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It's alternative medicine,
so why not alternative research?
I was given another reminder recently of what passes for research out there in Quackland. In the past I've had something to say about acupuncture research suggesting that twiddling needles in a mouse's knee to hide pain in the animal's foot might have some relevance in humans (or even in the real world) and how adjusting the qi in the kidneys and the heat in the stomach (true - I am not making this up) can effect a cure for Type 2 diabetes. In the area of homeopathy I found research into the treatment of postcoital cystitis which was still being cited decades later despite having more methodological faults than a creationist's school science project, and a congruence of homeopathy and the periodic table which would have Dimitri Mendeleev wondering what he had started,
What reminded me of all this fumbled research was an article in the local paper about some "scientific" research done by chiropractors a few years ago into the use of high-velocity low amplitude (HVLA) adjustment of the neck to reduce the severity of hamstring injuries in professional footballers. What brought this story back into the news after several years was that it has now been revealed that there was no ethical approval of the study by the university. Of course, the old joke "He thinks that ethics is a county in England" applies across the chiropractic profession. The main thrust of the newspaper story is about the ethical breach, but I encourage you to look at the picture which shows where the hamstrings are in a human and imagine how anyone could think that damage to these structures could be alleviated in any way by moving the top few bones in the spine. The four papers that were published out of the project have since been retracted by the journals (because of the ethics issue, not because they were bad science), and while this means that they can't be cited it doesn't mean that they won't be cited. I could be criticised by pointing out that this study (and the ones I mentioned above) were all done years ago and things have moved on since then, but as we all know nothing ever gets thrown away or superseded in Quackworld, and no amount of research can ever overthrow something that is "known".
One interesting comment was that as the risk of any damage from HVLA neck twisting is only 1 in a million (the big risk is stroke from damage to the carotid arteries) why is anyone worrying about it? I should remind you that the 1:1,000,000 chance of a bad reaction to a vaccine supposedly indicates that vaccines are inherently dangerous and should be avoided, but since when have people opposed to science behaved consistently? The fact is that any risk, no matter how improbable, produces an infinite risk/benefit ratio when there is no benefit, because division by zero does that sort of thing.
Speaking of the impossible ... (24/8/2019)
There are things that happened, things that might have happened, and things that didn't happen. This didn't happen even more than all the other things that didn't happen. I have no idea what goes on in the minds of people who tell such transparent lies as this or what they hope to achieve. Except in fictional TV dramas where a villain wants to kill someone, nobody gets to add anything to an IV drip unless it's medically indicated and administered by a properly authorised professional.
You might ask what harm there is in saying something so obviously false, but remember that there are gullible people out there who don't know what science is, let alone how it works. Someone seeing that nonsense in a place where it isn't challenged (such as a Facebook cancer support group) might forego real treatment in favour of a magic spell and die much sooner and much more painfully than if they followed the advice of doctors who know what they are talking about.
There is one essential oil, however, where the word "essential" has its everyday meaning, You can get it from your nearest brick in the doTERRA pyramid. Just a few drops on the carpet near your front door will keep all other essential oil salespeople away.
Chakra alignment, more betterer than a wheel alignment (24/8/2019)
You have to feel sorry for the man in the picture because his Crown Chakra (Number 7) is outside his head, meaning that he probably can't take full advantage of the Cosmic Energy. At least his Third-Eye Chakra (Number 6) is on his forehead where all good third eyes go. Australians always find the Root Chakra (Number 1) to be amusingly named, and some say it deals with pleasure even more than the Sacral Chakra (Number 2) does. (I have been banned from the MindBodySpirit Festival ever since I asked a young lady at the Mystic Mysteries booth to massage my root chakra. Her boyfriend didn't help the serenity of the occasion by loudly suggesting what I could do with that huge quartz crystal over there at Clara's Crystal Consciousness.)
When real medicine happens (24/8/2019)
Someone has been nagging me over the last few weeks with a succession of emails asking me for comment about a particular web page. The page heavily promotes a ketogenic diet, and suggests that ketoacidosis is rare but not really a problem - feeling faint with bad breath, really. It also says that Type 2 diabetes can be cured by eating lots of fat. The polite version of my comment is "Go away". Fad diets come and go, but this one can cause real harm if people with diabetes follow the instructions.
I'm MIA this week because I have a project going on to completely reorganise and move three web sites, including archiving about 150 Wordpress pages into pages at a real web site. All of this has to be done before the next bills for hosting at the current locations have to be paid (which in one case is next week).
In the meantime, here's something that I totally agree with.