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Alternative con artists

Discussion in 'Alternative Treatments' started by jpr3323, Oct 1, 2016.

  1. Brunneria

    Brunneria Other · Moderator
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    In order for your rather vague and sweeping comments to make sense, please provide definitions of what you are referring to when you use the following terms:
    - 'a trained medical professional'
    - 'proof'
    - 'medicine'
     
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  2. zand

    zand Type 2 · Expert

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    A problem with mainstream medicine is that the doctors don't usually look beyond drugs and surgery. That's because they don't look for a cause they just treat the symptoms. I had a heart problem which I now keep under control with a magnesium supplement as and when required. A naturopath advised me to use this. No other doctor or heart surgeon/consultant ever mentioned this to me as a possibility, consequently I took a cocktail of drugs (one of them very potent and dangerous) and had 4 procedures under general anaesthetic. These may not have been necessary at all. I can't prove it either way of course.

    I have been told that the procedure I have had will last for a maximum of 5 years and then I will need another one. So in 18 months time I will let you all know if the supplement is still working. Let's hope it is and then I can save the NHS lots of money :) ( and myself lots of pain) :)
     
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  3. ChrisSamsDad

    ChrisSamsDad Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    This meme of 'mainstream medicine just treats the symptoms' is completely false - a) alternative health practitioners are no more able to 'treat the whole person' without an understanding of physiology, biochemistry, endocrinology, psychology and cell-biology than a doctor of medicine who's studied actual science for years and years. Picking up a certificate from an online course or reading a book doesn't cut it really. Mainstream medicine at least makes an attempt to treat the whole person by understanding the interactions. With actual medicine, you can get a CT or MRI scan, a load of blood tests, ECG tests etc.

    From what you're saying you've no idea which of the treatments you've had have helped and that's the problem with alternative medicine - 'mainstream' medicine (which I think of as 'science-based' medicine), HAS to have evidence, and once again, that's what science is, an ever-improving attempt to get to the truth.

    That means ruling out human biases - of which there are a lot - we tend to assume cause and effect where there isn't one - a black cat crosses your path and you have a piece of bad luck: confirmation bias - you only remember that a black cat crossed your path when you have some bad luck and forget it happened 20 times and nothing happened.

    People are totally **** at judging evidence themselves without a clever system to help. You can't even tell the difference between black and white and blue and yellow with your own eyes (http://www.echalk.co.uk/amusements/OpticalIllusions/colourPerception/colourPerception.html) or tell the difference between someone saying 'FA' or 'BA': ().
     
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  4. ChrisSamsDad

    ChrisSamsDad Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    So, the standard definitions really, i.e. NOT:
    - someone who skipped through a book about crystals, and bought a diploma by going to a session in a Tipi at a festival
    - an assertion from someone that the ear candles cured their cold.
    - Reiki, homeopathy, crystal therapy, reflexology or some other made up nonsense. Some herbal remedies do have medicinal properties, but they give you an unknown dose, unknown side-effects and generally don't come with contra-indications or warnings of any kind. The useful ones, such as aspirin are safer versions of a herbal product.
     
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  5. ChrisSamsDad

    ChrisSamsDad Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    OK, many points here - the big problem with drug trials is essentially down to the nature of capitalism - money will find a way, and makes companies tend to act like psychopaths, which is why they needs a strong regulatory framework. The particular one in the case of trials is something Ben Goldacre has long been lobbying for - that all trials have to be registered and their results published even if those results are disappointing for the drug companies.

    You're correct that leeches are now being used, but that's not an example of how modern medicine uses older techniques and has somehow had to swallow its pride and was proven wrong all along - there are good uses for leeches, but they were used for just about everything in previous times as was blood letting and often did more harm than good. Both the use of leeches and maggots in modern medicine is a great example of how research and believing the science wherever it leads is the sensible option.

    The Ebola virus isn't, as far as I know, not being used outside clinical trials, and it's not actually a drug and can't be tested in the same way - you can't morally test how effective it is at preventing infection in a controlled way - you'd have to purposefully expose those trialling it, but you can test that they develop the anti-bodies you'd expected and don't suffer any side-effects. Vaccines as a technology are extremely safe - the parts of the virus they contain is dead and you just build up resistance to them. I've never heard of 'Jungle Juice' - is it like Umbongo?
     
  6. Brunneria

    Brunneria Other · Moderator
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    Sorry. Not good enough. Hyperbole and mockery will never support your argument.

    You seem fond of sweeping criticisms and lecture from a podium of self proclaimed superiority, but i see none of the impartial analysis you seem to idolise.

    Clearly not worth my time continuing this discussion.
     
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    #46 Brunneria, Oct 3, 2016 at 9:29 PM
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2016
  7. zand

    zand Type 2 · Expert

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    Not all alternative/complementary practitioners are fakes. My first naturopath studied for 8 years (2 relevant degrees at good unis) to become a practitioner.

    I do know which treatments helped me. The 1st and 3rd hospital treatments failed and I was left with a hole in my tongue which you could see right through after the 1st one. The 2nd and 4th medical procedures were successes, although the former only solved the problem for 2 years and I needed to take a drug which caused my skin to burn even on a dull winter's day. No medical doctor warned me that this may cause a vitamin D deficiency. The magnesium treatment also helps, but sadly I didn't know about it until a few years ago, so I didn't have the chance to see if it could have saved me from all those hospital visits. Every time I notice anything wrong with my heart beat nowadays I take a dose and the problem is rectified, usually within minutes.

    I recently had a harmless lump removed from my side. My GP performed the procedure under a local anaesthetic. I asked him to use the old fashioned anaesthetic, without adrenalin added, as I knew that adrenalin would throw my heart out of rhythm. He insisted it wouldn't/couldn't and used the newer one. It took me 3 doses of magnesium and 24 hours to get my heart back into sinus rhythm again.

    No doubt you will argue again, if you have had no personal experience of the alternatives then you aren't really qualified to speak against them. I have, and like any other medicine sometimes they are useful, sometimes they aren't. The OP said that "All alternative treatments are a con. The only results are placebo effect. The vitamin industry is part of the giant drug industry as is the "holistic" therapy people." Some are a con, some aren't. Just like the advice from my heart consultant that 'the only way to lose weight is to use the fat blocker pills' Guess what? He was wrong. Turns out the eatwell plate isn't good science for people with insulin resistance.

    I'm out of this thread now. Thanks for the discussion.
     
  8. ChrisSamsDad

    ChrisSamsDad Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Well, I'm not putting my fingers in MY ears - first of all, it's a fallacy that just because you don't have personal experience of an issue means you're not qualified to take part in a discussion about it, or have an opinion is nonsense. Every doctor would have had to have had every illness before they could help.

    Your position seems to be, if I can paraphrase - you've had an issue with mainstream medicine, and you suspect it's let you down, so you're now distrustful of the whole of science-based medicine and are open to believing in the alternative. But the 'alternative' is non-science based medicine. Just to reiterate once again, science, and the scientific method is the best way we have yet of finding out the facts and getting to the truth objectively. I don't see how anyone can have a problem with that. In almost every other walk of life, you want the truth, evidence and facts before deciding the best course of action.

    Courts - if they're genuine about justice - demands a high level of proof, discounting various bits of evidence if they're not admissible - hearsay, for instance.

    If you're about to buy a car, you want to make sure that the facts and figures about it's emissions, fuel consumption and cost of ownership are correct and possibly since the VW scandal, independently verified.

    If you were employing someone you'd want to see some evidence that they did indeed have a PhD from the Sorbonne, 2 degrees from Oxford and Cambridge, a 500m swimming certificate and the ability to talk to animals.

    In none of these cases, would someone's individual testimony be sufficient evidence, however much you trusted them.

    In conclusion, Naturopaths can't be trusted, because they don't follow the science, they might have studied all sorts of things, but if they truly believed the science, they wouldn't openly admit to a bias - that natural is best.
     
  9. Jaylee

    Jaylee Type 1 · Moderator
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    Cheers for the "optical illusion" link! I've been messing about with my monitor settings trying to get my head around that...
    & the video..?

    Surely just a sample of bad vocal pronunciation, thus causing misunderstanding with the hearing impaired??

    This classic story takes on a whole new meaning when one has the ability to "lip read" & dispense with the soundtrack..
     
  10. ChrisSamsDad

    ChrisSamsDad Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    No, it's an example of how your brain works to combine a series of inputs from your senses and cognition to interpret the world - you tend to think of your ears as just being like microphones and in fact, this shows that the 'sound' is actually produced in your brain which takes your vision, your hearing and mixes it with some memory to work out what's being said. When the guy is saying 'GA' - which is what he's saying all the time - but in the video puts his top teeth on his lower lip, you hear 'FA'. If he just opens his mouth, you correctly hear 'GA' because essentially your brain decides that your eyes are more likely to be correct than your ears so over-rules them and you 'hear' FA.

    The amazing thing to me is, even when you know he's actually saying 'GA' you still hear 'FA', just like you still see a yellow square in the optical illusion, even though you know it's brown.
     
  11. zand

    zand Type 2 · Expert

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    Naturopaths do follow science! They don't dismiss mainstream medicine, they work alongside it. They have advised me of bad interactions with some of the drugs I was taking and offered alternatives (drugs) for me to suggest to my GP at my next visit! They never suggested for one minute that I stop taking the drugs. A good naturopath wouldn't do that. You are indeed putting your fingers in your ears. Not all of today's science will be accepted as fact tomorrow. Yes I have been let down by science. The science of 'eat low fat.' When you have believed bad science in the past you become more wary. I don't dismiss science, I try it, if it doesn't work for me then it's not for me. It would be good if everyone else had such an open mind.

    Bye then.
     
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  12. Jaylee

    Jaylee Type 1 · Moderator
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    It is amazing!

    How does the brain account for a differing regional accent or dialect..?
     
  13. Oldvatr

    Oldvatr Type 2 · Expert

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    I note that you are claiming to follow an LCHF diet. I assume you are aware that this diet is the exact opposite of what your glorified scientists say is the recommended diet for diabetics, Namely HCLF.
    Dieticians and nutritionists are not scientific trained either.
     
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    #53 Oldvatr, Oct 4, 2016 at 12:27 PM
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 4, 2016
  14. AndBreathe

    AndBreathe I reversed my Type 2 · Expert
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    Perhaps I've missed it in the detail of the post, but many Alternative Practitioners are also traditionally medically qualified. The Chiropractor I used some years ago to treat my then tennis elbow was dually qualified as an NHS GP and Chiropractor in Private Practice. Similarly, I know of another NHS GP who also offers Accupuncture, partly on the NHS and partly in his stand-alone Private Practice.

    In my experience, some of these people, including physios podiatrists and other sometimes considered peripheral services become dually qualified because they believe, in certain circumstances, there has to be a better way to deal with some folks and conditions.

    I think like most things, whether it be alternative therapists, Social Workers, Bankers, Doctors or Lawyers (to mention but a few), there are good apples and bad apples in the barrel.

    In all fields of life we should each be applying Caveat Emptor.
     
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  15. ChrisSamsDad

    ChrisSamsDad Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Well, a couple of issues here - nutritionists aren't scientifically trained, but dieticians are: https://www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/explore-roles/allied-health-professionals/dietitian

    And I'm following the LCHF because it's better science than the old science that's now pretty much shown to be wrong. That's the way science works, when it works well - it's constantly improving itself, questioning its beliefs, keeping open minded. That's why I always hear alarm bells when people big up an alternative therapy that's based on some ancient philosophy.

    There is a very good evidence that the LCHF diet works and that the fears about eating more fat are not based on good evidence. One of the problems that is often encountered in all sciences is that people have entrenched positions - and are often unwilling to throw out those ideas even when the evidence mounts that they're wrong. Richard Dawkins tells a very good story of how it should happen:

    “I have previously told the story of a respected elder statesman of the Zoology Department at Oxford when I was an undergraduate. For years he had passionately believed, and taught, that the Golgi Apparatus (a microscopic feature of the interior of cells) was not real... Every Monday afternoon it was the custom for the whole department to listen to a research talk by a visiting lecturer. One Monday, the visitor was an American cell biologist who presented completely convincing evidence that the Golgi Apparatus was real. At the end of the lecture, the old man strode to the front of the hall, shook the American by the hand and said - with passion - 'My dear fellow, I wish to thank you. I have been wrong these fifteen years.'”

    However, for various reasons, some science, and I think especially medicine, doesn't always work like this, it took years before older doctors started believing that stomach ulcers were caused by the Helicobacter Pylori bacteria and started treating it with anti-biotics. One practical problem is actually getting all the new information out to doctors - they have textbooks written years ago and simply don't have the time to keep up to date with all the new experimentation. Unfortunately, you also have a political situation where the 'Old Guard' are the ones in charge of policy and guess what they believe?

    By the way, the jury's still out on LCHF diet - there is NOT a consensus yet, we don't know all the mechanisms involved, we don't know the long term effect of this diet on the human body - we have some anecdotal evidence from people who have had some success so far with it, but have you seen what happens on here when people argue against it? They face a sh!tstorm of opposition. It's not the only answer to diabetes - people have conducted trials of various other diets that have effected weight loss and reduction in BG levels - including a 50% carb diet.

    Personally, I'm convinced that FOR ME, the combination of this diet and exercise I've been doing is currently effective at keeping my BG down and against all the received wisdom, is improving my cholesterol too. I wouldn't say that this is useful data, but as it works for many people I'd imagine some well-constructed studies could and should be done to find out more.
     
    #55 ChrisSamsDad, Oct 4, 2016 at 12:52 PM
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2016
  16. ChrisSamsDad

    ChrisSamsDad Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    This is especially true in the US, where Doctors are more concerned with charging the patient then here in the UK.

    I don't see what difference this makes though, Doctors can mistakenly hold beliefs the same as anyone, but at the end of the day, they should as professional scientists, follow the evidence - for acupuncture it was touch and go for a long time, but by now it's pretty clear that it's no better than placebo. I would be deeply distrustful of a doctor who offered homeopathy for instance - if they'll go against the evidence on that, they could well go against evidence on anything.

    I'm personally not sure what's worse, someone who actually believes in the magical-thinking of concepts like homeopathy, reiki or chiropracty and is sincere about it, or someone who knows it's not true, but provides a useful service of keeping people who want it and don't like real medicine happy.
     
  17. Oldvatr

    Oldvatr Type 2 · Expert

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    But there are dull
    But there are full blown RCT studies reported in Sweden that show LCHF is harmfull as well as being ineffective. The recent report in the news about High Fat diets by eminent professors also claim LCHF is dangerous, So you should perhaps be accepting their findings as 'truth' since their findings are based on scientifically proven data. But then perhaps we both see that as an invonvenient truth/ As Zand said. it worked for her. You say it yourself for your diet, but you seem to object to her holding similar views.

    I say that the science justifying magnesium supplementation exists, so it is not a flight of fancy. My medications can deplete zinc znd magnesium from my body so I supplement too. Again, a scientifically noted side effect in the medication literature. So I have no problem with that. The same medication literature warns that I may suffer irregular heartbeat, but does not make the connection to magnesium loss. That was where Zand needed a helping piece of advice, which solved a problem, The medical data is lacking in this respect so cannot be relied on for everything.
     
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  18. AndBreathe

    AndBreathe I reversed my Type 2 · Expert
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    To be honest, I defend anyone's right to believe whatever they do. I mean, I once believed in a man who called once a year, via our house chimney,........... when we had no chimney. OK, so I was a good deal younger than.

    However, when I had my tennis elbow, I had spent two years trying to improve things. I had reached a stage where I would wake in the morning and try to work out how I go up, went to work and functioned without moving my arm from the matress, such was the pain. I'd like to think I'm no wimp.

    I was extremely sceptical of Chiropractor, but by then if I had been told eating 2 Blue Smarties, 3 times a day could probably fix it, I'd have given it a go.

    First session it improved significantly, and after the second, I was pain-free for the first time in 2 years.

    The Chiro I used is dial qualified, GP/Chiro. I had x-rays and scans done before he would consider any form of treatment. I had already had analgesia, physio and various other things, and was heading for open surgery, which I didn't fancy.

    To re-iterate, that you have no belief and no positive, personal experience with parallel treatments doesn't mean they're all utter tosh. For those at the end of their tether, provided they have weighed up the risks and potential rewards, it is their choice to do as they choose; provided they are adults, have the cognitive ability to make decisions and give their consent, and it is lawful. Thereafter, I don't consider it any concern of mine.
     
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  19. bulkbiker

    bulkbiker Type 2 · Oracle

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    Is that like the" take your metformin like a good boy" and follow the eatwell plate kinda medicine?
     
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  20. ChrisSamsDad

    ChrisSamsDad Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    but did he fix it the Chiropractic way, by realigning your magnetic flow and fixing the chiropractic subluxations, or did he give you physio, massage and exercise? Scans and x-rays won't show subluxations.

    I'll probably get banned for saying this again, as I have before, but your anecdote is irrelevant - it's not evidence, there are a number of ways you could have got better, but given that not only the theory but practice of chiropractic is proven not to be effective, except in a very limited set of circumstances, it wasn't likely to have been it, unless by accident.
     
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