Death by Aromatherapy

An aromatherapy room spray was contaminated with bacteria that caused melioidosis, resulting in deaths and serious sequelae. Buyers were misled. When cases of melioidosis were diagnosed in four patients in four different states, doctors were puzzled. Melioidosis, infection with the bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei, is typically associated with exposure to soil and water in tropical and subtropical environments, and

The Prince of Alternative Medicine

It’s common knowledge that Prince Charles is a persistent and outspoken champion of alternative medicine, but the full story has never been told until now. Edzard Ernst reveals all the shocking details in this unauthorized biography. The shocks come from Charles’ own words, which Ernst quotes extensively.  It is beyond ironic that Charles’ supporters were

Nuubu: Here We Go Again! Recycling Debunked Foot Detox Myths

Companies come and go, but the claims remain the same, that you can (insert claim) with (insert product) without any evidence. A new company offering magical footpads are just putting new wine in old bottles. In an ideal world, rational people would stop believing false claims that had been conclusively debunked. Ours is not a

Living with Uncertainty

Uncertainty is uncomfortable. It is only natural to want certainty. It is more comfortable to be certain and wrong than to be uncertain. Like anyone else, I would like to be comfortable, but I think truth matters. I’d rather be uncertain than wrong; wouldn’t you?  As Voltaire said, “Uncertainty is an uncomfortable position. But certainty

‘Clinically Tested’—What Does That Mean?

They used to call useless treatments “snake oil.” We don’t hear that term anymore; now they may be called “dietary supplements” or “natural remedies.” A dietary supplement may contain a single herb or a combination of several ingredients. The ads frequently say they have been “clinically tested” or “clinically proven.” Do you believe that? I

Alternative Medicine: Placebos for Pets

A skeptical veterinarian reviews the evidence for alternative medicine for pets, and concludes it’s mostly placebos. She thinks she’s adjusting the horse’s subluxations. She isn’t; she’s practicing placebo medicine.Alternative medicine is accepted by many humans, but we may forget that it is also imposed on their pets. Veterinarian Brennen McKenzie has done cats and dogs

Science Envy in Alternative Medicine

One definition of alternative medicine is medicine that is not supported by good enough evidence to have earned a place in mainstream medicine. Comedian Tim Minchin asked, “What do you call alternative medicine that works?” His answer: “Medicine.” That’s a simplistic answer good for laughs, but the truth is more complicated. Alternative medicine embraces many

Cuidado Y Nutrición De La Vagina

En nuestra sociedad, el estatus de las mujeres continúa mejorando. Como dice la publicidad de cigarrillos, “Has recorrido un largo camino, muchacha”. Ciertamente, parece que ahora tenemos Igual Oportunidad de Charlatanismo. This article is available in English. El sexo vende. Siempre fue un objetivo popular para el charlatanismo, pero éste solía estar dirigido sobre todo

The Case That CAM Is Unethical

Edzard Ernst is arguably the world’s foremost expert on the claims and the evidence (or lack thereof) for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). Now he has teamed up with a medical ethicist, Kevin Smith, to co-author a new book, More Harm than Good? The Moral Maze of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Much has been written on

Brittany Auerbach aka Montreal Healthy Girl Gives Unhealthy Advice

Brittany Auerbach calls herself Montreal Healthy Girl. She claims that all diseases can be cured by diet and lifestyle. Her website contains blog articles and videos about the Ultimate Detailed Plan to heal ADD and ADHD naturally, how to heal interstitial cystitis, the benefits of cultured and fermented foods, raw coconut vermifuge (anti-worm medicine) and

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