Georgetown also has a program. Harvard, Columbia, and Emory offer alternate medicine courses as do most medical schools. Are you assuming that there is a grand conspiracy of college administrators that no "expert" has any control over? One would think if major universities that produce a good number of America's great doctors also had "questionable" alternative medicine programs that there would be a good deal of controversy. What network is carrying this story?
What are they teaching? Are they teaching SCAM as a legitimate form of treatment, or are they offering training so that new physicians know about them and can address them with their patients? Yale, to use the cite you initially gave, plans to conduct serious, rigorous research into the efficacy of SCAM therapies. Just because something is taught doesn't mean that the school teaching it is advocating for its use. They're teaching it because it's something that comes up frequently in daily practice and it makes sense to learn about them. Even if the physician in question actually uses these therapies in practice, a responsible physician can stop the SCAM if the patient turns out to have a more serious illness, as opposed to the chiropractor who wants to keep the patient.

Quote:
I didn't know where to chop your speech. First alternative medicines do get regulated by the federal government. All natural products are what are not regulated by the FDA, but simply from the Department of Agriculture and the FTC.
No, they aren't. The FDA regulates drugs before they enter the market. Every drug is required to go through several stages of testing and clinical trials before it is allowed to enter the marketplace; if a drug fails any of these trials, it's not approved for use in the United States. The FDA also monitors drugs for problems after they enter the marketplace, so action can be taken if there is, in fact, a problem. Finally, the FDA also monitors manufacturing practices so that if a factory is having quality control issues, those drugs can be pulled off the shelves.

Supplements and most devices receive no such regulation. Anyone can put anything in a pill and claim it as a supplement and receive no oversight at all. Consequently, a manufacturer can contaminate his product with who-knows-what and it won't be caught until the manufacturer is sued or someone files a claim with the FTC. At best, you've wasted your money. At worst, you can die. (The FDA was involved with this because it regulates drugs. Sibutramine, aka Meridia, is no longer sold in the United States and it was a category IV controlled substance when it was.) These are examples of the more egregious offenses; other supplements can be contaminated with fillers and extra ingredients that some people are sensitive or allergic to. Drug manufacturers are required to list all ingredients; supplement manufacturers aren't. Again, caveat emptor.

Quote:
Like anything else is America, fly-by-night companies do come and go. To blame Dr. Oz, your local health food store, or even Whole Foods is very misleading. Do you really need to blame Walmart or Costco for every product recalled from their shelves? Dr. Oz has made (according to Wikipedia) over 800 episodes of which, in the passing views I've got of his show, he mentions 5 or 6 product. Assuming he has had the same format the whole run...that is at least 4000 products mentioned. If the three attending Senators at the hearing( there are 15 members of the Committee) can only find 3 items to mention to Dr. Oz, I think he should get an award, not a criticism from Senator McCaskill. It was stated throughout the hearing that the major problem in weight-loss, and in medicine in general, is that with the growth of the internet, cable television, and talk radio, along with newspapers, magazines, and conventional television...there are not enough self policing media personal and the government is undermanned. The fact McCaskill's soundbite got on the nightly news is more about the fame of Dr. Oz than of what the Senator said.
Bullshit. There is a whole body of American law that has to do with who can exploit one's identity for commercial gain. Dr. Oz, as a brand, presumably has a marketing and legal staff who have to know this and who could have taken steps to stop the misuse of his name and keep control of his brand. His claiming ignorance now doesn't speak well of him, his staff, or his reputation as a serious physician.

Again, woo sells, and my friend Jackmanii told you how much it makes every year. Costco, Walgreens, Wal-Mart, and my corner pharmacy all sell this crap because they want to run a profitable business. If their customers want crap, they'll sell crap. I think most of it's worthless, so I don't bother with any of it; I've got better things to spend my money on. But I'm also averse to risking injury because I have no idea what's in those pills or the competence of the chiropractor who wants to crack my neck. Give me solid evidence-based medicine that is proven to work.

I'm also going to leave this here. It's worth the ten minutes and change.

SPOILER:
It's Tim Minchin's "Storm". Y'all are slippin'!
  #47  
Old 07-18-2014, 12:49 AM
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"Teaching about alternative medicine implies acceptance of it and "potentially creates more gullibility and less critical, objective thinking," said Dr. Wallace Sampson, editor of the journal Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine. "This will be felt in many indirect ways," he said, including judgment errors, misguiding people with severe diseases, and lax standards and laws.
First Jackmannii, Dr. Sampson was addressed indirectly in the before- mentioned Barrett back-story. In the National Council Against Health Fraud Inc. v. King Bio(2001) case, NCAHF, that both were members, they “reluctantly” testified for. Why reluctantly? The NCAHF position was as the Plaintiff in a fraud case, they didn’t have to prove anything; the Defendants had to show they didn’t operate fraudulently. The lower court and the appellate court (that NCAHF later appealed the case too) both said otherwise. The Plaintiff is always required to show wrong-doing; the Defendant is always assumed innocent until proven otherwise.

It was after this decision of the court that both Dr. Sampson and Dr. Barrett testified as “expert”. In the lower court ruling the judge ruled that neither testimony qualified them as “expert”. Dr. Sampson had taught a course in the quackery of alternative medicine, but most of his instruction was based on his education as a doctor. He had no training in pharmaceuticals and didn’t know any government regulations. He didn’t have any knowledge of what requirements FDA had for King Bio’s products and was unaware that that the FDA has a board that set the requirement for products similar to the defendants. King Bio’s productions were all approved by the FDA.

The judge really took issue with Dr. Barrett because he said... he was not only an “expert”, but a consultant for the FDA. But in testimony, his “expertise” of FDA matter was simply writing complaint/advice letters and emails to FDA officials. He was not employed by the FDA and, never was apparently contacted by the FDA, so the term “expert” or “consultant” doesn’t apply. Like Dr. Simpson, he claimed he had the education to identify fraud, but could not explain why equally educated doctors for the Defendant and the FDA have different opinions.

Barrett, Sampson, and NCAHF lost at the district court level and lost unanimously at the Appellant level.

Seeing this came up, Barrett is also famous for his role in the Barrett v Rosenthal(2006) California Supreme Court case. In this embarrassing case, Dr. Barrett and two others sued a Oregon woman that had posted unflattering statements about Dr. Barrett and another Plaintiff (neither the courts nor the third plaintiff can explain his inclusion). For reasons never explained, the case was filed in California, which has a very popular anti-SLAPP law which protected free speech rights on the internet. Barrett’s claim was the internet should be treated like newspapers and magazines which require publishers to provide proof before publishing. AOL, Microsoft, Time-Warner, Disney, and almost every major internet entity submitted briefs supporting Rosenthal. Barrett lost at the district level, unanimously at the appellate level, and again unanimously before the California Supreme Court. In all three courts, the justices said that even without the anti-SLAPP law, in dealing with comments made about Barrett, free speech was the law of the land.

In 1999, Dr. Barrett’s website ‘quackwatch’ was mentioned by the federal government on “places citizens could find health information online.” Dr. Barrett could have walked away with that honor; but he didn’t. He claimed that the Department of Health and Human Services endorsed his claims; which they were quick to deny. As the HHS said , his website was recommended because he had information while others didn’t…not necessarily because it was right. It was the following year Dr. Barrett sued Rosenthal, and the year after that, King Bio. When people started to investigate him and his website(s), neither is credible.

Cecil linked to quackwatch in a March 2000 article on acupuncture. Penn & Teller showed him during a Bullsh*t episode on alternative medicine in 2003. But that was then; now would they really benefit for his support? I don’t think so.

And lastly, Dr. Barrett doesn’t claim he has a license; he claims he is retired and can easily get it renewed. Again both Pennsylvania and North Carolina said it isn’t simply paying a fee.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackmannii
Regarding Vioxx, I refer you to easily found online sources for info on the VIGOR study, the New England Journal of Medicine's role in criticizing Merck and other medical community action that brought this story to public attention.
No it did not; in fact the New England Journal of Medicine was criticized for withhold data that would have proven a problem for Merck. The NEJM study was published in 2000, the Circulation study in 2004. When did Vioxx get recalled? 2004.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MsRobyn
To cut through the shit, woo sells, and it sells big.
The purpose of a Congressional hearing, or any hearing, is to solicit testimony to facilitate government function. In more commonly used diction, “it’s to gain information; not for political speech making.” Dr. Oz apparently knew what he was going to be questioned about and brought studies to verify his original claims. Senator McCaskill spent most of her allotted time directed at Dr. Oz, while her two main colleagues did divide their questions up among the other witnesses. Re-watching the hearing, the other three Senators present, directed most of their questions to online advertisement, just as the ad featuring Dr. Oz illustrated. The FTC representative stated the illegal green coffee marketer was a fly-by-night advertiser. Senator McCaskill was the only member given three rounds of questions, of which two was criticism of Dr. Oz, not questions. One other senator reminded everyone that as politicians they are very aware of how sound bites and clips can be taken out of context. To say he sells woo, isn’t claimed by any of the other senators or committee witnesses. Dr. Oz said that maybe he needs to name specific manufacturers and retailers in the future, which the senators agree along with the FTC representative in her non-official opinion. Senator McCaskill complained in her opening statement that the media was asked to attend, but they declined. The slight detail missing was that CBS News reported on the green coffee bean story 6 months before the green coffee episode of the Dr. Oz show. ABC News and Fox News featured the story online at the time also. Would she have taken on CBS, ABC or Fox if they had come to the hearing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MsRobyn
Yale, to use the cite you initially gave, plans to conduct serious, rigorous research into the efficacy of SCAM therapies.
From the website: In November 2006, Yale joined the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine in an acknowledgement of the commitment of individuals at Yale to education, research, and clinical practice of complementary and alternative medicine.

If after nearly 8 years, Yale and the other 56 universities haven’t been able to conclusively prove that alternative medicine, like acupuncture is bogus…one of two stories are possible…either Yale and these other “5” star schools(Harvard, Columbia, Georgetown, Stanford etc.) don’t do a good job of teaching research OR they have found something in alternative medicine that does work. I’ll leave it to you to make the call.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MsRobyn
Supplements and most devices receive no such regulation.
As mentioned in the King Bio case and the Senate Hearing you said you watched, that is not true. Supplements , and all natural products that state health claims, are regulated by the FDA. Even without a health claim, supplements and all natural “edible” products are classified as food products under FDA regulations. Along with the FDA, the FTC also regulations false claims.

From the National Institute of Health, of the Health and Human Services Department:
Dietary supplements---The manufacturer does not have to prove that the supplement is effective, unlike for drugs. The manufacturer can say that the product addresses a nutrient deficiency, supports health, or reduces the risk of developing a health problem, if that is true. If the manufacturer does make a claim, it must be followed by the statement "This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease."
  #48  
Old 07-18-2014, 05:52 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.
No, that's not true. It's stating the opinions of Steven Novella and David Gorski, along like with dozens of high-quality citations to back up those opinions. Look, it's not for some cult of personality that I keep going back to SBM or Respectful Insolence, it's because these people are very good at what they do. And what they do is analyze the peer-reviewed literature and make well-grounded statements based on it. It is entirely reasonable to take their articles, when they are grounded in the scientific literature, as authoritative sources. I welcome you to find any example where either Novella or Gorski made any statement about the state of the science on an issue without either a disclaimer that it was a hunch, or backing it up either with their own specific field of expertise (sometimes, Gorski appeals not to the peer-reviewed literature but to his own experience as a clinical oncologist specializing in breast cancer, and I am heavily inclined to trust him when he does) or the peer-reviewed literature.

Quote:
While not chiropractic yet, the Integrative Medicine at Yale University, where Dr. Novella is a professor, teaches Acupuncture.
Yes, and both he and Gorski have bemoaned the forward march of "Quackademic medicine". Unfortunately, this just keeps popping up, usually due to public pressure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wissdok View Post
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.
This is the point where I started to wonder if you were actually serious. "Renowned" is not a great word to use when talking about Deepak Chopra. More like "infamous". Chopra's entire schtick is completely bastardizing quantum physics to mean what he'd like it to mean, then drawing conclusions from there. Anyone with even a basic understanding of quantum physics can point out dozens of errors per minute in his typical bullshit. 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.

And then there's Dr. Oz. Dr. Oz is a world-renowned heart surgeon, one of the best in the world at what he does. He also peddles an unfathomable amount of bullshit on his TV show. He invited Mike Fucking Adams to do a segment on toxicity. I'm sorry, but when you're inviting the owner of NaturalNews.com to do a segment on your show and the sole purpose is not "Oh my god, what kind of deluded douchebag are you?", then you're running afoul of Scopie's General Law - 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. I mean, just to make this clear - inviting Mike Adams on your show is like inviting Ken Ham on your show, or inviting David Duke (the holocaust denier). That's the level of stupid we're dealing with. Except that David Duke and Ken Ham never led anyone to reject real medicine, causing suffering and death. Mike Adams has fucking blood on his hands.

Quote:
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.
No, and neither does being a clinical oncologist, like Gorski. When I started reading Gorski's other blog (Respectful Insolence), I had no idea who he was. His pseudonym didn't tell me anything. The reason I came to trust him was not "he's a doctor". Dr. Oz is a doctor, and deserves to be thrown as far as his fans trust him (preferably with a catapult off a cliff). No, I trust these people because they make sound, solid arguments and back them up with incredibly strong sources. There is absolutely no need to appeal to their credentials. Just appeal to, you know, their actual material. The only thing that's relevant.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wissdok View Post
I seem to miss where I degraded Dr. Novella. All I have said was... he shouldn't be proclaimed an expert. Just because you may love him, doesn't make him an expert. Simply proclaiming things you don't like as "quackery" don't make you( or him) an expert. Again Yale School of Medicine, where Novella teaches, has acupuncture classes...if Yale thought he was an expert, why do they teach acupuncture? Surely his "expert" opinion would sway the leadership at Yale.
This argument barely even merits a rolleyes. Yeah, a single member of the staff was unable to convince the leadership of his college to undo what was likely a fairly expensive decision, made for god only knows what reasons. For all I know, they could have opened an acupuncture studies course because "screw ethics, we wanna get paid". All the peer-reviewed research in the world ain't gonna reverse that decision. No, Novella is an expert based on his decades of research and years of writing well-informed, well-backed and almost uniformly accurate science articles. On a similar vein:

Quote:
Another colleague of Dr Novella often cited in quackery discussion is retired Dr. Stephen Barrett who runs "Quackwatch". While he is clearly education with a doctorate from Columbia University and a man who should be respected,
I don't give a shit! I don't think anyone else gives a shit who Dr. Stephen Barrett is! Unless he's a guy with a long track record of bad advice (like, say, Dr. Oz), I couldn't give two shits who runs my sources! Could be a neo-nazi for all I care! What matters is what he says and how he backs it up. And as with Novella and Gorski, he writes informative, laymen-level scientific articles backed up by extensive peer-reviewed research! Who cares if he still has his medical license? It by no means makes his site a lousy source!

All you have to offer against these sources are lousy ad hominem attacks - ad hominem attacks that make no sense to begin with!

Last edited by Budget Player Cadet; 07-18-2014 at 05:53 AM.
  #49  
Old 07-18-2014, 07:26 AM
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Once again, wissdok has posted nothing to validate the claims made by the chiropractor in the OP, nothing to challenge the accuracy of any of Quackwatch's articles on chiropractic (or any other subject), and nothing to debunk the conclusions of Science-Based Medicine about acupuncture. Instead he's haranguing us about all this peripheral garbage regarding qualifications and licensure.

By the way, interesting (if irrelevant) that you bring up the Rosenthal case. As I recall, Barrett sued her for reposting false claims that he was "delicensed". While not defending her making the accusations, the court decided that people should not be liable for reposting such lies on their website, and that Barrett was somehow engaging in a SLAPP suit for defending his reputation. Go figure.
And since you can't drop these stupid and irrelevant insinuations about Barrett not having a medical license and not being able to get one, here's the Pennsylvania Medical Board site for looking up licensed practitioners. Enter Stephen Barrett's name (full name Stephen Joel Barrett) and you will find that he has an active Pennsylvania license in good standing (retired status), no violations. So I suggest you drop this angle. It is making you look as bad as all the other quackery apologists who continue with anti-Barrett smear campaigns.

wissdok, in going after Dr. Barrett on a personal basis, seems blissfully unaware that Quackwatch is far more than Barrett's articles. The site features many articles from other medical specialists and health professionals, which cite quality research and other good evidence in support of their conclusions. Maybe wissdok will now go after the authors of those articles (I heard a rumor that one of them failed to return library books on time and that another was cited by his HOA for not mowing his lawn often enough).

Last edited by Jackmannii; 07-18-2014 at 07:27 AM.
  #50  
Old 07-18-2014, 08:20 AM
MsRobyn is offline
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Originally Posted by Budget Player Cadet View Post
All you have to offer against these sources are lousy ad hominem attacks - ad hominem attacks that make no sense to begin with!
Not to mention arguing ex culo and basically agreeing with me on the roles of the FDA vs. the FTC while not really understanding the distinction.

Ad hominem attacks and argumenta ex culo are what you use when you can't argue on the merits.
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