Tag: acupuncture

“Acupuncture Anesthesia”: A Proclamation from Chairman Mao (Part I)

James Reston’s Appendectomy For many Americans, the current wave of public fascination with “complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)” can be traced to a single event: New York Times columnist James Reston’s appendectomy in China during the summer of 1971, which Reston reported in an interesting and amusing article on July 26 of that year. Many of those who noticed the publicity following this event...

/ May 15, 2009

Risks Associated With Complementary And Alternative Medicine (CAM): A Brief Overview

Having grown up on a dairy farm, I am one of the least likely people to object to the deification of yogurt. However, as a critical thinker, I cannot help but resist the idea (promoted by some health sites) that probiotics are a reasonable alternative to chemotherapy in the treatment of colon cancer. And there are many other equally unhelpful claims being...

/ May 7, 2009

Acupuncture for IVF Revisited – More Tooth Fairy Science?

I read this Reuters Health article on MedlinePlus, and then I read the study the article referred to (The impact of acupuncture on in vitro fertilization) and now my head hurts. The study found that acupuncture was not effective in increasing the pregnancy rate (PR) during in vitro fertilization (IVF). As quoted on MedlinePlus, the lead author, Alice Domar, seems to blame her patients...

/ April 28, 2009

Bad Books

In the interests of fairness and intellectual honesty, I’ve forced myself to read a lot of really bad books. The True Believer tells me his guru’s book is the Real Stuff. He tells me I have a closed mind and won’t look at anything outside establishment dogma, and if I only read the book and understood Dr. Quack’s evidence and arguments, I...

/ March 3, 2009

How Is Alternative Medicine Like Earmark Spending?

I recently watched a special news report about John McCain leading the charge towards making legislative earmarks illegal. The Economist defines earmarks this way: Earmarks, for the uninitiated, are spending projects that are directly requested by individual members of Congress and are not subject to competitive bidding. Most Americans are rightly upset about the practice of slipping pet projects into larger, well-vetted,...

/ January 15, 2009

“Battlefield acupuncture”?

THE SCENE: Iraq, Afghanistan, or anywhere where U.S. troops are risking life and limb. THE TIME: The not-too-distant-future. Maybe even 2009. Joe is on patrol. It’s the middle of summer in the desert town. The air hangs heavy, hot, dry and dusty, like a blast furnace firing steel. The heat penetrates Joe’s 80 lb pack in much the same way the heat...

/ December 15, 2008

Biofeedback and Laser for Allergies

AllergiCare Relief Centers are a chain of franchises started by a man called David Tucker who is not listed as having an MD or any other title. They offer diagnosis of allergies by biofeedback and treatment of allergies by laser acupuncture. They admit that the method is not backed by any science, and they claim that what they are doing is not...

/ November 18, 2008

“It’s just a theory”

I am afraid that the experiments you quote, M. Pasteur, will turn against you. The world into which you wish to take us is really too fantastic. La Presse, 1860 It’s just a theory. Not evolution. Germ theory. Just a theory, one of many that account for the etiology of diseases. I should mention my bias up front. I am, as some...

/ November 7, 2008

Puncturing the Acupuncture Myth

Note: This is slightly revised from an article I originally wrote as a “SkepDoc” column for Skeptic magazine. It was pre-released online in eSkeptic and it has already generated a lot of comments, including “a truly amazing piece of peurile pseudo-intellectualism,” “an ad hominem attack on one form of alternative medicine so beset by poor thinking that one must come to the...

/ October 21, 2008

Trick or Treatment

I’ve just finished reading Trick or Treatment: The Undeniable Facts about Alternative Medicine by Simon Singh and Edzard Ernst. I’d been looking forward to the publication of this book, and it exceeded my expectations. Edzard Ernst, based at the University of Exeter in England, is the world’s first professor of complementary medicine, a post he has held for 15 years. An MD...

/ August 26, 2008