Saturday, September 25, 2004

What's in these pills?

The lack of regulation and the fact you don't know how much of the "natural" chemical in SCAM treatments is one reason to keep well clear of "natural" medications.

To illustrate the point, I will compare two treatments taken for pain relief. One natural and it’s mainstream medical derivative. Willow bark contains salicylic acid. Aspirin is aceto-salicylic acid and was manufactured as an improvement on the willow bark.

When you buy an aspirin tablet, the packet tells you that there is 500mg of active ingredient. The company manufacturing the product are required to ensure that each tablet contains the dosage claimed.

Willow bark contains Salicylic Acid, but the acid does not exist uniformly throughout the tree, or from tree to tree. This creates the problem of knowing how much to take. A teaspoon or capsule of willow bark may contain 10mg or 3,000mg, even if it came from the same tree.

When you don't know how much ingredient is in each spoon, capsule or other measure of a medicine, how do you know if you are getting enough for the medicine to work? Alternatively, how do you know if you have taken too much, causing an overdose?

This is vital as too much salicylic acid can burn a hole in the stomach. You may take 2 capsules one day and get a safe low dosage and take one tablet the next and get a stomach-burning overdose. If the salicylic acid is the active ingredient relieving the pain, why consume the other non-effective parts of the plant?

The herbs that have been proven to work (and that's a small fraction of those that are claimed to work) usually end up with the active ingredient being purified and manufactured in known dosages. They may also be altered to reduce any known side effects, such as Aceto-salicylic acid, which has a much lower chance of burning a hole in the stomach than the same dose of salicylic acid.

Imagine if you were told you needed to take 500mg of X to cure a medical problem. Would you choose the one that was known to contain 500mg of X or would you take the one that was 5,000mg of something that is likely to contain X, but no one knows exactly how much.

This is the choice that you take every day with herbal remedies. The situation is ridiculous. The chemical reaction that produces the required outcome is dependent on the amount of the active ingredient. The pure, known dosage form of the medication is required to be tested and proven effective, while the unknown dosage form has to be proven dangerous before it can be taken off the market.

The underlying chemical reactions that relieve the pain from aspirin and willow bark are virtually identical. Why then, should there be different regulation of these items? With the same chemical reactions taking place, why risk the one where you don't know the dosage?

Herbal remedies need to be subject to the same regulations. They need to be proven effective before being marketed. Herbal remedies are unregulated, naturally occurring pharmaceutical drugs of unknown purity and strength, being pushed by people with no medical training or understanding of the chemical reactions they create in the body.

Regulation of herbs is needed NOW!

"There is only one truth. How we interpret that truth is called belief."

"The presence of belief, does not indicate the existence of truth."

Friday, September 24, 2004

Voltaire on Medicine

In the 18th century, the French philosopher Voltaire said*,

"Doctors are men who prescribe medicines of which they know little, to cure diseases of which they know less, in human beings of which they know nothing."

Luckily, we have learned a great deal about medicine over the last couple of centuries and know much more than in Voltaire's time. We now use much more sophisticated equipment and treatments based on much better knowledge and understanding of how the body works. We still have a long way to go, but at least we have left Voltaire's medicine behind.

Back in Voltaire's times they were using traditional herbs and poultices to correct the body's blocked life force or to remove evil spirits. We now know there is no life force or evil spirits.

Spurious Complementary & Alternative Medicine (SCAM) now uses traditional herbs and poultices to correct the body's blocked life force or to remove evil toxins.

Maybe progress hasn't been made by everyone.

The world of SCAM still has treatments such as acupuncture and chiropractic that are based on the belief of an energy force circulating in the body. The evil spirits have now been replaced by unknown toxins.

Voltaire was right. Times have changed and Voltaire's quote no longer applies to Evidence Based Medicine. When applied to the current SCAM practices, the quote's accuracy is stunning. If you're still thinking of using SCAM, just remember the life expectancy in those years wqas about half of what we have today.

*Actually it is much more likely Voltaire said "Les médecins sont des hommes qui prescrivent des médecines dont ils savent petit, guérir des maladies dont ils savent moins dans les êtres humains de qu'ils ne savent rien", but let's not be pedantic.

"There is only one truth. How we interpret that truth is called belief."
"The presence of belief, does not indicate the existence of truth."

Thanks to Ken Davis for passing on the quote.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

There is only one truth

“There is only one truth. How we interpret that truth is called belief”

When people who believe in SCAM are shown that their beliefs have no scientific basis they often reply with a comment along the lines of, “It’s true for me.”

This infers that there is more than one truth. Personal experiences can create very strong personal attachments and beliefs, but they are still only beliefs, not the truth.

Consider the position of the sun in relation to the earth and the universe. The Sun is a star that is placed along the edge of the Milky Way Galaxy. The Earth circles the Sun. This is the situation now and for the last billion years or so.

Thousands of years ago, people believed the Sun was a god looking down on them. They fought against those who did not believe in this god.

Hundreds of years ago, people believed that the Earth was at the centre, and the Sun revolved around the Earth. Again they defended their beliefs, even killing heretics who dared to suggest otherwise.

Now we know that the Earth travels around the Sun, the Sun travels around the Milky Way and the Milky Way is just one of many galaxies.

Now despite all of these different beliefs, the truth never changed. For the last billion years, the Earth travelled around the Sun and the Sun travelled around the galaxy. Would we take anyone seriously who said that the Sun was a god, or that the Sun circled the Earth? What if they say, “But it’s true for me”?

Truth is not possessive. There is no such thing as my truth, your truth, their truth or anyone else’s truth. There is only THE truth. Anything that does not match the truth is belief. Not only that, but false belief.

So phrases such as “It’s true for me” really mean “I have been shown the truth but decided to ignore it and settle for false belief.”

"There is only one truth. How we interpret that truth is called belief."

"The presence of belief does not indicate the existence of truth."

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

SCAM researchers ask for taxpayers funds

The Medical Journal of Australia just published an article written by two researchers at SCAM universities that call on the Australian Government to devote $8 Million per year to study SCAM cures.

They claim that the lack of funds devoted to SCAM research has resulting in “too few good quality studies to support its use”. I would suggest that good quality studies exist, but they are unlikely to support most SCAM claims, as the good quality studies tend to show that the claimed benefit does not materialise. Real scientists don’t bother to research SCAM because most rely on energy forces that are known not to exist.

The article lauds how widespread SCAM has become in the Australian system with 50% of the population using SCAM and paying $2.3Billion in 2000 alone. Consultations are estimated as high as 1.9 Million and valued at $616 million.

With so much money being made on pills, potions and treatments within the SCAM industry, why should the taxpayer foot the bill? Why can’t the multi-billion dollar a year SCAM industry, fund their own research? Do we see the government paying the research costs of Pfizer?

When there are ample well-designed studies showing that energy forces do not control the health of your body, what rationale is there to spend millions of tax-payers dollars on treatments that claim to cure by manipulating this non-existent energy force?

If the SCAM industry wants to access government funds, then the results of the studies should be double blind, conducted by SCAM and non-SCAM scientists and designed with the assistance binding. If a study shows that acupuncture does not have any benefit significantly beyond the placebo effect, then the practice should be banned within Australia.

At least then the tax-payers money would not have been wasted.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

No license, No education, No training & No idea

In Australia, if you want to start a health fraud business and become a naturopath, herbalist, acupuncturist, Reiki healer or any other SCAM practice (excluding chiropractors) you need to have what is listed in today’s topic title.

That's right. No license, no education and no training. The law allows anyone who is breathing to start up a SCAM practice in this country. Anyone with a basic knowledge of science and anatomy will realise that these people also have no idea.

The reason that SCAM is unregulated is that the health department recognise that SCAM does not form part of the medical system. There is a prohibition against people other than doctors diagnosing patients. To avoid this, SCAM practice is to "advise" that the person is suffering from vague conditions that are not recognised illnesses.

The foremost bogus diagnosis is the ever-faithful deficiency of the immune system or the presence of toxins. In this situation it can be enlightening to ask which part of the immune system is depressed. Is it the lymphatic system? T Cells? B Cells? Can they name the toxins.

It is highly unlikely that this could be answered correctly as your SCAM practitioner would have no idea what half these terms mean. If they do answer, then ask then how they know the exact deficiency or toxin when they have not taken blood tests etc.

Until something is done, we continue to have a system where people with no idea of how the human body works are allowed to peddle useless pills without a license, with no education and no training.
"There is only one truth. How we interpret that truth is called belief." "The presence of belief, does not indicate the existence of truth."

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Yurko arrested and back in jail

Convicted child killer and anti-vaccination poster boy, Alan Yurko has been arrested for violating his parole conditions, set when he was released from an Ohio prison.

The anti-vaccination liars have been conveniently keeping his previous criminal record out of their press releases and letters. They would have you think that Yurko is a peaceful, quiet man who has been wrongfully charged with killing a child that was actually a vaccine reaction.

What they don't want you to know is that this convicted child killer and has a criminal record of violent crimes in Ohio. (
Do your own search here) and Florida.

With 4 convictions for aggravated burglary in Ohio, 1 for assaulting a police officer and escape in Florida, plus the convictions of aggravated child abuse and manslaughter, we are talking about a man with a history of violent criminal offences.

That the anti-vaccination liars would use this man as their spokesman, speaks loudly about the type of people they are. They have chosen Yurko so they can scare parents into believing that they could be charged with murder, manslaughter and/or child abuse if they vaccinate their children.

Yurko was not in jail because 10 week old Baby Alan had an adverse vaccine reaction. He was in jail because he is a baby killer. If you want to protect your children's health, vaccinate them and stop listening to the anti-vaccination liars.

"There is only one truth. How we interpret that truth is called belief."
"The presence of belief, does not indicate the existence of truth."

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Subluxation taught at University

A vertegral subluxation is a mythical flaw in the spine that only chiropractors can locate, doesn't show up on X-Rays and causes all known illnesses by pressing on nerves, thereby preventing the bodies innate intelligence (aka magical life-force) from healing the illness.

The theory is simple really, each part of the spine corresponds to a body part.
The spine is divided into sections, the neck area is the Cervical Spine (C), middle is the Thoracic Spine (T), lower back is the Lumbar Spine (L) before coming to the Sarcum and Coccyx.

So if you have heart trouble, it's because an invisible subluxation is pressing on nerve 2T. Ulcers occur in the stomach, so are caused by a subluxation at nerve 6T. Appendicitis is caused by a subluxation of the lower back 2L.

If this theory is correct, then why worry about
cholestoral and blood pressure for heart trouble? Just go to your local chiro and get the subluxation manipulated away. Why take anti-biotics for ulcers? It's not the pylori bacteria that causes ulcers, it's the subluxation again. Why take the risk of surgey for an inflamed appendix when cracking the lumbar spine can remove the subluxation causing the pain?

What really annoys me is that this unscientific twaddle is being taught to new unsuspecting students at
universities, where they teach neck manipulation. A close look at the course structure shows that the anatomy class for chiropractic students is an "complementary medicine" anatomy.

Before wasting your money on this bogus treatment, consider the risks, not only to your wallet, but your health.

Firstly, most chioropractors believe in
"maintenance" therapy. This has you coming back to see them week after week to make sure the subluxations that occur from week to week can be removed to ensure your "wellness".

Secondly, the neck is narrow, with vertebral arteries running virtually along the spine in the neck. Having your neck cracked can result in these arteries being
damaged and/or severed. If this happens, then you could be yet another person who has been killed or paralysed in the name of a theory that has no valid scientific basis.

"There is only one truth. How we interpret that truth is called belief."
"The presence of belief, does not indicate the existence of truth."

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

The Chiropractic Subluxation Myth

After reading Vertebral Subluxation Theory used in Chiropractic therapy, I was amazed that people who believed in such obvious non-scientific claptrap, could be considered part of mainstream medicine.

I had never really looked into Chiropractic practice in Australia, but was sure that subluxation theory was not commonly practiced in Australia. Unfortunately, this week my local newspaper proved me wrong.

Subluxation theory was started by DD Palmer in his 1910 book and states that there are subluxations of the spine that pinch on nerves, that then cause illness. If you can remove the subluxations of the spine, then the bodies innate intelligence (i.e. soul, spirit or energy force) will then be able to flow and cure the damage caused by the subluxation.

There are a few glaring holes in this theory that Chiropractors choose to ignore.

  1. No-one has ever been able to locate a "subluxation" through X-Rays, MRI or any other diagnostic test. (Apart from Chiropractors of course, who see them everywhere)
  2. No-one has ever been able to locate or record the innate intelligence (life-force) that allows the body to be healed.
  3. Subluxation theory says the spine is responsible for ALL illnesses. According to that theory, germs do not cause disease. Everything is caused by your back.

This third point leads many Chiropractors to oppose vaccinating children against common childhood diseases. After all, why vaccinate against germs, when cracking the back will cure measles, mumps, chickenpox etc.

It was hard to miss the full page advertisement that included a Vertebral Subluxation and Nerve Chart. There is a list of illnesses including allergies, insomnia, influenza and constipation. Importantly, to get around the legal ramifications, they claim that they have never healed anyone. They adjust the spine so that the body can heal itself.

After the reduced price consultation (available for 14 days only) they advise that their further care is very affordable and offer affordable family plans using natural corrective chiropractic.

The list of benefits: "more energy, reduces headaches & migraines, less aches & pains, greater flexibility, spinal strengthening, less back pain and boost immune system". I would have been disappointed if boosting the immune system wasn't included. It is the claim of every SCAM treatment, but they can never say how, because they have no idea of how the immune system works."

I may visit this local chiropractor and collect some literature from his office and ask a few questions. It would be interesting to see how much of this baloney the chiropractor actually believes. He should be easy to find, the office is on Palmer St. How appropriate.

"There is only one truth. How we interpret that truth is called belief."
"The presence of belief, does not indicate the existence of truth."

Saturday, September 11, 2004

No link between MMR Vaccine and Autism

The Lancet, widely regarded as the most reputable medical journal in the world, has just published new studies in it's September 11th issue confirming, yet again, that there is no link between the Measles Mumps & Rubella (MMR) Vaccine and Autism.

The authors went back and looked at the cases of people with autism that were born after 1973. They checked 1,294 autism case files. They also did case files of 4,469 healthy controls matched to the autism case files.

The children who developed autism actually had a lower MMR vaccination rate than those of the healthy controls, with 78% vaccinated against 83% of healthy children. Despite the scare tactics by the anti-vaccination liars and their continued claims that MMR causes autism, there is no evidence whatsoever to support that claim.

Governments, universities and research institutes have wasted millions of dollars showing the claims made by the anti-vaccination lobby to be nothing but lies designed to scare parents into leaving their children exposed to life-threatening and easily preventable diseases. The Lancet study was just one more in a long line of studies showing that the fabled link does not exist.

The question that some may ask, is why? Why is the anti-vaccination lobby so unwilling to accept the huge amount of evidence that they are wrong?

One just has to look at the number of anti-vaccination liars involved with homeopathy, naturopathic remedies, herbalism and vitamin therapy, to see they are more interested in denigrating modern scientific medicine and replace it with SCAM. This is just one more tactic to get SCAM accepted as being better than real medicine.

The evidence shows that SCAM is just what the acronym suggests, a scam.

"There is only one truth. How we interpret that truth is called belief." "The presence of belief, does not indicate the existence of truth."

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Applied Kinesiology & Fairies

The SCAM diagnostic test, Applied Kinesiology, is when the quack pushes on your arm while a substance is held near you. If the arm is weak, then that item is causing your illness. It is used by naturopaths, chiropractors, herbalists and others who practice health fraud. Some even have their assistant hold your hand and then push on the assistant's arm to test YOUR health.

One supporter of this diagnostic test was saying that it was being unreasonable to declare this as quackery without taking the time to test it myself. Not trying it myself was "unscientific". She also reminded me that I could not prove that Applied Kinesiology does not work.

I responded to the challenge by asking her to prove that fairies don't exist, reminding her to do this herself and to check under every toadstool to avoid missing the one where they live. It is almost impossible to prove a negative.

With a BBQ coming up soon, I may test Applied Kinesiology with some friends. If nothing else, it will be good for a laugh. What's not so funny, is that quacks use this test and then charge for a corresponding bogus cure to unsuspecting people with illnesses.

More on Applied Kinesiology can be found at

To join the fight against health fraud, or just become better educated to avoid being a victim, check or in Australia .

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Warrant issued to get convicted child-killer, Yurko back in jail (where he belongs)

Before shaking his girlfriend's baby to death in Florida, child killer Alan Yurko was supposed to be in Ohio. He was on parole after serving time for 4 aggravated burglary offences and breached his bail condition by fleeing to Florida.

When Ohio authorities located him, he was in jail serving time for aggravated assault of a police officer and therefore, could not be extradited. He was also waiting for the trial for the murder of his girlfriend's 10 week old baby.

Now that the convicted child killer has managed to plea bargain his way out of jail, the Ohio authorities have issued a warrant to have him brought back to face the penalty of breaching his parole.

The anti-vaccination liars who have all been gloating and planning to use Yurko as their high-profile spokesman may have to wait a bit longer. The child-killer poster boy of the anti-vaccination liars looks like he may have to spend more time behind bars.

I don't know what's worse. The baby-killer Alan Yurko, or the anti-vaccination liars that have been fund-raising and demanding that, not only should he and other baby-killers be set free, but they should be paid compensation as well.

After 6 convictions for crimes involving violence, behind bars is exactly where Yurko deserves to be. I'm sure the world would be better place if the anti-vaccination liars could join him behind bars as well.

"There is only one truth. How we interpret that truth is called belief."