You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Alternative Medicine’ tag.

Orac brings the pain to the masters(?) of woo.


One video, sixteen minutes equals deep insight into how American society runs.  (Hint: Most likely not for your benefit.)


I grow tired of hearing arch-conservatives rail on about the evils of regulation and how it stifles industry.  People die because of deregulation and lax standards – but somehow the profit motive trumps all that human welfare shit, almost every time.


Homeopathy    Ah yes, purveyors of Woo this is your fault.  This isn’t Big Pharma, this isn’t biased studies, or any of the mendacity that you preach – the death of this child is squarely and completely on you.  The CBC reports:

“Criminal charges are pending against a Calgary mother who police allege relied on holistic treatments instead of getting medical help for her seven-year-old son’s strep infection.”

Holistic treatments to treat a bacterial infection?  Are you frakking kidding me – how much nonsense did the woo pedlars have to feed this parent to make her eschew effective medical treatment and treat her son with fucking potions and positive energy?

“On the morning of March 2, emergency crews were called to a 17th Avenue S.W. basement suite where a young boy was having a seizure. He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.”


An autopsy found the cause of death was a strep infection, which would have been treatable with penicillin.”

What a way to go – from the CDC on strep infection…

“Severe, sometimes life-threatening, GAS disease may occur when bacteria get into parts of the body where bacteria usually are not found, such as the blood, muscle, or the lungs. These infections are termed “invasive GAS disease.” Two of the most severe, but least common, forms of invasive GAS disease are necrotizing fasciitis and Streptococcal Toxic Shock Syndrome. Necrotizing fasciitis (occasionally described by the media as “the flesh-eating bacteria”) destroys muscles, fat, and skin tissue. Streptococcal toxic shock syndrome (STSS), causes blood pressure to drop rapidly and organs (e.g., kidney, liver, lungs) to fail. STSS is not the same as the “toxic shock syndrome” frequently associated with tampon usage. About 20% of patients with necrotizing fasciitis and more than half with STSS die. About 10%-15% of patients with other forms of invasive group A streptococcal disease die.”

Speculation here, but the boy’s organs were being destroyed by the bacteria, he most likely was in severe pain for 10 days.

“Police allege the mother did not take the boy for treatment, giving him holistic remedies instead.”

Holistic fucking remedies?  This is why alternative medicine is so dangerous, people die because they believe in weapons-grade bullshit.

“The treatment rendered at home was homeopathic in nature. This would include herbal remedies. The mother refused to take the child to a medical professional. No excuse given — just her belief system,” said Staff Sgt. Mark Cavilla.”

Her belief system?  Believing in stupid shit gets people killed(bonus points if you can draw a parallel to religious belief).  Holistic alternative medicine ranks high on the list of stupid shit to believe in.

“The boy was bedridden for 10 days prior to his death, police allege. Charges are pending against his 44-year-old mother. Those charges include criminal negligence causing death and failing to provide the necessaries of life.”

I’m waiting for the proud Alternative Medicine Community to stand up and own this child’s death, for teaching a mother not to trust evidence based medicine, for letting a child suffer for 10 days with a curable affliction.

I know what response we’ll get from these charlatans.  Frakking Crickets.



quack-doctor    Why oh why do people still want to normalize the use of magic and illusion into the practice of medicine?

We’ve spent decades codifying and rooting out the bullshit practices and have steeled ourselves against ‘good common sense’ notions and looked where the evidence points us.  There is no mystery to evidence based medicine it has been shown empirically to work.  Contrast that with ‘alternative or integrative‘ or ‘whatever term the quacks are using now to sound legitimate and authoritative‘ which is not evidence based, not rigorously tested and not frakking effective.  What is most saddening is that professionals who have been well-educated can fall into the woo-trap just as easy as the common bloke.  The CBC reports on a quack siting here in my home town:

“An Edmonton doctor who recently won a major medical prize says the only way to bridge the divide between traditional medicine and alternative methods is to listen to the needs of patients.”

Oh FFS!  Alternative Medicine … has either not been proved to work, or been proved not to work. Do you know what they call “alternative medicine” that’s been proved to work?  Medicine.  “Bridging gaps” with quackery results in dead people.  It is that simple.

“Dr. Vohra was recently awarded the 2013 Dr. Rogers Prize for Excellence in Complementary and Alternative Medicine. At $250,000, it’s the largest prize of its kind in North America.”

Quack wins quackery prize.  This just in, earth still orbiting the sun ONCE every 365 days.  Let’s take a peek into history and dude behind the Dr.Rodgers Prize (many thanks to

Dr. Hoffer’s obituary mentioned that he had won the Dr. Rogers Prize for Excellence in Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2007. I never knew such a thing even existed. It does though.

Dr. Rogers is another individual who appears to have dedicated his life to helping people but probably did just the opposite. He worked in family practice for over 30 years and was a clinical instructor at the University of British Columbia. He founded the Thera Wellness Centre in 1977, a not for profit organization devoted to complementary and alternative practices in medicine. Later he created The Centre for Integrated Therapy which evolved into Centre for Integrated Healing in the late 1990′s which later evolved into Inspire Health. A quick review of Inspire Health’s website reveals it is an organization that promotes all sorts of pseudo-scientific nonsense as benefiting cancer patients — from Reiki to therapeutic touch to acupuncture.

According to the Dr. Roger’s Prize website, Dr. Rogers was appointed to the Order of British Columbia, the province’s highest honour, for his pioneering work in alternative and complementary cancer care. In other words, BC awarded him the provinces highest honor for selling worthless cures to desperate cancer victims. Not something that immediately comes to mind as worthy of an award, but then again, I have never won the Order of British Columbia, so I am certainly no expert on what it takes to win a medal. I do know there was a time when, good intentions notwithstanding, we threw snake oil salesmen in jail. Now we give them the Order of British Columbia.

The Dr. Rogers Prize for Excellence in Complementary and Alternative Medicine was established in recognition of Dr. Rogers contribution to complimentary and alternative medicine and his tireless efforts to gain widespread recognition for – and acceptance of – complementary and alternative cancer treatments in this country.

I don’t know what alternative universe the folks at the Dr. Rogers Prize are living in, but back here on planet earth we instinctively know that recognition and acceptance of medical practices shouldn’t come from phony awards awards funded by those pursuing an agenda. It comes from sound scientific evidence that the health practices or modalities being promoted actually work.

Regardless of how well intentioned or tireless Dr. Rogers efforts (and I don’t doubt either), they amount to little more than the promotion and sale of snake oil to some of the most vulnerable people in our society. Now in his eighties and suffering from Alzheimer’s, it is sad to reflect on a another man who desperately wanted to help but probably did just the opposite.

   Ah, it must feel good to win the snake-oil award for selling cures to desperate people, it must be so gratifying on many levels; how can profiting from the misery of others be anything but? 

“Dr. Vohra is the founding director of Complementary and Alternative Research and Education (CARE) at the University of Alberta, the first academic pediatric integrative medicine program in Canada.”

Write down the name and avoid this person at all costs because this sort of medical mendacity gets you dead and impoverishes your family.

“For the sake of her patients, she set about becoming fluent in alternative treatments.”

What a nice way of saying – has stopped listening to Reason and embraced all the magical woo available to the detriment of her patients.  Awesome!

“Now she has credibility in both worlds – as a leader in both conventional and complementary and alternative medicine – […]”

Oh LOLfovever.  The-fuck-you-don’t get credibility for embracing woo.  You don’t get medical credibility for embracing non-evidence based medical practices. Not now, not ever, young padaquack. All you should rightly receive is scorn and derision for making the decision to abandon the scientific method and starting to peddle woo.

“She says studies indicate that 70 per cent of Canadians use complementary therapies, and a significant percentage of them mix traditional and non-traditional remedies without knowing what impact one will have on another.”

Could I get Argumentum ad populum, with a side citation-fucking-needed?!  Ring-Ring!! Rationality is calling, Dr. Vohra; and it would, most desperately, like you to return to the fold.

Go to for more information on “alternative and integrative” therapies and the harm it causes people.

*Update* – Mother faces criminal charges as she let her son die of a strep infection

Criminal charges are pending against a Calgary mother who police allege relied on holistic treatments instead of getting medical help for her seven-year-old son’s strep infection.  Police allege the mother did not take the boy for treatment, giving him holistic remedies instead.

“The treatment rendered at home was homeopathic in nature. This would include herbal remedies. The mother refused to take the child to a medical professional. No excuse given — just her belief system,” said Staff Sgt. Mark Cavilla.

The boy was bedridden for 10 days prior to his death, police allege.

My defence rests. :(

Worried about Big Pharma and what corporate sponsored doctors are going to do with you?  Worried your tinfoil hat is one size too small and “they” are on to you?  Worried and misplacing your skepticism about science based medicine?  This news  article from the CBC is for you.

“A Quebec woman rushed to hospital after undergoing an overnight detoxification spa treatment involving intense sweating has died.  The woman, 35, died late Friday afternoon in a Drummondville hospital, said Quebec provincial police.

She and another woman were hospitalized after undergoing a detoxification treatment at the Reine de Paix farmhouse in Durham, a small town near Drummondville.

“The treatments consisted of a process of sweating by being all wrapped in plastic with mud, and also with blankets,” said Sgt. Éloise Cossette. Both women were also encased in cardboard boxes.

They were both unconscious when emergency services arrived at the rented farmhouse early Friday morning.

This would be an easy post to write if the women had just been hospitalized for severe dehydration and loss of electrolyte balance.  One woman regained consciousness, the other did not.  Learning that alternative medicine is utter bullshit at the cost of your life is unacceptable.

At least 10 people were undergoing the detox treatments at the time, which lasted for several hours, and did not include drinking water.

Police are investigating the farmhouse, which is being rented by a woman who offers an initiation to Reiki, a practice developed by a Japanese Buddhist in the 1920s.”

Ah, Detoxification, Reiki, Acupuncture, Homeopathy, the list of ways for people to be bilked out of their money grows daily.  Sadly, the death count continues to grow as evidenced by this latest tragedy.

It is a truism, gullible people do stupid things.  However, they should not have to pay with their lives.  Alternative medicine is a fracking lie.  What is worse, its a fracking lie that kills people.

Funny, but people who actually believe in this shite want to bring it into the hospitals.  Frightening.

Ahh, if only the war on woo was going so well.  Relax with Mr.Minchin as he disassembles the irrational in his poetry and bask in his defence of the real and the rational.

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