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Discussions
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Alternative medicine New Message
 

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 20/02/2001 22:10

Why do so many health sites and so many health articles in the printed media give such prominence to alternative medicines? It is actually a misnomer to call them "medicines". In the vast majority of cases there is not a shred of evidence that these products do any good (except to the bank balance of the vendor). Serious medical web sites should ignore these latter day quacks. j williams

Anonymous  Posted: 21/02/2001 13:25

If so-called conventional medicine had all the answers, maybe we wouldn't have to turn to alternative remedies - or even if doctors took the trouble to familiarise themselves with these remedies, then we could get an honest opinion from a qualified source as to whether this is really 'quack' medicine as johnwilliams suggests. - Elaine W.

Anonymous  Posted: 21/02/2001 17:01

As a nurse, I share concerns about the validity of alternative medicines. I feel much happier to see them referred to as "complementary therapies". Some of the more main-stream ones (Aromatherapy, reflexology) are valuable in the area of symptom relief. I am doing a reflexology course myself at the moment, and though I am not convinced that it "works", it certainly brings about deep relaxation, and it follows that a relaxed body will heal better than a tense one. The worst harm that most of these can do is to instil a false (and perhaps cruel ) sense of hope in some.

janetott  Posted: 26/02/2001 09:54

Ref. anonymous (Nurse) 21/02/2001: Alternative v. Complementary. While all non-conventional therapies can be "complemantary" to conventional treatment, a couple (Homeopathy, Acupuncture) are complete systems and could be used as "alternatives", of course only under the care of fully trained practitioners.

Philip (Philip_Brown)  Posted: 05/03/2001 17:55

The main problems with alternative/complemetary medicines are :- 1) the unquestioning acceptance of many people that "natural" means safe. This is not so. Many plants contain poisons of great potency. 2) There is no way of knowing the exact substances in the preparation. The quantities of active ingredients in many plant derivatives can vary in response to many factors, eg. weather, time in the plant's life-cycle when it is harvested, processing, storage etc. 3) It is no use saying "it has been used in Chuina for 4,000 years". This proves nothing as there has not been any mechanism for reporting and collating adverse reactions. In mainline medicine the Medicines Board receive all reports of prescripion medications and issue suitable guidelines. In far-eastern medicine they are still using rhino horn as an aphrodisiac, crushed tiger bones for strength and the gall-bladders of bears for some reason I cannot even guess at. It is true that many plants can give very useful medicaments, and indeed, many of our most useful drugs, including antibiotics, are derived from plants, but I would rather take a tablet of Penicillin the strength of which I know, than take a piece of mouldy cheese growin the organism Penicilliom Notatum, to cure my illness.

Philip (pmagnier)  Posted: 06/03/2001 09:50

I am happy to consult doctors in mainstream medicine but how many times do you see them simply reach for their bag of medicines when dealing with patients? Mainstream medicine does not have all the answers, I wonder sometimes if they are even asking the right questions with their focus on symptoms and their "chemical dependency" treatments. By the way, meditation does have much empirical evidence to back its efficacy, specifically Transcendental Meditation (www.TM-Ireland.org has some details).

Anonymous  Posted: 06/03/2001 11:45

As a reflexologist myself, I initially became interested in complementary medicine (in preference to alternative) because I discovered to my dismay that after several GP visits for a recurring complaint my GP tired of me after several antibiotics did not work, and sent me away feeling like a) a hypocondriac and b) perhaps I should just learn to live with my symptoms. To my relief I discovered through complementary treatment that a) I was not a hypochondriac and b) that I did not have to put up with my symptoms. I would, however, always consult my GP in the first instance with a complaint, but feel that complementary medicine has a lot to offer patients who present with recurring symptoms and frustratingly discover that alas conventional medicine does not always have the cure!

Anonymous  Posted: 16/03/2001 09:35

Most complementary medicine is a product of wishful thinking, a potent healing force in itself. These devices, and tricks are valuable in the relief of self-limiting conditions.They are mainly accompanied by a hard-sell of expected benefits accompanied by ritual which gives individual corporal relaxing therapies.Reflexology and other rubbing and sweet smelling pamper treatments give us all a sense of warmth and relaxation,as does Feng Shui,hot baths,massage,and of course a low calorie detoxification.A facial massage and a session of Indian massage of the scalp is second to none in giving that glow of well-being and "health".The jump from good-feeling to regression of organ failure or cancer is an immense one, and there is no evidence whatever that the gap has ever been breached in any scenario. Alternative/complimentary medicine is no harm and makes you feel good. These treatments are applied to you with great care and personal individual attention and pampering. They make us feel important and relaxed.We have been given time and individual attention,which cannot be done in the busy GP scene where there are dozens of patients waiting to get out of the surgery.How nice it is to go instead to a nice warm room where an unhurried chat is accompanied by smells of orchids,and the body is oiled and rubbed. This feel good factor is very effective in relief of non-disease,tension and feelings of going nowhere.It is not the province of medicine and should not pretend to be. Just because a herb grows in the ground and has leaves and mud,does not make it superior to the carefully measured active substance refined in a laboratory and devoid of the myriad of other chemicals found in the plant's stalk or leaves.Remember,we had the digitalis leaf for the heart for generations,but it only became safe for treatment when the other noxious agents were removed in the laboratory and the digitalis purified into a proper medicine.Finally,much of alternative treatments are controlled by con-artists who will tell you any line of plamas in order to keep you coming for black-magic tests and therapies,using vega machines,allergy testing and other stuff dependant on individual gullibility.As the deaths mount from various herbal toxins,the shine will go off the new-age approach and the era of wishing will be ended by the era of reality. Meantime,having the feet rubbed with lovely oils by gentle hands is a nice luxury for stress and uptight days,but don't fall for the stuff about removal of toxins!

Anonymous  Posted: 16/03/2001 10:16

Regarding the "Alternative Medicine" not doing anyone other than the practioner any good was this why the pharmaceutical industry hijacked the St. John's Wort last year and made it prescription only? The industry was losing out but they'll now be able to have it "prescription only" to their own advantage. I think there's room in our lives for both conventional and alternative medicines and the choice should be the individuals. I was saved a major operation in the past decade through the use of 'non conventional' medication, it was recommended by a homeopathic practitioner who is also a GP. Maureen.

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 18/03/2001 20:06

Can we lay the hoary chestnut of St. John's Wort to bed once and for all. This herb is not harmless. In trials carried out by Dr George Dresser, University of Western Ontario, Canada he found that medicines prescribed at the same time as St.John's Wort can have their efficacy reduced substantially. With one drug, midazolam, blood levels were reduced by 60%. He warned physicians that this herbal product decreased blood levels of a broad range of medicines with sometimes serious consequences. I agree with many of your contributors that some of these alternative treatments such as massage have a 'feel good factor' and are unlikely to do any harm. The main thrust of my original comment was that in much of the media, so-called alternative medicines are getting more prominence than mainstream treatments. This gives the impression to the general public that the two are somehow of equal efficacy which is patently untrue. In reply to Elaine - if you want a qualified source of unbiased information on herbal products ask your pharmacist. Every pharmacist studies Pharmacognosy, the study of medicinal extracts of plants,for his or her degree so if a herb has any significant medicinal value you will get the information.

brenda (brenpat)  Posted: 23/03/2001 20:34

Are there any biofeedback therapists in Ireland, most specifically in the West of Ireland.

Anonymous  Posted: 10/04/2001 20:01

Can anyone enlighten me as to the effectiveness of MYRISTIN as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. I believe it was developed by a Harry W. Diehl in USA.It is being widely advertised in local papers,promising successful results.

Anonymous  Posted: 11/04/2001 12:57

There seems to be a lot of anger emanating from those who oppose the practice of complementary therapies. It seems foolish to dismiss that which you have not studied. THere is a greta deal of empiriical evidence that practices such as acupuncture are extremely effective in treating major illnesses and they are not just feelgood treatments. The point that people feel immediately better by going into a pleasant relaxing atmosphere and receiving individual attention is valid. This is a reflection of the complementary practitioner's holistic approach. I seriously question a system of medicine where th practitioner, despite a wealth of scientific knowledge does not see the patient asa person who can participate in the healing process but as a body on whom they will practice their brand of medicine, which almost always involves drugs. We all have nightmare stories about how one drug caused other complications and how people were mis-diagnosed and became iller as a result. It is clear that Western medicine does not have all the answers-and if you want proof, look at how many GPs, frustrated at the lack of efficacy of their practice, re-train in complementary therapies.

Anonymous  Posted: 11/04/2001 20:00

To anonymous;letter 11-4-01.Please let us know what you mean by empirical evidence.It is the opposite to properly assessed scientific evidence and is the notion,opinion or wish of the practitioner. To say that there is empiric evidence usually means that there is no proper evidence.We had this approach since medieval times,and when at last,this type of non-evidence became extinct,the major advances in medicine of the 20th century were able to take place.

Anonymous  Posted: 11/04/2001 20:39

Myristin is a patent medicine from nutmeg and other plant oils,which has been touted as a natural cure for arthritis (of every kind)for the past 36 years.There have been no proper trials of its effectiveness ever.The FDA in the USA has banned its promoters(sellers) from making claims without definite evidence,to avoid further scams such as the laetrile- for-cancer hoodwink of a decade or so ago.No evidence has been offered.The Medline Plus website finds no scientific literature on searching. There are many promotional sites on the web,which can be found on the Altavista search engine.Unfortunately,all of these sites are promotional and hard-sell in type.There has been a suggestion that patients taking this foodstuff develope elevated blood cholesterol,which would not be surprising as it is a fatty acid.I do not know if it is available in Ireland. If not,why would it take 36 years to get here if it's of much benefit? Sounds like a red herring to me.But,it's a free country,if you wish to take it and have $300 US available,for the first course.

Harriet  Posted: 12/04/2001 22:26

I agree with the writer who mentions the anger shown by those who oppose alternative/complementary medicine. They seem to have put 'scientific proof' up on some sort of pedastal and completely ignore the thousands of cases of illness CAUSED by correctly prescribed drugs. They also must think that the number of US hospitals which now have Complementary Medicine Departments have lost the run of themselves. Why don't they lighten up and try being a little less narrow minded? They might be pleasantly surprised by the good results which can be achieved using complementary/alternative medicine.

Anonymous  Posted: 18/04/2001 17:19

I visited a kinesiologist recently for recurring water retention symptoms, however, she gave me other medicines to take e.g. Red Raspberry, acu pericardium, bach drops, and MasterGland formulae- can you advise what these might be for... Thank u.

Anonymous  Posted: 25/04/2001 10:35

My wife suffers badly from colitis. For this complaint, mainstream medicine and support openly admit that they know very little in terms of cause and cure. They try various medicines with a 'pot luck' attitude some of which are harmful to the body. She recently tried a homeopath in an attempt to get even temporary relieve. The treatment envolves changing her diet with some recommended suppliments and a promise of a better quality of life. The only difference it made is that she lost some weight, the problem is as bad as ever. The difference between regular and alternative medicine in this case is - the GP's admit they have no cure whereas the alternative people can't cure but wont admit it.

dermot (tomred)  Posted: 25/04/2001 12:15

Dear Editor, It is bad journalistic practice to allow anonymous written contributions onto your web site. If people are not prepared to attach their name to their opinions, then their opinions are not worthy of repeating Regards Dermot kirwan

Sue (swick)  Posted: 25/04/2001 15:46

Alternative medicine is 'alternative' because it is an alternative to Western Medicine. I am an Acupuncture student finishing my second year of a 3 year diploma course. Yes acupuncture has been around for thousands of years, but even the acupuncturists in china acknowledge the roles of both western and eastern medicine. Neither western nor eastern medicine has the answers to all health problems if we did then no person would be sick. Acupuncture has been scientiffically proven to be successful for the treatment of Asthma, stroke, vomiting, pain relief and drug addiction by the American Medical Association. Ongoing research into other areas is still being undertaken. Acupuncture is only an 'alternative' therapy to westerners.

Anonymous  Posted: 24/05/2001 00:02

Obviously John Williams doesn't have a notion about alternative medicine, or he wouldn't have said that 'it is actually a misnomer to call them "medicines"'. As a good part of alternative medicine is herbalism which, for your information john williams, deals with herbs and plant remedies, from which most modern day drugs are derived, except that the more natural form found in herbs has alot less side effects than refined and synthesized versions of them. I think John should get his facts straight before entering a serious discussion.

tim (freetheworld)  Posted: 24/05/2001 00:18

Dear Mr. Editor. I have never come across such a narrow-minded person as Mr. Williams, who is making comments about a study done in Canada on St. John's Wort, basically disregardind the fact that St. John's Wort has been used for thousands of years as a medicine, with many beneficial properties, I think Mr. Williams should probably study some relevant information on the benefits of St. John's Wort, and weigh up the benefits with the skepticisms about St. John's Wort and then come back to the table.

Harriet  Posted: 26/05/2001 00:18

I'd like to comment on several recent letters to this List. (1) I agree about allowing the use of anonymous. What does it signify? That the writer has a 'vested' interest or is afraid to publicly take a stand? I find it very hard to take seriously any post which is signed "anonymous". (2) For the writer whose wife suffers from colitis. I think there is a misunderstanding of the way 'alternative/complementary' medicine works. Allopathic medicine fits the symptom to the drug. Alternative tries to take the whole person into consideration and to find a remedy which will cover more than the particular problem which, may, in its turn, be caused by something unexpected - like diet, lifestyle, stress etc. Colitis is hard to 'cure' but it can often be controlled. But doing so takes patience and time. This is true of most chronic diseases. Harriet Sheehy

Anonymous  Posted: 28/05/2001 16:32

I would like to know if johnwilliams has had any personal medical experiences from which he has compared the evidence for himself? I was a major skeptic of "alternative" therapies until "by accident" I engaged in some therapy. Can johnwillaims explain how a "skeptic" has finally beat an illness of 3 years after putting faith in conventional therapies (which did not work) until that time? Quacks -I don't think so and at the risk of sounding "cliched" don't knock until you have tried. Yet, I take it that johnwilliams is only commenting on this topic as he has had major personal experiences of both the conventional and alternative routes? Indulge my curiosity John? M.

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 29/05/2001 00:26

Anumber of recent postings have challenged me on my view of alternative "medicine". To start with anonymous 24/05/01 who mustn't have read my contribution of 18/03/01 in which I dealt with proven medicinal extracts of plants. By the way 'most' modern drugs are not derived from herbs - some are but the vast majority are synthesised. I stand over my comment that many products on the shelves should not be called medicines. The word medicine comes from the Latin medicina ars=the art of healing. Whatever art is involved it is not healing. Tim(freetheworld)?? posted 24/05/01 tells me I am narrow minded because I explained that while St John's Wort might be a cause celebre among practioners of the doubtful arts of alternative medicine it is a drug that is quite properly controlled by the Irish Medicines Board and I am in good company if he cares to visit the complimentary medicine page on irishhealth.com. If he wants proof I can tell him that St John's Wort is an inducer of the metabolic enzyme CYP3A4 which is responsible for the metabolism of a large number of medicines including oral contraceptives,antiepileptics, calcium channel blockers and certain antibiotics and antifungals. It is doing no service to those on any of these preparations to pontificate on the safety of "natural" medicines. To anonymous of 28/05/01 on whether or not I have had personal experience of both conventional and alternative medicines the answer is no. To suggest for instance that it is necessary for every doctor or nurse to have personal experience of every illness before they could treat it is patently absurd. I also think that there are too many anonymous contributors. The moderator should insist that everyone uses their full name unless in his/her view it is undesirable.

Anonymous  Posted: 07/06/2001 17:15

What a shame that Mr. Williams is so narrow minded - I really thought that in the year 2001 people were more broad minded. I have every respect for conventional medicine and most certainly believe that we will always need this medicine but I do believe that we also need complementary/alternative medicine as well. I myself am involved in Reiki (not as a professional occupation) but in my leisure time I have worked on family and friends and have no doubt that this treatment is successful, just one example is I have treated people with warts and after a few sessions they have cleared - the Reiki energy is very powerful in a subtle way. I realise that warts are not major - that was just a very simple example. However, I suspect that no matter what proof John would be given he would still be a sceptic and he is entitled to his own opinion but to brandish people in the alternative medicine field as 'latter day quacks' is absolutely ridiculous and thankfully alot of people these days realise that. It is a great pity that the medical profession seem so threatened by Complementary/alternatives medicines when really we should all be supporting each other. and by the way I disagree about the Anonymous issue - if a person prefers to remain anoymous for whatever reason I think that should be respected and so long as the message is of importance and relevance I think the editor should allow it regardless of the person disclosing his or her name, after all that is not the issue. M.

Paddy (pjmmd)  Posted: 01/07/2001 21:22

Has anyone tried accupuncture for the treatment of Idiopathic Torsion Dystonia or as an "aid" to the withdrawal of Benzodiazepines. If so I would love to have your comments. Thank you.

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 12/07/2001 07:35

I sincerely hope that the many contributors to this topic who have criticised me for urging caution in the use of alternative medicine have read the front page of The Irish Times (11/07/01) on the dangers of some herbal remedies. I have not yet read the full report but the extracts that were published are nothing new. The side effects of the herbal products mentioned are well known and have been well documented in the past. No matter how many genuine reports are published some people will not believe. "There are none so blind........"

Paddy (pjmmd)  Posted: 12/07/2001 22:33

John Williams seems to be in search of his few minutes of fame. Might I suggest that he open his mind and look at the results of "complimentary medicine". I have written about it John, take a look. Then again maybe you would be of the school that believes chronic pain is "non organic" that I understand is medical parlance for "It's all in your head" Not only do I know different, I can prove my case. As we used to say when doing Geometry in School Q.E.D.

Valerie (valalan)  Posted: 17/07/2001 17:54

I feel sorry for johnwilliams he is trying to get people to read the facts,unlike John I have tried St.John's Wort when it first came available and we were told how brilliant it was,I did not find time in a pysciatric unit fun,my blood levels were so low it was thought my medication was stopped.I gave it to friends with no illnesses and they both felt very weird while on it.Vitamins I also took and ended up looking like evil and demonic and very nasty towards other people.I am very careful with my diet and take conventional medicines and I am now very well.John is not narrowed minded,and I hope he reads this,because John I am on your side.

Anonymous  Posted: 13/08/2001 21:47

I am a nurse and have been on medication for high blood pressure for the last 3 years which has successfully kept it within normal range for my age. Suffering unpleasant side effects of the menopause(hot flushes memoryloss etc )and being unwilling to take HRT I tried on my doctors recommendation some herbal remedies frequently recommended. Within 2 weeks my blood pressure was out of control. This greatly upset me and perplexed my GP. Finally after weeks it dawned on me what had happened. I stopped immediately and within a week my BP was back to normal and has stayed that way. Herbs are not harmless. The foxglove produces digoxin which is a potent cardiac drug capable of stopping the heart. Yes of course they have their uses but they need a controlling body and properly trained practitioners. These irritating laws are believe it or not for our protection. And leave John Williams alone. What he says is right.

Harriet  Posted: 14/08/2001 09:13

Perhaps anonymous should have a think about why Bayer has had to withdraw its most popular statin.. Baycol. Is there a single 'orthodox medicine' which is without side effects? Read a copy of MIMS if you want an honest answer to that question. Of course herbs can have side effects, but they are far fewer and far less lethal than those from prescribed drugs.

Sally  Posted: 27/08/2001 01:06

With regard to the letter from the nurse with menopausal problems and blood pressure I would make the comment that she made the mistake of consulting the wrong practitioner about the herbal medicine. If you want to take herbal medicine your GP is not the person to ask, simply because he/she has not undergone formal training in this branch of medicine. For safe effective herbal treatment, go to a registered herbalist. For safe effective homoeopathic treatment, go to a registered homoeopath (a full list of registered homoeopaths practicing in this country is available from The Irish Society of Homeopaths) The same applies to Acupuncture of course. For orthodox medicine go to your GP, ask him/her about the other diciplines only if he/she has a proper training in those areas. It is of some concern to me that these days there are so many herbal medicines available over the counter. I fear that many more will follow the route of St John`s Worth from inappropriate use. It is totally ridiculous, in my opinion, to put these on prescription only, since many are very effective when properly administered by a QUALIFIED practitioner. How many Orthodox doctors fulfill this criteria? We need State registration and recognised training for practitioners of herbal and homoeopathic medicine. We do NOT NEED THESE DICIPLINES IN THE HANDS OF THE ORTHODOX MEDICS ONLY.

Anonymous  Posted: 05/09/2001 09:41

My understanding is that it is not simply St. John's Wort alone which can cause problems: it is its INTERACTION with other common medications (most notably antihypertensives and oral contraceptives) which are dangerous. It may well be that it has been used safely for thousands of years, but those other drugs have not been available for use in tandem with it. It is this interaction which makes it unsafe. Regarding Lipobay, it was again the *interaction* between the statin and another drug which caused the problems, not the drug alone. St. John's Wort may well return to availability in Ireland. The whole point about making it prescription only is that the person prescribing it can check for other drugs being taken which may interreact. This is impossible to regulate in an OTC environment.

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 05/09/2001 21:16

I hope the contributors to this site read the most recent report in the New Scientist on the herbal Ginko Biloba. It seems that another 'safe' herbal medicine is causing malformation of the foetus. We are lucky in Ireland that this product is controlled by law so is not available over the counter otherwise we could have had some tragic results. Unfortunately some young mothers would be taken in by the propaganda that all herbal medicines are safe when patently they are not. Maybe now some more people appreciate why St John's Wort is controlled by prescription.

Harriet  Posted: 05/09/2001 21:59

Good point made by anonymous about the interactions of drugs being the problem. BUT having them prescribed doesn't really solve it. After all, the statin in question had a warning that it should not be given with a specified drug, and yet doctors obviously prescribed them both at the same time. So doctors can make mistakes too. On the whole the pharmacists (chemists) seem to be better at warning about interactions than the doctors are. They can check on their computers. And about St. John's Wort. How would a doctor know anything about it? Perhaps it would be an idea to have all herbal/alternative medicines carry a warning about possible interactions with regular drugs? Difficult problem.

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 13/10/2001 00:25

For those who still believe in the efficacy of alternative medicine a circular letter received by me this morning (and presumably by thousands of others)gives some idea of the thinking behind practitioners of this doubtful art. It is advertising an alternative medicine college. Six pages of puff only once mentioning the word patient. It starts "new alternative medicine college can set you up in a booming practice in two years or less", "join the successful ...some of whom have built up practices making over £200,000 per year", "no previous experience required","your present state of knowledge is not important", " its down to systems and programmes","you learn the secrets of marketing,practice building...", "you are never going to get yourself sued...", "patients will expect to see computerised,modern technology, properly presented promotional material, reports and presenations." The above quotes give a flavour of the 'training' that some alternative practitioners receive. Its very sad that some people fall for these questionable activities.

cjackson  Posted: 17/10/2001 16:18

The circular Mr Williams received says nothing whatsoever about the efficacy of any branch of alternative medicine. Just because some cynical opportunist is seeking to exploit others' gullability or greed does not tar all alternative/complementary medical practitioners with the same brush. Nor does it prove that any therapy does or doesn't work. One might as well say that Harold Shipman is representative of GPs as a whole, or that all muslims are international terrorists. This is gross generalisation and is generally agreed to be unwise and unfair. Alternative practitioners come in many flavours and - as in most areas of life, including orthodox medicine - there are many who are good and caring, as well as a few bad apples. Some therapies have been shown to be effective in rigorous trials published in the major medical journals (acupuncture, homeopathy, osteopathy, some herbs) whilst in others the jury is still out. If Mr Williams prefers to follow the orthodox medical path, that is entirely his prerogative, but there are many conditions such as irritable bowel, arthritis, migraine, chronic fatigue, depressional states and chronic pain which orthodox medicine is generally poor at treating and which may benefit from an alternative approach. I think Mr Williams should name and shame the author of the leaflet, then admit his own faulty logic.

Ciara (ciarar)  Posted: 14/11/2001 15:02

Surely it is up to the individual to know or at least try and ascertain the side effects of the drugs/remedies thay are about to take, whether traditional or alternative? From my own experience I believe that some natural renedies are excellent. My two children are two and four, a year ago my one year old had croup plus reoccuring respiratory tract infections. It got to the point my GP was asking if there was a history of asthma in the family. I decided to explore other options in terms of prevention first as I was getting sick and tired of giving her antibiotics. I brought them to a an alternative praticioner ( who is also a GP) who told me to steam them every night adding mustard powder to the water. He also told me to give them garlic tablets and vit C. I have done this and thankfully we have not seen an antibiotic or indeed our family GP since(over one year). I don't think that this sort of common sense approach can be dismissed too easily and certainly has had a positive effect on my families health. Ciara Ruschitzko

Anonymous  Posted: 22/11/2001 00:04

Careful Ciara, You have just made a claim tha a herbal remedy treats croup and we might see mustard powder being put on prescription only!!!! Are you sure it doesn`t react with orthodox medication?

Ciara (ciarar)  Posted: 23/11/2001 10:15

Dear Anonymous, first of all it would be much better of you could back up your comments by giving your name! I did not claim that this was a cure for croup, what I said was that I went the preventative route to try and stop them getting chest infections. At no point did I claim that steaming using mustard powder was a "cure". They are not been given any regular orthodox medicine and my original point was that people need to ask questions about possible side effects of whatever option they are taking. Obviously if I had to make a trip to my GP with my children I would tell her exactly what supplements I am giving them, to do otherwise would be reckless. Preventative medicine and orthodox treatment can go hand in hand if people use their common sense and use both their alternative practitioner and GP for professional advice.

Anonymous  Posted: 28/11/2001 03:33

I would love to know if anyone out there has a remedy for ulcerative colitis- I have been taking the drugs prescribed by my Dr. but they just dont work.. Is there an alternative to Steroids or even something that could be taken as well as the drugs...

Anonymous  Posted: 12/12/2001 09:36

It has recently come to my attention that the Government have appointed the Irish Medicines Board to draft legislation for the licensing of traditional medicine and that comments and opinions should be submitted by the 27th December.  Any public response needs to be forwarded to the Minister for Health and Children, Michael Martin, local TDs and the IMB as a matter of urgency.   I have heard so little of this in the public media and feel very strongly that an extension should be given in order for the public to be fully informed.  I do not feel this legislation serves the best interests of the Irish Consumer resulting in products being withdrawn from the shelves, more products being placed on prescription and increased cost for the consumer.   Also I feel an independent body should have been appointed to deal with this issue, not the IMB.

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 19/02/2002 23:41

In the last week there has been a warning from the Irish Medicine Board that the 'traditional chinese herbal medicine' brand name SPES contains amounts of a modern tranquilliser. The previous week it warned of the dangers of Kava Kava. These two incidents alone prove my original posting was correct in warning about spurious claims of this area of uncontrolled so-called 'medicine'.

Mary (Maryof59)  Posted: 21/03/2002 03:04

I am writing in support of Dermot Kirwin. I also find it intensly annoying to read the opinion of others who obviously are not willing to put their name to their opinions. What are they afraid of? On the subject of complementary therapies, I feel that to de-stress an individual is to improve their immune system and to provide the opporunity for the person himself to heal himself. Believe it or not, all drugs whether natural or engineered work in cooperation with the body of the individual and depend greatly on the state of each persons immune system which is adversly affected by stress and helped into a state of health by their state of mind (and potentially by complementary therapies).

Michael (michaelos)  Posted: 27/03/2002 15:30

A discussion with a German resident, whose doctor sometimes prescribes homeopathic substances, led me to do a bit of digging on the subject, and I found a highly sceptical article at http://www.skepdic.com/homeo.html Bearing in mind the avowedly sceptical position of the author, I'd like to ask contributors who have a different, or simply neutral position, whether homeopaths in fact maintain that extreme dilution increases the potency of medicines, and whether there are properly-conducted RCTs demonstrating effectivenes of homeopathic remedies.

James (DOL26445)  Posted: 28/03/2005 12:40

The Institute of Compplementary and Integrated Medicine are offering diploma and certificate courses in Naturopathic Nutrition, Iridology, Chinese Herbal Medicine and Chinese Patent Herbs. Does anyone know if the accreditation of these courses will be recognised in Ireland and will you be able to practice when you have received your diploma? What is the states position regarding regulation for alternative and complimentary practitioner and is this likely to change in the near future?

Anonymous  Posted: 31/03/2005 14:04

Unlike GP's here is no register to my knowledge in this country for alternative / complementary therapists. Now while i am willing to believe that aromatherapy and herbalism can be effective for minor problems and that some people have found relief with matsui, oesteopathy and Reiki, I think that homeopathy, metamorphasis and iridology are goign down the same route as spoon bending and fairies at the botton the garden.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 31/03/2005 14:32

Anyone thinking of \"learning\" a CAM would want to think carefully about how they might be wasting their money. I think these will be outlawed very soon.

Anonymous  Posted: 31/03/2005 15:05

William, I think they are no more li=kely to be outlawed (aka driven underground) than aspirin and vit c are likely to be made perscription only.

william (billyralph)  Posted: 31/03/2005 15:32

In response to Michealos' question re reputable trials on homeopathy-please look at the HIT trials carried out at the Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital all of which were randomised double blind controlled trials,all were indepently assessed by physicians who were highly skeptical of homeopathy and all produced statistically significant results(all published in the lancet or the british medical journal in 1980s).These results promoted the authors,all consultant physicians in Glasgow to ask the question 'do these trials show that homeopathy works or do they show that the randomised double blind controlled doesn't?'Accepting either is very controversial but the latter stance would throw medicine into chaos since the rdbc trial is seen as the highest(almost)form of evidence in medical research.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 31/03/2005 19:24

If Homeopathy is the total nonsense that all of the scientific disciplines know it is, then what sort of a trial is it that is carried out by the “Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital”? That’s like asking a cigarette company to do a trial on the health effects of cigarettes. To say the GHH is biased is the understatement of the century. If science is right and Homeopathy is total nonsense on several fronts then the GHH is out of business immediately. Just because an organisation calls itself a “hospital” doesn’t change the fact that it is a total scam. Numerous other studies, which strictly speaking are a waste of money considering all the other useful research that could be done, show no Homeopathic effect. Nothing in the laws of chemistry or Physics can explain how such a mechanism would work. I asked billyralph several questions on Homeopathy on another tread that he avoided answering, here they are again. Do you believe that Homeopathy works the way its “discoverer” in the 19th century and all its main promoters today claim or not? Can you explain how the makey uppy “Law of Similars” works? Do you think water has a memory? Can you explain if it has a memory how come tap water doesn’t cure everything as it’s billions of molecules have been in contact with all other possible chemicals since the water formed billions of years ago?

Anonymous  Posted: 01/04/2005 09:09

That's interesting William. My cousin and I have the same life-long, incurable (but totaly controllable with modern medecine) condition. I take three tablets daily and Thank God, they keep me very well. My cousin on the other hand, claims to have been "cured" by a really strong homeopathic remedy. Her doctor refuted this as impossible, yet she has had no symptoms for 8 monhs now and is in excellent health. Being rather skeptical of homeopathy myself, I wonder how this could be explained?

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 01/04/2005 10:15

Good question. Firstly your “evidence” is anecdotal and anecdotal “evidence” is very very unreliable. There are a number of explanations, but you don’t give any details of the illness. The details of the Homeopathic “remedy” are un-necessary because I can guarantee that whatever he/she took had no effect whatsoever. (Are you aware that under EU law Homeopathic remedies cannot contain anything other than water and alcohol, they cannot contain an “active ingredient”?) Are you aware that “a really strong homeopathic remedy” means there is billions of times to one of a chance that there is anything in the “medicine”. What do you think “a really strong homeopathic remedy” is? Please tell me what your cousin’s illness was and I’ll see can I suggest some solutions to your puzzle?

Anonymous  Posted: 01/04/2005 10:50

William, I am completely aware that a homeopathoic remedy can only conain alcohol and water, by law. Therefore a 'really strong' or 'really weak' or even 'really average' one still cannot contain an active ingredient, I assume. This is why I am so puzzled. We both have auto-immune hypothyroidism - developed in our 20's. I take a perscribed conventional medecine (350mg thyroxine daily) whereas homeopathy seems to have 'cured' my cousin.

william (billyralph)  Posted: 01/04/2005 14:02

dear anonymous-I'm very pleased to hear that your cousin's condition has cleared.William Grogan will not be able to definitively explain why the condition changed nor will anybody else.The significant thing is that allopathic remedies did not reach that result-taking a homeopathic remedy and obtaining a result does not indicate a cause and effect relationship either but homeopathy is not just based on the prescription of a substance.The relationship aspect of the doctor-patient interaction can have a very powerful effect on conditions(some like to denegrate that to the placebo effect and do not seem to be aware of the nocebo effect that the arrogant or 'busy' doctor can provoke in patients).There are thousands of people who attend the five homeopathic hospitals in the uk every year getting similar results-I can't explain that. As for WG's facile response to the randomised controlled trials at the Glasgow HH-of course they can contain bias but if WG knew anything about trial design and research he would know that this format is used to specifically minimise bias-hence the independent review of the results.All the allopathic medicines that WG has so much belief in have all come from the ever so honest laboratories of the big pharmaceutical companies and they all work just as these companies tell us-hence the controversies about cox-2 inhibitors,ssris,gabapentin etc.So dismissing sound research on the basis of supposed bias,having not even reviewed the research and stating once again that it shouln't work hence it can't is well...we've been down this road with WG before. As for WG's questions the answer to all of them is that I don't know-they are grey areas open to a range of speculation and I must admit that any of the science behind them would in fact be over my head-I am after all just a humble work-a-day GP. Quantum physicists and other such boffins love to throw these theories around and seem to have no problem with these concepts as possibilities.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 03/04/2005 17:54

Billy Ralph obviously accepts without question that Mr Anon’s cousin has been cured. Accepting anecdotal evidence is only evidence of billyralph’s gullibility. However, he then correctly points out that taking a teaspoon of water cannot be linked to any cure, so at least he accepts that the co-incidence of the cousin (should he actually exist and have had this condition) being “cured” proves absolutely nothing whatsoever about Homeopathy. I like to call this the Marian Finucane Delusion (MFD). Marian told a story on air about having Migraine for years, going to an acupuncturist (someone who sticks small pins in non-existent energy channels) and within a few, no doubt expensive treatments, never again suffered from Migraine. Marian has this delusion that the acupuncturist cured her. However, I too suffered from Migraine up until I was about 23, DIDN’T go to an acupuncturist and haven’t had migraine since. Now what does that tell us about Marian’s condition being cured by acupuncture? Oh come on… it tells us that you cannot link a condition improving and the taking of anything unless it’s done in a properly conducted scientific experiment/study AND then that others replicate the study. All the various scam artists make very good use of co-incidence. When a patient/mark goes to scam artist there are 3 possibilities; he gets better naturally and the scam artist gets the credit (aka MFD), he stays the same and the scam artist claims that he has stabilised the condition or he gets worse and the scam artist tells him he needs more treatment or recommends another magic scam artist, there are thousands of them after all. BR says, “homeopathy is not just based on the prescription of a substance” and then goes on to indicate that maybe Homeopathy doesn’t work but that the patient may get better because he trusts the doctor to cure him and that there is some bio-feedback mechanism that actually then cures him. There are a number of problems with this theory; 1: it still means Homeopathy is a scam, 2: the doctor is now being unethical with the patient by “fooling him”, 3: the doctor is treating the patient like an idiot (…here I’ll give the twit a teaspoon of water and tell him that it will cure him), 4: there isn’t a shred of evidence that “wishful thinking” or a positive attitude actually cures illnesses, except maybe depression, in fact there is a study that shows no increased survival rate for cancer patients with a positive attitude and those without one. Why am I “facile”? If I sincerely believe that Homeopathic practioners & suppliers are con artists who should be jailed for fraud, why would a study carried out by a criminal be of any interest to me? Am I supposed to believe these people? Now that is a paradox, I am to think that someone is a criminal AND that his study is valid. All the scientific controlled studies have shown absolutely nothing. Whether “big pharma” is honest or not is irrelevant to whether or not Homeopathy is a con. I do believe there are steps to be taken to improve studies carried out by medical companies such as reporting negative results but this is now starting to happen. Anyway, when a medical company does studies, other unbiased scientists can repeat those studies and any company found committing fraud would be in deep do do. A French Homeopathic proponent also claimed to have carried out a detailed study that proved the mechanism for water having memory but he could not repeat it under supervision and no other scientists could repeat it either. Furthermore James Randi’s organisation will pay $1,000,000 to anyone proving Homeopathy or any other form of magic works. He hasn’t had to pay out a cent in 20+ years. Can BR just confirm that he does NOT accept that Homepathy works the way those making millions of dollars selling little bottles of water claim? Perhaps he can confirm that he does NOT believe that “energy channels” exist in the body? The placebo effect is often misunderstood and apparently also by BR, so here it is again: in studies there are people who THINK they have got better because they THINK they are taking a medicine that works. They don’t ACTUALLY get better, they just THINK they do. Thinking your cancer is getting better has absolutely NO effect WHATSOEVER on the cancerous cells. BR’s comment about Quantum Mechanics is totally wrong in my opinion. No Quantum Physicist that I’m aware of believes that Quantum Mechanics provides an explanation for Homeopathy. What we do see is scam artists using buzz words and phrases from Quantum Mechanics to add credence to their bullsh1t and or to use the polite expression, it’s Pseuo-science. As regards Anon’s puzzle re his cousin’s Auto-immune hypothyroidism. It seems to me reading about this condition that it varies greatly in its seriousness so your cousin may simple have had it mildly and now after a change in diet or that they have stopped smoking or some other environmental factor that it has eased up to the extent that he/she could be described as cured. My wife was a coeliac to the point of nearly dying as a child but now eats bread with no problems, my 15 yr old was a severe asthmatic as a baby but is slowly growing out of it. I’ve already mentioned my migraine ending 25+ years ago. I was actually hospitalised for checkups as a 16 year old because of Migraine yet zilch in 25+ years. In other words there are plenty of conditions that simple cure themselves. Puzzle solved?

Anonymous  Posted: 04/04/2005 10:21

William, you state that Billy Ralph accepts without question that my cousin has been cured? Then you say 'should he actually exist and have had this condition' Tell me, are you call me or my cousin a liar? Or perhaps you think her GP was liar?Unfortunately, as neither she nor I have participated any scientific studies, I have no evidence other than anecdotal. I can assure that her condiion did exist and if anything her symptoms were worse than mine and if you have read on the subject as you claim to, you would know that auto-immune hypothyroidism does not 'go away' or 'get better on it's own' the way headaches or childhood athsma has been known to. Nor does one 'grow out' of it. My cousin has never smoked, and her diet would be quite similar to mine, we live two miles apart, so I don't see how environmental conditions come into play and believe me as a sufferer I know that with symptoms like weight gain, extreme tiredness, hoarseness, dry skin, poor memory and poor concentration, one does not IMAGINE oneself better. So, in short ne - the puzzle is NOT solved.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 05/04/2005 07:40

James Randi wrote a book 2 decades ago on the apparent miracle cures of the US evangelists and showed time after time that people claimed to be cured that were not. Read his book if you don't believe me. By doing so they unwittingly helped make millionaires of many of these fake priests and con artists. He even goes into the psychology of it all. That’s the way people are. Another possibility is that your cousin may have been wrongly diagnosed with this illness, that happens all the time. The fact of the matter is that a Homeopathic “remedy” cannot be law contain an active ingredient and taking it cannot cure anything, that we know for a fact. If I had the time and money to hire experts and your cousin’s assistance I could possibly explain exactly what did or did not happen to your cousin. “Auto-immune hypothyroidism” can effectively go away. If someone pays for a “very strong Homeopathic solution” and believes that it will cure them they have a very strong psychological need to believe that it did and if their symptoms are alleviated they may well claim that they are cured when they really just have the symptoms under control. Immune related illnesses are well know to improve themselves and Asthma, as far as I know, is also an immune related illness. Because you don’t know what environmental conditions came into play doesn’t mean they didn’t. At Lourdes there are hundreds of thousands of the crutches of people who think that they were cured of their ailments but the Catholic Church itself only claims 64 miracle cures (and at least one of them later died of what she was supposedly cured of) and where are the artificial legs and artificial eyes? I cannot explain all the facts of this case but what I have done is show that there are many alternative explanations to the one you propose, that the entire laws of chemistry & physics were violated when your cousin got cured by drinking a teaspoon of pure water. Read the Irish Times today and see how people die because they incorrectly and very foolishly put their faith, and that’s what it is, faith, in Alternative Medicine. I think you need to be registered to read this http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/ireland/2005/0405/2714053675HM3INQUEST.html?digest=1 A summary “The wife of a 49-year-old Co Mayo man who died of suffocation caused by a cancerous tumour in his throat made an emotional plea to the public yesterday to get a second opinion before placing faith in natural health therapies. …. Dr Iqdam Tobbia, the consultant pathologist who carried out a postmortem at the request of south Mayo coroner John O'Dwyer, told the inquest Mr Howie's tumour was localised and could have been removed, treated by radiotherapy or chemotherapy to provide a longer and better quality of life. …. Mr O'Dwyer added that it was clear that Mr Howie should not have died. Had he received conventional medical treatment he would still be alive.”

Anonymous  Posted: 05/04/2005 09:42

Willima, there is no need to be defensicve. I am not atnti-conventional medecine. I could hardly be so as I myself attend a doctor and take mediation. As for AI - hypo-T going away on it's own. IT DOES NOT - you are WRONG on that one. Even her own doctor cannot explain it and until he examined her after she claimed to be cured, he was telling her it was impossible. The liklihood of incorrect diagnoses (by a GP and two endocrinologists?!!) is extremely remote as her levels were way out of kilter - as diagnosed and have now normalised (as borne out by 3 blood tests). Therfore the idea that it's just her symptoms that are under control is also incorrect. I'm not saying that homeopathy cured her, I'm just asking if you can explain how she came to be cured following the homeopathy teatment. And as Billu Ralph suggested - it seems you cannot.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 05/04/2005 10:35

It's 11:26 and I'm listening to RTE Radio II or whatever it's called these days, and that poor unfortunate woman is being interviewed and is trying to explain why they didn't go to their doctor and instead relied on aln alternative therapist to "treat" her husband. This person used a dowsing rod and a non marked white pill as treatment. The man died of cancer.

Anonymous  Posted: 05/04/2005 12:06

- which proves that one should consult doctors. It does not prove that all complementary (not alternative but complementary) therapy is wrong.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 05/04/2005 12:19

The widow has just said that her dead husband was given Homepathic tablets to take. He's stone dead.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 05/04/2005 12:45

Lets clarify something. I mentioned the MFD and that the co-incidence of your cousin taking Homeopathic “remedies” and his “cure” are irrelevant. Do you understand that point? The logic of it, because if you don’t there is no point progressing with “the puzzle” until you do. So your repeated question “I'm just asking if you can explain how she came to be cured following the homeopathy treatment” is not logical. The two are not connected. I’ll give an example, I buy a new pair of blue suede shoes for the very first time and also a lotto ticket. I “match 5“ and win €1,000, do I now tell everyone that all they have to do to win a lotto prize is wear blue suede shoes? No. Marian F. DID tell the Irish people there was a connection between her Migraine and Acupuncture but there wasn’t, she can’t prove there was, science says there cannot have been and I didn’t get acupuncture and I am also cured. Now the puzzle changes from what you think it is to why your cousin appeared to have a disease and now doesn’t. If your cousin went to an CAM Artist then he/she may have instigated other changes in your cousins “lifestyle” such as diet, do you know if that’s the case? What age is your cousin? If your cousin went to medical people she was presumably put on medication? Was she? There are drugs that cause this disease. Was she on any other medications? This sentence is from a medical website and completely contradicts what you said, “Hypothyroidism may be transient and require no or only short-term therapy”. If this is a true statement that your cousin may have just got better naturally. She also may suffer a reoccurrence and most definitely needs to keep up contact with her GP and not depend on the CAM Artist. In fact another obvious danger here, is that if symptoms do re-occur she may subconsciously ignore them and by the time medical action is taken she may have suffered irreparable health damage. When there is no known answer to a question you shouldn't assume magic comes into play and Homeopathy IS magic.

william (billyralph)  Posted: 05/04/2005 19:13

The same old preposterous responses-the diagnosis was wrong or it got better by itself!William it is quite clear that you have never dealt with any human being who is actually ill,especially one who has not been helped by an orthodox approach to their problem.Your thinking on the subject for all your supposed research into the subject of health and complementary medicine is simplistic in the extreme.You show a complete lack of sophistication in your ability to look at individual therapies,lumping complementary therapies together into one homogenous group.Using a radio report of a case,sad as it is that that man died and even sadder if he if fact only consulted a non-trained therapist who may have in fact exploited him but to use this as an example of how events can go so wrong when consulting complementary therapists as a reason not to is disappointing when in fact you were doing so well presenting various pieces of obscure and non peer referenced evidence.You don't know anything about the case in Mayo unless you have been intimately involved so leave it out of the argument.You are right to caution people against complementary therapy but a 'just say no approach'lacks any real analysis of the wealth of evidence for some herbal remedies,osteopathy,trigger-point acupuncture,shiatsu and even homeopathy-not as blanket cures for everything-that would be too reductionist and even dangerous to suggest that but for certain conditions.Your attack on the good doctors of the Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital was to say the least childish-they take referrals from a range of other doctors throughout Scotland and northern England GPs and specialists,all of whom are in a better position to understanding coincidence,self-limiting factors,environmental changes etc on their patients than you but who have had the humility to realise when their conventional approach is not yielding effective results for their patients and so refer to the GHH or the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital.These hospitals obtain excellent results-as have homepathic hospitals for the last two centuries,see the results of the cholera epidemics in the nineteenth century in the UK.The consultants at these hospitals if they were interested in exploiting patients would not stay in the NHS.They would in fact be out in the private sector fleecing the punters and trading on their excellent reputations.Once again William I welcome your note of caution and your challenge to those who are practising complementary therapies to justify their approaches as orthodox medicine has to here in the UK-I'm not so sure about Ireland. The comments made about a lack of evidence for positive attitude and even for prayer in health and illness are incorrect-even in conditions as obviously 'medical' as cancer a broad ranging approach incorporating physical,psycholgical and spiritual approaches are more effective than radiotherapy/chemotherapy alone-hence the Bristol model of cancer care.So to take a hard headed scientific view of illness which has its limited place misses some of the more subtle but fundamental aspects of what it is to be human.So once again William when science fails me as it will all of us some day I would like to have a human being hold my hand not a 'scientist' as I close my eyes for the last time. ps My understanding is that the Benveniste experiment re mast cell release of histamine using homeopathic dilutions has been replicated.

Anonymous  Posted: 06/04/2005 09:06

Ok William, I accept your theory that there was no connection netween her recovery and homeopathy, bit I still ask how she recovered (was cured). No, she did not APPEAR to have to the disease. She DID have the disease (unless her GP and both endo's were wrong). If you consult the about.com thyroid health website (one of the most comprehensive on the web) you will see that severe auto-immune hypothyroidism (not mild and transient) does not go away. Yes, she went to her GP, who put her on medication - the same mediation which I take daily (which incidentally works very well for me and), which aggravated her symptoms. She was referred for a scan and further therapy and taken off the meds while a combined therapy was being investigated for her by the consultant endo. It was at this point that she investigated the homeopathy alternative. She's 34 by the way. She's not on any other meds and she's had no lifestyle change.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 06/04/2005 10:58

Point 1. In your opening sentences you make statements that are self evidently wrong. Diagnosis are very often wrong, most human ailments do cure themselves. When someone gets acupuncture and then the condition clears up they incorrectly attribute the “cure” to the sham treatment. Do you agree with my point 1? Point 2. This ongoing nonsense that I have no feeling or have never dealt with “humans” is irrelevant. Holding someone’s hand when they are dying is fine and does comfort them but what has that got to do with giving someone a little white tablet with nothing in it? Are you saying that Homeopathy doesn’t actually work but it gives people comfort? I have raised this specific point before (03/04/2005 17:54) and you ignored it. Please confirm that this is not what you are saying. Point 3. I do lump together all CAM as the vast majority of it is totally useless and just variations on an old scam, snake oil & witch doctoring. Even your comment indicates that you must believe that much, or is it most, CAM is rubbish. Please confirm if that is the case. Point 4. Homeopathy is total nonsense and it would be a tragedy if the government effectively validated mass fraud my regulating it as opposed to banning it . We need tougher fraud laws for CAM, not regulation. Point 5 There is no accepted evidence whatsoever for CAM. If there is please refer me to it. There is a wealth of evidence that it does nothing and there is a much larger wealth of evidence that magic doesn’t work. For example, there is no evidence that water has a memory, there is no evidence for the “Law of Similar” and there is no underlying theory that could explain it. There have been many meta analysis of CAM studies and they all say that they are badly done, not double blind, too few individuals etc. It's quite obvious these studies themselves are fraudulent. Point 6. The death of that unfortunate man IS tragic but it’s only the tip of the iceberg, apparently there was another similar case in another Irish coroner’s court some weeks ago. So do not indicate that this is an isolated case, it isn’t. Point 7. Shiatsu. (I picked the silliest of your list of CAM.) This is what the website www.shiatsu.org, which I presume is a genuine pro-Shiatsu website says about Shiatsu, “Background to Shiatsu: The philosophy underlying Shiatsu is that vital energy (known as Ki in Japanese) flows throughout the body in a series of channels called meridians. For many different reasons Ki can stop flowing freely and this then produces a symptom.“. I have already asked you several times now ARE THERE ENERGY CHANNELS IN THE HUMAN BODY? Are you prepared to answer this question or are you going to continue to refuse? Point 8. You continuously state that modern medicine cannot cure everything. I agree. Why does this obvious comment have to be stated, who said it cures everything? Modern Engineering does’nt fix everything and cannot build absolutely everything, modern computing can’t solve every problem so? SO? What has this got to do with by passin gpeople on to to CAM Artists who can cure NOTHING at all? Point 9. http://www.cl.utoledo.edu/canaday/quackery/quack3a.html Explains the background to the use of Homeopathy and other snake oil remedies in the 19th century but this quote is interesting, “The biggest boost to homeopathy's popularity came during the cholera epidemic of 1832, when conventional bleeding and purging devastated those already weakened by the wasting disease. Homeopathic treatments appeared to cure simply because they lowered the death rate by not further debilitating the patient. Because homeopathic drugs were taken in such small doses, little harm came from them, and they were therefore easy to use in the home without physician assistance” In essence most medicine in 1832 was rubbish but Homeopathy being useless was less harmful. Point 10 Please refer us to any research that supports the notion that “spiritual approaches” and “psychological” and “positive attitude” and “prayer” increase survivability. Otherwise withdraw these claims. Point 11. Succussion is apparently a critical part of the process of manufacturing Homeopathic remedies. Do you believe this definition makes sense? “Succussion is the process of agitating a freshly diluted solution by rapping its container hard against a hard but elastic object such as a leather-bound book .. and stated that trituration and succussion release the ‘spirit-like power’ of the medicine. Hahnemann believed that succussion released dynamic forces from the diluents which were preserved and intensified with subsequent dilutions.” Do you believe there are “spirit like power” in Homeopathy? If so then you believe as I do that the belief in Homeopathy is a religion or magic. Point 12. Read this where the BBC Horizon program clearly shows Benveniste cannot do what he claims when watched. http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/horizon/2002/homeopathy.shtml Point 13. Do you believe this claim from Benveniste that he can capture the “vibrational energy” from a Homeopathic remedy, store it on a computer’s hard disk, email it as an attachment across the world, then at the other end this “vibrational energy” can be transferred to a jar of water which can be used to cure someone? Finally. The reason I have put this post into points is that the majority of your writings have been general, avoided specifics and have not addressed hard questions that I put to you. In fact you have made a point of replying to my specific questions with insult. This an is extremely common response from those touting religion, CAM and all sorts of fakery when challenged. You even bailed ship on the last thread. Are you prepared to answer specific points are or are you only going to carry on issuing insults and making vague generalisations? Any objective reader of this thread will clearly see you are attempting to fudge the issues.

Anonymous  Posted: 06/04/2005 13:34

William, I suspect you were answering Billy's posting rather than mine however, I see you are offering explanation of my cousin's cure / relief/ recovery - call it what you will as either an incorrect diagnosis from a GP, Endo and consultant (I'm assuming the blood pathology lab and the lab which organised the scan were also co-incidentally wrong) or as having cured itself. Severe auto-hypo-T does not cure itself, or 'go away' or be 'grown out of'. I don't suggest that homeopathy cured her but seeing as you are so virulently opposed to it I asked if you could provide an explantion as to how her condition managed to be healed - which, as Billy suggested, you clearly cannot. As for shiatzu - had thought this was a form of massage. Incidentally, at least two ( and there may be others I am unaware of) health insurane companies in Ireland provie cover for omplementary tratments from a registered practitioner.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 06/04/2005 14:23

Just to clarify & be a bit more precise, I’m not really saying that there is definitely no correlation between two events just you cannot assume so. In this case highly unlikely as Homeopathy is magic and magic has not been shown to work. I made several suggestions as to why she may appear to be cured, if she did indeed have the disease but I also said from the start that unless I had the time and money, co-operation with your cousin, her GP and the specialists and was made aware of all the facts, rather than your summary of them, I could not take this much further. Even if I did there is no guarantee that we will find a solution. What is important is to accept the limitations of science and any investigation that seeks to uncover a mystery or puzzle or unknown and just say “we don’t know”. Science isn’t afraid to say that. Maybe in future some new research will explain why she could have been “cured”. Who knows? The most important thing to take from this episode on the thread is that people do unfortunately jump to conclusions that if you take a CAM treatment and get cured or think you are cured that you will incorrectly attribute it to the CAM. That is a major point, it’s on that misunderstanding that much of CAM survives. The Marian Finucane Delusion. Unfortunately many people cannot handle this uncertainty and prefer to say it was a miracle. It wasn’t.

Anonymous  Posted: 06/04/2005 14:48

Willaim - you state "I’m not really saying that there is definitely no correlation between two events just you cannot assume so. In this case highly unlikely as Homeopathy . . . has not been shown to work" and “we don’t know". I believe this is indeed progress.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 06/04/2005 15:08

Another incorrect correlation is that because I am “virulently opposed to” Homeopathy I can some how or another explain how someone I have never met was cured of a disease I know next to nothing about. Weird logic there. I was simply separating the incorrect connection from taking the Homeopathy and the “cure” and making the point that there are other possible solutions to the puzzle. Billy Ralph referred to Shiatsu and I have asked him to comment on how the people promoting it claims it works. I’m quoting from them. I didn’t say what it was. If Shiatsu is just massage then why call it Shiatsu? This is another little trick that CAM Artists use. When desperate they try and link their con with something that most people do accept such as massage. Reflexology tries the same trick. Massage is fine for relaxing you and perhaps there is often even a sexual element especially when the person giving the massage is of the opposite sex but it doesn’t cure any diseases. It is a scandal that insurance companies waste our premiums on covering scams but isn’t that something we must fight as well? Insurance companies are money making entities and not medical entities. I’m quite sure they are happy to increase premiums to include any treatments their clients require. I have made my objections to this to my own insurance company. I think there should be legislation forbidding insurance companies from offering this cover or at the very least allowing me to pay a reduced premium on the understanding that I will never make a claim for supporting a con artist.

Maria (REH15529)  Posted: 18/04/2005 10:03

Complementary medicine regularly gets bad press because some people are only waiting for somthing to go wrong to denounce it. Like anything else, it needs to be treated with respect. There are many deaths on a daily basis that occur as a result of mistakes in mainstream medicine. Complementary, as opposed to 'alternative' is just that, a compliment to orthodox medicine, Chinese Medicine and Homeopathy are medical systems, most others aim to relieve stress which actually causes many physical symptoms of illness. People deserve choice in every aspect of their life and complimentary and alternative options give people that choice.

Anonymous  Posted: 18/04/2005 10:39

Maria, can you explain how Homeopathy cliams to be a medical syastem, whne as William claoins, above, it cannot contain any active ingredient and it works on the basis that water has memory - something which has never been proven?

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 18/04/2005 10:59

Claiming that CAM regularly “gets bad press” is an amazing analysis of the reporting of CAM. The vast majority of CAM reported in newspapers, particularly the red tops, magazines, particularly women’s, TV and Radio is overwhelmingly positive. Some newspapers regularly print what are effectively free advertisements for in my opinion ludicrous magic treatments without any attempt whatsoever to challenge the claims made by those making a living from claiming health benefits from their particular CAM. The recent scandalous cases where people died while receiving CAM treatments are clearly not “mistakes”. The fact that medicine has side effects and that doctors make mistakes is to be expected, they are not gods, but that is utterly irrelevant to whether CAM has any validity. That “people deserve choice” is not accepted if the person offering the “choice” is defrauding you. No doubt Maria will agree with my statement? Homeopathy is not “a medical system”. It is magic. Unless magic works Homeopathy cannot possibly work. Homeopathy has been shown NOT to work. Literally without exception in several years of debating with people, I have never had anyone attempt to explain Homeopathy or even admit that it works the way it is supposed to, ditto Acupuncture. Maybe Maria might try?

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 26/04/2005 23:25

To Maria. You claim that 'alternative medicine' regularly gets a bad press. Have a look at the piece in the Health Supplement of today's (26.04.05) Irish Times. It interviews a consultant working in the Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital (mentioned above in a previous posting). Hidden away in the body of the text we discover that this hospital!, this fount of homeopathic knowledge has 14 beds - yes 14. And this article takes up nearly a full page in the newspaper. No bad press there.

william (billyralph)  Posted: 27/04/2005 12:06

To johnwilliams-have you ever been to the Glasgow homeopathic hospital?Have you looked at their results?Have you seen the types of patients they deal with?Not neurosis and the worried well.So bravo! to the newspaper who highlighted their work-they do marvellous work with their integrative approach not just homeopathic medicines.So open your mind-we do so much in medicine that makes no difference whatsoever and we do so much that makes a real difference but can't explain it.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 27/04/2005 13:40

Billy Ralph, do you intend answering my 13 questions from the 6/4/05? They can all be answered by yes or no. Your ongoing wooly generalisations are usless. We need specifics.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 27/04/2005 13:42

John. you raise an interesting point. What HAS happened in the Irish Times? A half page add in the IT should cost €25,000. Doesn't the IT have an ethics committee?

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 28/04/2005 11:52

Almost every time I read about studies done on taking suplements this is what you get. "Vitamin supplements fail to maintain bones in elderly" By Jeremy Laurance, Health Editor 28 April 2005 Vitamin supplements taken by thousands of women to ward off the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis may be useless, research has found. Two studies involving more than 8,000 elderly people who took vitamin D and calcium supplements daily for up to five years found they had no effect on strengthening the bones or preventing injury from falls. The finding is a blow to hopes that supplements could provide the answer to one of the major causes of disability and death among the elderly... Full article http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/health_medical/story.jsp?story=633708

william (billyralph)  Posted: 28/04/2005 13:53

wrong again William-calcium and vit d have been shown to reduce osteoporotic vertebral fractures in postmenopausal women.The problem with the evidence that you quote is that the authors of the results are usually working for some pharmaceutical company and have a vested interest in such findings because the recommendation will change from prescribing a cheap product calcium and vit d to the more expensive bisphosphonates.So William as with so much of what you have written you choose the evidence to match your own biases-perhaps we all do!!!!

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 28/04/2005 14:30

That's funny you claimed recently that a study done by the 14 bed Homeopathy Hospital was without bias. Sounds like you are suiting yourself now. Furthermore can you confirm that the study was by a “Big Pharm” outfit or are you just guessing? This was a peer reviewed publication with a large sample. The current scientific consensus is that supplements are useless except for a tiny percentage of the population who are prescribed them. I always think it’s funny when the anti-big pharm pro-natural remedy brigade support large manufactures of useless tonics, homeopathic water, useless supplements etc. What should we call them “Big CAM”. Are you going to answer my 13 simple questions? For someone who claims to be a trained GP you have an extraordinary aversion to specifics.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 06/05/2005 13:46

Funny to see William accusing others of "an extraordinary aversion to specifics". In the discussion on fluoridation (www.irishhealth.com/index.html?level=4&id=4381, and see also the Colonic Irrigation discussion), I asked William to name any of the studies that show fluoridation to be safe (as he claimed). I also asked him to name one medical doctor who would defend fluoridation in public. Weeks have passed and he hasn't come up with anything. Is he too busy trying to refute the recent reports about acupuncture such as http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,6903,1474216,00.html? (Of course, if acupuncture works, that rather suggests that there is something in reflexology, shiatsu, etc. -- an appalling vista for William.) He also says "the current scientific consensus is that supplements are useless except for a tiny percentage of the population..." That's a statement of opinion, not of fact. There is no current scientific consensus. Let's take a common-sense view: We humans evolved eating mostly wild, raw foods. Wild, raw foods contain high levels of vitamins, in contrast to the food most of us (in the "developed" world) eat nowadays. William is suggesting that in the last few hundred years of increasingly sophisticated food production, processing and cooking, our bodies' requirements for vitamins have evolved to a very low level. I find it hard to believe. Sure, you can survive on low-vitamin food -- junk food -- but you won't have optimum health.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 08/05/2005 18:10

The “Colonic Irrigation” discussion is not where Fluoride should be discussed. The recent York Report examined hundreds of studies and concluded that Fluoridation was safe and beneficial. Needless to say the anti-fluoridation brigade dismiss that meta study too. If Fluoridation is unsafe why is California now introducing it? I am waiting on Joe to list the other weird things he believes in, can he answer me? We know a few of them. He still thinks that MMR is dangerous yet ALL studies done contradict this. Therefore why is Joe looking for more studies? He never believes them when they come out anyway. The same can be said of vitamins. Joe thinks supplements are useful but studies find the opposite. Studies mean nothing to conspiracy theorists. The EU is about to ban all these supplements until they can be proved to be of use to protect the consumer against fraud. Needless to say Big CAM opposes that legislation for the very obvious reason that they cannot ever prove these supplements and magic potions work. Is it not hypocritical of Joe’s ilk to demand more studies that prove Fluoridation is safe and then oppose studies that are needed to prove magic potions work? The study from the Complementary Medicine Research Unit, who would obviously be biased group, referred to most definitely did not show that acupuncture works. Newspapers are very very bad at explaining scientific matters. One obvious, major and in my opinion terminal flaw in the study was that there was no control. There should have been a group who had acupuncture needles stuck in points in the body that acupuncturists would agree would NOT work. Why was this not done? If that was done and that showed the same results as the acupuncture then it would blow the conclusions out of the water. The purpose of a newspaper is to make money and to do that they need readers and to achieve that they need “stories” and the more exaggerated and quite frankly silly, they are the better. The article actually proves this point within itself. It says “Controversy has raged for years over whether acupuncture.. works”. There is no controversy in science about supplements, acupuncture or homeopathy, only in newspapers. The same can be said of Evolution. Anti-evolutionists claim that scientists disagree over evolution. They certainly don’t disagree that it’s how we got here. Furthermore as one swallow does not make a summer, neither does one study prove anything. They have to be successfully repeated by other scientists and be fully explained. The opening sentence to that newspaper article shows the that acupuncture is based on magic. “'This point lies over the organ I want to strengthen, her liver. I want to improve the quality of her blood and her yin, which affects the energy balance.'” There isn’t even any agreement between acupuncturists as to where to stick the needles! I’ll ask Joe one of the questions that Billy Ralph GP refused to answer. Does he believe there are “12 Energy Channels” in the body? Of course Junk Food is bad for you. The solution to that is to eat proper food and not to eat the rubbish and then eat tablets to get the vitamins. We eat far better today than our ancestors, that’s why we are taller, healthier and live longer. Ironically our ancestors needed the vitamins more than we do.

Anonymous  Posted: 09/05/2005 08:43

William, can you prove that the EU is about to ban all supplements? This type of nonsense has been bandied about for years now and in fact it would be Irish law which would govern this particular aspect of licensing - not the EU.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 09/05/2005 10:27

To Anon 09/05/2005 08:43. There is a law being drafted called the EU Food Supplements Directive (FSD). This will ban all products that claim benefits that have not be proved to. There was an appeal by the food supplements industry, which obviously makes a killing in this area, that has temporarily succeeded in stopping this law being implemented but I understand that is a temporary set back. Read here for the full details of the law. http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/pri/en/oj/dat/2002/l_183/l_18320020712en00510057.pdf The purpose of this law is to protect consumers from being defrauded.

Anonymous  Posted: 09/05/2005 10:48

William, it will ban all products that claim benefits that have not be proved to be - however this will not encompass supplements / vitamins which state - "believed to aid" - or similar statments as these are ot making porven claims. Otherwise it would have to ban everything from Rubex to actimel to benecol margarine.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 09/05/2005 15:31

I had hoped that William might understand that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence... Fact: The York Review did not conclude that fluoridation is safe. "The review did not show water fluoridation to be safe. The quality of the research was too poor to establish with confidence whether or not there are potentially important adverse effects in addition to the high levels of fluorosis." So said Professor Trevor Sheldon, the founding director of the NHS Centre for Reviews and Dissemination at York, who chaired the advisory board which oversaw the whole review process (www.fluoridealert.org/sheldon.htm). William seems to be relying solely on the statements of the British Fluoridation Society and the BDA, which misrepresented the facts about the York Review (prompting Sheldon to write). Since I've already corrected William on this point (see www.irishhealth.com/discussion/message.html?dis=1&topic=2416), I think we should take a dim view of the repetition of the lie, particularly in view of the current evidence (www.irishhealth.com/?level=4&id=7322).

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 09/05/2005 18:28

Joe almost never refers back to any question or point I put to him. Most CAM supporters are the same. If he believes that MMR causes Autism but no study at all shows that and all studies proved that it doesn’t, why does he go on about studies? Does he think that “absence of evidence IS evidence of danger”? I suspect so. If there was anything other then extremely remote likelihood of danger in Fluoridation then it would have shown up by now. Fluorosis *cannot* be caused by the quantity of fluoride in water. It can only be caused by ingesting extra fluoride from naturally occurring fluoride in other substances and eating toothpaste. Anyway, Fluorosis is only a cosmetic problem as far as I am aware. Why is Joe hesitating in giving us a list of his other anti positions? Just like meta studies of studies can provide additional information so can meta studies of a person’s entire set of opinions and Joe and others in his group and many of the web sites that support Joe’s position on many matters clearly have the same strong central flaw in their logic. The faulty logic that leads Joe to think water Fluoridation is dangerous (and the list of ailments that the anti-fluoridation brigade believe are caused by Fluoridation is endless) is similar to what makes him incorrectly think MMR, other vaccines, “Big Pharm” etc are dangerous and that vitamin supplements, Homeopathy etc are useful. Joe, are there “12 Energy Channels ? “Believed to aid” by whom? Those in BIG CAM making a good living selling people water diluted with water and hit with “a heavy book” by any chance?

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 09/05/2005 21:52

About supplements... William wrote: "Joe thinks supplements are useful but studies find the opposite." You may have noticed that The Observer's medical writer Dr John Briffa wrote yesterday: "The bulk of the evidence shows that popping vitamin and mineral pills is safe and beneficial." (http://observer.guardian.co.uk/magazine/story/0,11913,1477955,00.html) While William claims to know what I think and believe, I think people can make up their own minds, and I think we should be sceptical about William's claims.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 09/05/2005 21:54

About Colonic Irrigation, I raised fluoridation in that discussion for very good reasons: There is a vast amount of scientific evidence that fluoride - even in low doses - damages the gastrointestinal tract and irritates the mucous membranes (see www.fluoridealert.org/health/gi/), and most water supplies in Ireland are fluoridated. It seems reasonable to conclude that colonic irrigation with fluoridated water is risky.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 10/05/2005 10:07

Dr John Briffa? Read this. “Dr John Briffa is a qualified doctor and leading practitioner and author in the field of *complementary medicine*. He was formerly the *natural health columnist for the Daily Mail*, and is currently the nutrition and *well-being* columnist for the Observer. …. has authored several books in the field of *nutrition and natural medicine* including Ultimate Health - 12 Keys to Abundant Health and Happiness…. He runs two hospital-based practices in London where he specializes in *the natural management* of health and disease.” So Dr John is a big fan of CAM. Surprise surprise! Dr John makes what would appear to be a very good living from CAM, so lets discount his opinion shall we? Now we can read that Observer article from a different perspective. Dr John actually disagrees about the conclusions that were drawn by the authors in a recent meta study showing that supplements are useless. In other words Joe is drawing our attention to a study that showed that supplements are useless but interpreted by someone who pushes them. “It seems reasonable to conclude..”. Sorry faulty logic again. You cannot “reasonably” conclude that a chemical that irritates anything in large does has any affect in small does, common mistake.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 10/05/2005 10:31

PPS Sorry Joe, but calling Dr John Briffa the “Observer’s medical writer” is inaccurate. No doubt Joe did that to give him a veneer of respectability. His byline is under “Nutrition”. A word often associated with supplements, diets and faddy food regimes. I have already made the point that newspapers are the last place to get accurate information on medical matters. Look at the company Dr Briffa keeps, “Consumers for Health Choice - Early Day Motion to Save Our Supplements. Dr. John Briffa. *Carole Caplin*. Neneh Cherry. Phil Collins…. Jools Holland. Holly Johnson. ... Suzi Quatro and others”. These ROCK MUSICIANS are opposed to recent EU legislation that seeks to protect the consumer from being defrauded by Big CAM selling useless supplements. What do Rock Musicians know about medical matters? You can see the trend. Anti-Fluoridation, pro-vitamins & useless supplements, pro Big CAM, anti-science, scaremonger against MMR which is all new age nonsense. Show me your friends…

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 10/05/2005 12:18

More on Dr Biffra. PS There is a website pushing, in my opinion, many useless supplements where Dr John is flogging one of his books on weight loss. I might add that selling weight loss solutions is one of the biggest scams in the world with billions being spent every year by desperate people anxious to lose weight. It is recognised by the US FDA who weekly arrest people for flogging useless pills. Joe, 12 Energy Channels?

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 11/05/2005 08:58

If Dr John Briffa were bothered, he'd be well able to defend himself against William's aspersions, judging by Briffa's learned contributions to the following BMJ discussion about Aspartame: http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/eletters/329/7469/755 __ Does anyone know why William is expecting me to say something about "12 Energy Channels"?

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 11/05/2005 09:00

William erred in accusing me of "faulty logic" in relation to fluoride damaging the GI tract and mucous membranes. I explicitly said "even in low doses", which seems to have escaped him. He obviously didn't follow the link I gave -- to evidence of damage from low doses. William must be unaware of the toxicity of fluoride. The Fluoridation Forum report (page 112) put it thus: "A standard tube of toothpaste contains about 125 gram of toothpaste (generally containing 1500 ppm fluoride); swallowing as little as one-quarter of a tube may be life-threatening for a one-year-old child." As for low doses, "...drinking water containing as little as 1.2 to 3 ppm of fluorine will cause such developmental disturbances in bones as osteosclerosis, spondylosis and osteopetrosis, as well as goiter." -- JADA, October 1944, Editorial. And, according to official US sources, 4.7 mg fluoride per day will suppress thyroid function (US NIEHS 2004). (Is there nothing that will make William even sceptical about fluoridation?)

Anonymous  Posted: 11/05/2005 10:19

Joe, if flouride damages the colon during C.I. - does it not also follow thst it would have dammaged everyones colon severely over all the years we have all been drinking it (in one form or other).

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 11/05/2005 13:04

Joe, YOU, have to defend Dr Briffa against my “aspirations???”, YOU quoted him. Aspartame? Talk about changing subject? I clearly show that the “expert” you referred us to was not the “medical writer” of the Observer as you claimed, not that that would make much difference, and that he makes his living from CAM. He quite clearly is an example of Big CAM. Furthermore the reason you referred him in the first place was to draw our attention to the article which had as its first sentence, “supplements are .. beneficial”, and when we read the article and the study that it referred to we see that the study published in the British Medical Journal says it proved supplements were of NO benefit AND that was to a group (old people) where I even thought myself there might be some benefit! Furthermore, you are doing exactly what another study found, that I referred to in another post, often anti-Fluoridation people look at studies so carelessly that they quote studies proving them wrong! You mentioned in another post that you believed in Acupuncture. Acupuncture is based on the notion that there are “12 Energy Channels” in the body. Do you believe that there are 12 Energy Channels? Do you still think MMR causes Autism, despite all the studies that say it doesn’t? BTW I agree, if CI with fluoridated water was dangerous and that uses a few litres a few times in a person’s life, then we most certainly would be all dead by now.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 11/05/2005 13:38

Damage to the colon, yes. Severely? It depends on how sensitive you are to fluoride. Certainly some IBS is caused by fluoride, and IBS is very common in Ireland. During CI with fluoridated water you would get more fluoride in the bowels than in normal circumstances.

Anonymous  Posted: 11/05/2005 15:24

IBS is NOT caused by flouride, Joe. It's stress-related and depends on an individuals stress reaction.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 11/05/2005 15:26

"It depends on how sensitive you are to fluoride". You just make this stuff up Joe, don't you? Fluoride occurs naturally, we're not "sensitive" to it at all in the tiny doses that occur in water or naturally. 12 EC's?? Yes or No. Actually I'm sensitive to Dihydrooxide, but only in very large doses.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 11/05/2005 15:29

In the other discussion (www.irishhealth.com/poll.html?pollid=254), William said: "I see gullible, illogical and silly people being defrauded on a grand scale and I want to see laws brought in to protect them." Who would bring in such laws, if not the politicians? But William said that "most politicians are not scientifically educated themselves and are no better than the man in the street at recognising medical fraud."

Anonymous  Posted: 11/05/2005 17:05

William, you are sensitive to Dihydrooxide in very large doses?? I am not scientifically educated but is this not another word for water Di (2) hydro (Hydrogen) oxide (Oxygen)- H2O ???

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 11/05/2005 17:51

I think that there are a number of reasons that CAM fraud is allowed to continue. Atrocious media reporting is the prime one. Another is that politician’s are not different than the man-in-the-street when it comes to detecting fraud. Most of them are lawyers, publicans, farmers, trade union officials etc. Very few, if any, are scientists. A second reason is that they face a hostile reaction to their voters who THINK that their CAM helps them and would obviously object to their favourite CAM being stopped. . Joe, are there 12 Energy Channels?

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 11/05/2005 18:51

William displays wishful thinking in denying that sensitivity to fluoride exists, even for tiny quantities. And I'm certainly not making it up. "In hypersensitive individuals, fluorides occasionally cause skin eruptions such as atopic dermatitis, eczema or urticaria. Gastric distress, headache and weakness have also been reported. These hypersensitivity reactions usually disappear promptly after discontinuation of the fluoride." SOURCE: PHYSICIANS' DESK REFERENCE, 1994, 48th Edition, p. 2335-6. Check out the scientific references at www.fluoridealert.org/health/allergy/ Some of the papers there are about sensitivity to fluoride levels in fluoridated water. Can William refute all those papers? If William would prefer, I can put him in touch with a bunch of people who ARE sensitive to tiny quantities of fluoride, and have medical certificates to prove it.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 11/05/2005 19:04

Anonymous, Posted: 11/05/2005 15:24, said: "IBS is NOT caused by flouride." How do YOU know? What about the vast amount of scientific evidence? Such as www.fluoridealert.org/health/gi/ (I can give you more references if you like.)

Anonymous  Posted: 12/05/2005 09:41

I have a cousin, a friend and a work colleague who have suffered from IBS and all have had it diagnosed as stress related. Two have, thankfully reovered - without changing their water source or water drinking habits.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 12/05/2005 09:45

Joe, you keep coming up with references to newspaper articles, studies, quack websites and when we demolish your arguments you ignore our rebuttals and come up with another red herring. So now we are moving onto “Fluoride Sensitivity” and ignoring the rest of your refuted laundry list of ailments caused by Fluoride? I’m not going to read any more quack websites, such as Fluoride Alert. Every time I do I find they are full of rubbish. Let’s stick to the points you have already made, that have been shown to be exaggerations, lies and quackery. Answer all previous points and rebuttals before moving onto another item please. 12 Energy Channels? And Joe, you don’t believe in “vast amount of scientific evidence” yourself as I have shown by your attitude to MMR and the false accusation that it’s linked to Autism.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 12/05/2005 23:05

Demolish my arguments?? It feels more like being savaged by a dead sheep. And it's disappointing, because I notice that William has made valuable contributions in other irishhealth.com discussions. In this one he seems to think that throwing in adjectives like "daft" and "quack" is enough. (And what "rebuttals" have I ignored?) There is no substitute for doing the research. There is absolutely nothing "quack" about www.fluoridealert.org. Readers can see that for themselves. But how would William know if he refuses to read it? William complained above that very few politicians are scientists and thus politicians wouldn't detect fraud. But the only backing for fluoridation that he cited was the BFS propaganda and a 1988 book authored by 18 Americans none of whom were scientists. Those sources have been rebutted time & time again over the years (e.g. in the Barry Groves and John Yiamouyiannis books), and I'll rebut them again, any time you want.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 12/05/2005 23:07

The Anonymous posts were implying that I said fluoride is THE cause of IBS. Not so; I said it causes IBS -- it is A cause, along with stress and probably other factors. If fluoridation has caused an IBS increase of just 1% (of the population) then it's a disaster, but the evidence suggests that the figure is higher. The health surveys that would tell us definitively have never been done in Ireland, even though the fluoridation law requires them to be done. Anyone read the law? Mary Harney? And what about the other fluoride effects -- hypothyroidism, skeletal fluorosis, scleroderma, etc. etc.? Anyone heard of the precautionary principle?

Anonymous  Posted: 13/05/2005 10:25

Joe, I had an uncle with schleroderma and it was diagnosed as an auto-immune condition, notnign to do with flouride. Also William, has said that flourosis, is merely cosmetic so how does this manifest itself as dental skeletal flourosis (assuming oen cannot see one's own bones).

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 13/05/2005 14:51

I'm sorry your uncle had scleroderma. How do you know the fluoride your uncle was ingesting had nothing to do with it? The link between scleroderma and fluoride poisoning is discussed in Dr John Yiamouyiannis' 1993 book "Fluoride - The Aging Factor". Fluoride interferes with thyroid function, which has been linked to scleroderma. Here's one reference: Ghayad E, Tohme A, Haddad F, Haddad C, Choueiry R - "Scleroderma with anomalies of the thyroid function. 7 cases" Ann Med Interne (Paris) 148(4):307-10 (1997)

Anonymous  Posted: 16/05/2005 08:51

Joe, it was diagnosed as an auto-immune problem and strangelynough, he drank on a daily basis was from a well (as they were's on mains water in that part of the county at the time) and therefore unlikely to have been flouridated.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 16/05/2005 20:26

The levels in water of Fluoride do NOT interfere with the Thyroid. A common mistake (lets be generous and pretend it's a mistake and not a deliberate attempt to fool people) that the anti's make is to assume that if a chemical or any substance causes a problem in very large doses that it also causes a problem in very low doses. They also make the mistake in assuming that a substance that damages an animal such as a mouse will also damage humans. This is not the case and visa versa is not the case either. This is obviously true as virtually everything that is good for you would kill you in a high enough dose. When anti’s refer to a study that shows that high levels of Fluoride or Chlorine damage cells and then claim that low doses are also dangerous they are totally and completely wrong. Water is naturally fluoridated anyway, in fact that is how the benefits of fluoridation were discovered. In some parts of the world water can naturally contain up to 8 times the quantity of fluoride that Irish water contains AND without causing harm. Joe where is the list of the 100 dentists that you claim support your position? Why are you refusing to give us the list?

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 17/05/2005 13:44

William, you're wasting our time asking me to name the (more than) 100 dentists. Irish Dentists Opposing Fluoridation (www.idof.net), like any respectable organization, doesn't hand its membership list out to anybody and everybody. Your other statements are misleading and I'll respond later.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 17/05/2005 15:52

Actually, William's statements starting with "The levels in water of Fluoride do NOT interfere with the Thyroid." are not just misleading. They are totally wrong -- the opposite of the truth. Irishhealth.com gives us the privilege of discussing health issues with a great many people and in my opinion, William is abusing that privilege. He's just gathering various lies about fluoride he finds on the websites of for example BFS and repeating them here. Irish people need to be aware of how much fluoride, a cumulative poison, they're ingesting, because most of them are ingesting high amounts of it. About the thyroid: The American Dental Association has admitted that "...drinking water containing as little as 1.2 to 3 ppm of fluorine will cause such developmental disturbances in bones as osteosclerosis, spondylosis and osteopetrosis, as well as goiter." -- JADA, October 1944, Editorial. And, according to official US sources, 4.7 mg fluoride per day will suppress thyroid function (US NIEHS 2004). Note: 1 mg per litre is the same as 1 part per million (ppm). Among many doctors in Europe and South America for much of the 20th century, the standard drug for treating over-active thyroid (hyperthyroidism) was fluoride; an adult dose was as little as 5 mg per day (source: the Merck Index). Fluoride is very effective at depressing thyroid function. There can be no doubt that many Irish people are unwittingly ingesting 5 mg of fluoride per day. Think about the daily intake of fluoride: 2 litres of water; a beer or two (most Irish beer is fluoridated); 2 cups of tea (tea can be VERY high in fluoride); a trace of fluoride toothpaste; all the rice, pasta, etc. cooked with fluoridated water; sea-food; most prescription drugs have significant amounts of fluoride; agrichemical residues (found in most foods); air pollution (for example, ESB Moneypoint, probably Ireland's biggest fluoride polluter, though the EPA doesn't monitor it properly); teflon cookware releases fluoride; and, as a result of ubiquitous fluoridation, fluoride in just about every processed food and drink. That's not a complete list. (See: www.fluoridealert.org/f-sources.htm) The "reasoning" behind water fluoridation was that your only significant source of fluoride would be the water. The reality is different. The health authorities have NO IDEA how much fluoride you're ingesting, but they insist on dosing you with more anyway. By the way, fluoride is not a nutrient of any sort; nobody needs fluoride -- ever.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 17/05/2005 17:22

This post of Joe’s contradicts itself. Joe lists over 11 sources of Fluoride and several etc’s, so if Fluoride is dangerous & ubiquitous then what difference does it make getting rid of it in water? As I have already said Fluoride occurs naturally so why worry whether it’s in water or not then? The levels of Fluoride we ingest is way below the level that would cause harm and many studies have shown that. The York Meta Study clearly stated that there is no evidence that Fluoride in water causes damage. Joe ignores that study as well. I have repeatedly asked Joe what is the point in scientific studies when he thinks Autism is caused by the MMR vaccine despite all of them clearly showing it doesn’t. Please answer that question? I have asked you 10+ times, without reply? Why does Joe avoid answering any specific question put to him? He keeps throwing out distorted propaganda and when the specifics are challenged he moves onto another subject. Joe is trying to spread mis-information. Particularly the lie that chemicals that occur in nature that are dangerous in high doses are also dangerous in low doses. They aren’t. UV light can cause skin cancer but rarely in low doses. If you get a lot of exposure to UV light then you have a high risk of skin cancer, maybe 1/1000 but in low doses almost no risk. Joe’s strategy is obvious, keep posting half truths, untruths, distortions and ignore any challenges until some people end up fooled into thinking one of the many lies might be true. I didn’t ask Joe did birds have 12 Energy Channels, I asked him, does he. He thinks acupuncture works so does he think the explanation that pins are being stuck in “Energy Channels” is true? Why will the dentists that oppose Water Fluoridation not allow their names to go forward in the interest of Public Health (according to them)? Do they not have a solomn duty to ensure the public is informed of this danger? How do we know "over 100" exist? How can we trust Joe is telling the truth?

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 17/05/2005 18:31

You don't have to trust me. Just look at the evidence: www.irishhealth.com/?level=4&id=7322 and www.fluoridealert.org/

william (billyralph)  Posted: 17/05/2005 20:07

Why does William keep banging on about energy channels and acupuncture.Medical trigger point acupuncture has nothing to do with chi meridians or any TCM it is based on a well known piece of neurophysiology-the gate theory of pain.Again William gets the bit between his teeth and runs blindly for the finishing line without exploring the subject.Musculoskeletal or triggerpoint acupunture is based on the work of a 19th century London based rheumatologist, Kellgren,who mapped out referred pain patterns of muscles that were injected with hypertonic saline.Following his work especially in the mid 20th century these pain patterns were further expanded upon by two Americans Travell and Simons who noticed these patterns of pain in their patients.There's a long tradition in medicine of injecting painful areas with a variety of substances-so they injected these areas and people's pains improved.But it turned out that you got the same result no matter what substance you injected.So somebody thought that it was perhaps the effect of the needle-dry needling.And it was,this was around the time of Nixon's famous visit to China so the two systems had a marraige of sorts,we took the needles and left the rest.Although having said that there is a striking similarity between the triggerpoints as found on most people and many TCM points.As for the chi and the meridans I don't know enough about the culture and the context in which TCM is practiced to criticise-unlike William.Because William the context and the belief systems of people are very powerful and we ignore them to deliver sub-standard care in many of our health centres and hospitals.True that your belief system doesn't come in at the number one priority if you are hit by a bus and need the technical expertise of a trauma team but then less than 1% of health care interactions are at that end of the technical spectrum,the majority of them are not open to the randomised double blind placebo controlled trial-thank God! As for the memory of water in homeopathy that's a little passe-its gets a lot more spooky than that if you read the latest in Homeopathy the British faculty's quarterly journal-they're into local and non-local quantum effects-way over my head.But the trials do show in many cases an effect over placebo-how do explain that?-don't say bias,poor trial design,numbers too small-all of which can apply to many trials -you're going to have to a bit cleverer than that to answer the question. William I do have to apologise for my earlier critism of your comments on the use of calcium and vit d3 in the elderly-I've read the study in the BMJ and it will make doctors limit the numbers of people they prescribe these supplements to,unfortunatley there is a French study on nursing home patient which did show benefit-science bah!,at least you know where you stand with old fashioned medicine!!!

Anonymous  Posted: 18/05/2005 08:57

Joe - some people DO need flouride (where it doesn'yt naturally occur in their water) to maintain dental health. Also how could tea be higher in flouride than the water it's made with and how would the air be a source of floiuride??? You came it cuaes osteoporosis. If most osteoporosis, in women occurs after the menopause (due to hormone deficiency) how could that be caused by flouride. Unless you are going to suggest that flouride somehow causes the menopause?? Finally, you suggest that sea food is also a source of flouride. How do you imagine that flouride gets into the sea water? Is the pharmaceutical / govt 'big brother' alliance alos pumping the sea full of flouride as well as the drinkign water? In fat, if anything certain sea food is a source of iodine, which is essential to the functioning thyroid as it requires iodine in order to make thyroid hormone for the body.

Anonymous  Posted: 18/05/2005 09:53

I have been following the flouride related aspect of this ebate with great interest and I am now in the position to relay two profssionl opinions. The first - Last week I attended my dentist (also an endodontist) and asked hin what he thought of the flouride controversy. He told me that the "controversy" existed only in the minds of the few with no basis in fact and provided a tidy earner for self-styled "holistic dentists" who made money out of carrying out needless proceedures and rubbishing the work of other dental professionals. The second - I have been hypothyroid for many years (genetic cause with a suspected stress-related trigger) Last evening I attended my doctor for my usual perscription for this. I asked him what he thought about the affect of flouride on thyroid functioning - as I drink quite a lot of water (I work in a very dry atmosphere) and was wondering if my thyroid meds dosage needed to be increased because of this or if I should switch to filtered water. He dismissed the supposed connection as an unproven conspiracy theory. There you have the opinions of two professionals qualified in the medical field. Joe - may I ask what profesional medical / scientific qualifications you have?

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 19/05/2005 21:48

Acupuncture is based on the notion that there are 12 Energy Channels and that they get “blocked” and need “balancing” and this is achieved by sticking pins in your ear etc.. If I am reading Billy Ralph correctly he is now saying that he doesn’t believe in this theory at all. So no Energy Channels and therefore no channels to stick pins in so Ancient Chinese Acupuncture is rubbish then and “Trigger Point Acupuncture” works fine? Is that what you are saying? Acupuncture is claimed to cure all sorts of ailments and not just alleviate pain. I don’t think whether or not we have “Energy Channels depends on “our culture”. This line of “reducing” argument is similar to a common line when CAM Artists under pressure claim that Reflexology is really massage or Reiki is all about relaxing and not the flow of “energy” from the “Master”. It also explains why Lourdes has lots of crutches left hanging up from those cured of limps but hey – no artificial legs or eyes. How come? Doesn’t God do whole legs, just limps? (What IS this Energy made of anyway????) People’s “belief” have no effect on the outcome of medical treatments. I find Billy’s sentence that starts with being hit by a bus and ends by thanking God somewhat funny. I’ve always being puzzled how people can make remarks like, “the entire family were killed in the car accident but thanks be to God the baby survived”. When CAM promoters push any tiny evidence that pain is alleviated by acupuncture they are clutching at straws. Pain is a subjective matter and probably could be alleviated *in the mind of the sufferer* by any mumbo jumbo that they happen to believe in. OK, new question, does it matter what “trigger point” you stick the needle or whatever? I mean could you alleviate a pain in neck by say sticking a needle in the elbow? (One question of 13 answered, sort of.) Picture of crutches in Lourdes, notice no artificial legs.. http://www.gerardpas.com/gallery/1980/lrd9_500.jpg

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 19/05/2005 22:14

I dont know how flouridation of water got into a thread on alternative 'medicines'. Flouridation of water has nothing to do with quack health products. Flouridation has been proven to be of benefit and in the very dilute form in drinking water is absolutely safe. The one caveat I have is an ethical one of mass medication and that includes folic acid in bread, calcium in milk as well as flouridation of water. But that is a seperate issue. To get back to the topic. Some posters have claimed that herbal medicines have been used for centuries and proven effective and modern medicines are johnny come latelys. They are wrong. I know of an elderly pharmacist, now retired, who told me that the main subject he was taught in college was Materia Medica. This was the study of medicinal products derived from plant and animal sources. After the war with the expansion of the industrial production of these medicines, pharmacologists started to investigate these products and isolate the active ingredients. Today in mainstream medicine we have such prescription drugs as digoxin (from digitalis leaf), colchicine (from colchicum) ergotamine (from ergot) amd morphine (from opium poppy)all from the Materia Medica of the 1940s. In over the counter medicines we have products such as Kwells (hyoscine for travel sickness), Sennokot (senna for constipation), Posalfilin (podophyllin for warts) and many many more. So the source of the drug is not important. What is important is that all the medicines mentioned have been submitted to the Irish Medicines Board along with evidence of their effectivness and the quality of the raw materials and of the final dose form. The medicine if passed by the IMB gets a special Product Autorisation Number (PA No.) which controls all the details of the medicine from the packaging, instructions for use, quantity in each package etc. So anyone buying a medicine should check the packaging for the PA No and if it doesn't have one let the next fool buy it.

Anonymous  Posted: 20/05/2005 09:57

Many years ago (centuries in fact) doctors went from patients to patient without sterilising intruments or washing hand becuase they didn't know about the benefits of sterilisation. imilarly many thought that ther were 4 'humors' in the body. Blood, back bile and yellow bile being 3. Now that we have complex lymphatic system. Ths was found out thru scientific discovery. who's to say that we won;'t in years to come, discover that there are energy channels in he body. Why do you, William, assume that we are at the limits of our scientific discovery.

william (billyralph)  Posted: 20/05/2005 13:40

Sorry William but that rant was really quite childish-trigger point acupuncture has as strong an evidence base as most of the analgesics that we use.Yes it does matter what points you place the needles.The gate theory of pain seems to have gone over William's head,did you just choose to ignore that piece of hard science?Have you read Kellgren's or Travell and Simon's work-I doubt it,have you even had a look at a basic neurophysiology textbook.And as for belief systems and the social context of illness only a complete troglodyte would dismiss that-as I have asked in previous letters have you William any experience in dealing with sick people or do you do most of your therapy from the armchair?

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 20/05/2005 19:54

Re Anon’s 20/05/2005 09:57 point re Energy Channels. If you think about this logically the following sticks out a mile. There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that there are “Energy Channels” in the body. When the ancient Chinese thought this up, i.e. made it up along with lots of other religious stuff, they had no evidence either. In fact the concept of evidence didn’t really register with them. Furthermore they didn’t have microscopes and therefore could make up things like this without fear of been contradicted. I’m not saying they were deliberately lying but the way people thought before science was “invented”, they could just make things up and get away with it. It is totally obvious even today that notwithstanding scientific advance most people will still believe in any mumbo jumbo that comes their way. So it’s not surprising that “ancient” people were complete suckers for witch doctors & ju ju men. We now have serious analysis mechanisms and tools and the chances that there are undiscovered channels of any description is very slim, never mind ones so big that a person could accurately stick needles in them. Anyway it would be an astonishing co-incidence that some religious types thousands of years ago made up the notion of “energy channels”, that they lie undiscovered to this day and yet may still be there. It just doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. What is an “Energy Channel” anyway? From a scientific point of view it means nothing. It’s just words. Makey uppy words. There literally is as much chance there are undiscovered energy channels that there really are leprechauns and fairies. Billy Ralph & Co are just clutching at straws when it comes to try and prove acupuncture and other CAM. The “social context of illness”, whatever that means, has nothing to do with whether or not sticking pins cures illnesses. I oppose all forms of fraud, CAM, superstition, myth, religion and pseudo science. I no more have to deal with sick people to know that the entire CAM industry (Big CAM) is nonsense then I have to be a priest, UFO hunter or wizard. Any articles related to “trigger point acupuncture” I came across were obviously and firmly in the realm of Noddy Land.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 21/05/2005 14:21

A lot of people seem to be unaware that fluoridation is alternative medicine. Alternative medicine? Yes, because fluoridation is certainly not mainstream or allopathic medicine. It contradicts fundamental medical principles: The Hippocratic oath -- "First, do no harm." Even fluoridation proponents admit that it harms people, causing dental fluorosis (see www.irishhealth.com/?level=4&id=7322). Another fundamental medical principle: The patient has the absolute right to refuse medication. Irish people have lost that right; they are force-medicated with fluoride, every day of their lives, with frightening consequences. Fluoridation is also scientific fraud. (See for example, www.nrdc.org/onearth/04fal/reviews2.asp) So, if we're going to criticize alternative medicine, why not start with fluoridation? Does anyone know an Irish medical doctor who will publicly defend fluoridation? The Director of Public Health in the ERHA has the prime responsibility, since the ERHA purchases all the fluoride added to Irish water, but she has never defended fluoridation, nor did she even get a mention in Micheal Martin's Forum on Fluoridation.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 22/05/2005 23:31

An interesting article in Sunday's Observer concerned the dangers of basing one's opinions on googling quack websites. David Bellamy, the famous biologist, has had a letter published in New Scientist that turns out to be very wrong, but see how he "learned" the "facts" that led him to make a very incorrect decision here http://observer.guardian.co.uk/business/story/0,,1489232,00.html

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 23/05/2005 18:03

All 14 reviewers of Christopher Bryson’s book on Fluoride in Amazon give it 5 stars and almost 100% support so I decided to do a little investigation of what the 14 reviewers read and thought of other similar books, i.e. conspiracy, pseudo science, the paranormal etc. Here’s the result; 2 reviewers believed in UFOs as aliens and one claimed to have been abducted, 1 believed in “Remote Viewing” and telepathy, 1 Dead communicate with the living, another read “Secret symbols on the dollar bill”, 10 examples of various government linked conspiracy theories including who shot JFK, 1 Salt is a killer and referred to Chlorine as being very dangerous (as Joe believes) and 1 that the plagues of the bible were caused by Venus hitting the Earth (a famous quack book by Velikovsky). Not ONE of the reviewers has reviewed a science book. Most seem to read thrillers and science fiction. This again helps prove my point that there are many people who believe in all sorts of nonsense and that when you examine those that think Fluoridation is dangerous you find that they have lots of other nutty beliefs. Therefore it is clear that they cannot analyse information logically, they cannot separate fiction from reality, nonsense from sense. Joe clearly falls into this camp with his list of anti positions. At least now he admits that scientific studies are of no interest to him as his position on MMR clearly indicates.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 23/05/2005 23:59

William writes all that based on the *Amazon* reviews of the Christopher Bryson book! Here are the *mainstream* reviews: www.fluoridealert.org/fluoride-deception.htm (Note Bryson's credentials.)

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 27/05/2005 12:13

Anonymous Posted: 18/05/2005 09:53 asked "what professional medical/scientific qualifications" I have. I don't wear a white coat and display lots of letters after my name. I do know what science is, and I have done appropriate research. Seven years ago I wrote the first ever comprehensive account of Irish fluoridation, entitled "Fluoridation -- The Legal Poisoning of the Irish People", published in Earthwatch magazine (from Earthwatch - Friends of the Earth Ireland), Summer 1998 edition. The magazine had a national circulation (albeit small), and I know it was widely read, including by highly placed members of the medical and dental establishment. Nobody wrote to criticize or challenge any of my statements.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 07/06/2005 21:47

There’s a theory about that adults that cannot spot quackery, believe in ghosts, the “after life”, guardian angels, Lourdes miracle cures, Reiki magic, snake oil such as Homeopathy have just not grown up. In other words are mentally still teenagers. Think about a small child of say 3 or 4 and what he or she believes in, e.g. their teddy bear is alive and how easily their parents can fool the child. By seven most children still believe in Santa Claus but the Teddy is on the way out. Imagine thinking that a magic figure can circle the world in one night and deliver presents to a billion children? Daft. Imagine believing that a magic person with a beard MADE the world? That child grows up to be a teenager and drops the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus and realises that Teddy is not alive but then starts believing in good luck charms, “faith” that they will meet their true love and of course Ouija Boards, Utopia, an end to world poverty if only the adults would LISTEN. By 18 to 21 or so the Ouija Board has been dropped along with a lot of the tree hugging, and brotherly love. However many adults do not develop like this and carry on believing in all sorts of nonsense, like hitting a bottle of water to “liberate the healing spirits”, balancing their Qi, spend money on trips to that town in southern France with the same cancer stats as everywhere else etc.. The weird thing is it seems that this describes the majority of people. Now I wonder why we still have 3rd world poverty yet have landed on the Moon? Would it be anything to do with the fact that very clever grown up scientists are in the Moon business and all the non-adults are the politicians (Potty Blair, Batty Bush, Ray Guns Regan), they are the voters, the anti’s, the campaigners for weird stuff like "the sacred ground of Tara".? When scientific methods are turned on problems of the 3rd world we might solve these problems but I doubt we will until then. Analysis, evidence, properly conducted studies, proof, logic etc.. When philosophers are kings and kings .....

Anonymous  Posted: 08/06/2005 09:40

Willim, belief in the after lie describes billions of people world wide. Be they Christian, Jewish, Buddist, Taoist, Animist, Shintoist, Pagan, Muslim, etc, Rich, prro intelligent or ignorant and many do not belive in Ouija boards, tree-hugging???, homeopathy or any of the other things toy describe. Are implying that aetheist with belief in any of these things are he only ones in the world who are grown-up? How condescending and demeaning you wish yourself to appear. Anf by the way, what eactly do you see wrong with preervign our cultural and historical heritage at Tara (or anywhere else for that matter) or would ytou like to see that destroyed too?

william (billyralph)  Posted: 08/06/2005 12:18

What a sad response from William-so full of bitterness and condescension.The ideas expressed are a reflection of the intellectual and emotional sterility of his mind rather than a reflection of any real insights into how the world works or could work.Logic,science,control useful in appropriate measures and places but rarely as means to help people the ills of life.World poverty is a product of man's desire to control power at all costs-people should hold onto ideals throughout their lives and if eradicating world poverty is one then we should applaud such an ideal and not become the uber-rationalists that William seems to have become.As for your dismissal of the world's religions is a short paragraph.....

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 08/06/2005 18:20

It's very easy to dismiss all the world's religions, they all disagree with one another, often violently, so at the very least the vast majority must be wrong. The also dismiss each other. No one addressed the point I made at all which is par for the course. Can you not see the similarity in a small child believing his Teddy is alive, an older child in Santa, a teenager in UFO's, The Bermuda Triangle and world peace and then as adults carrying on believing in other myths, magic, gods and impossible stuff like Homeopathy.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 08/06/2005 18:45

PS The current main road around Tara is actually closer than the new one. Please explain what a "sacred place" is? How do you measure the sacredness? In Kilo Vibrations per Acre? Is this sacredness in the soil, the air or in some other dimension? In my opinion, the new road has nothing to do with Tara, it's all new age hippy rubbish.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 08/06/2005 23:49

Whatever about an afterlife, I'm waiting for the day when William (williamgrogan) comes up with "analysis, evidence, properly conducted studies, proof, logic, etc." that supports the "public health measure" called fluoridation (which is really the most outrageous kind of alternative medicine). I don't have much hope, though William seems to have any amount of faith in fluoridation. He ought to explain where he gets that faith.

Anonymous  Posted: 09/06/2005 14:04

William, a sacred as it\'s roots in cultural history - as you would know if you had studied history. Like emotions, happines and pride in your county - as you wpould know if you ever felt any of these things. It cannot be measure in dry analytical erms and put put in box with a weight and measure. An example of a sacred place is your loal graveyard. Saced in the minds and heart of many, especially those who have relatives buried there.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 09/06/2005 14:13

A graveyard has a clearly defined wall around it. Where's the wall around the hill of Tara and how far away from the road will it be? I doubt many can claim that their relatives are buried in Tara. Even a graveyard has roads through it.

william (billyralph)  Posted: 09/06/2005 15:28

'very clever grown up scientists are in the moon business...'and they are also in the developement of munitions,biological and chemical agents used in warfare,they also developed thalidomide,diethylstilboestrol,frontal lobotomies for mental illness.Some very clever scientists came up with the concept of eugenics and helped some equally ultra-rationalists annihilate people based on supposed genetic or social deficits.And no doubt these same people would find equally absurd approaches to world poverty and hunger-mass sterilisation or a Macpeople burgers.Are you a scientist,William?

Anonymous  Posted: 10/06/2005 10:57

William Grogan, it is arrant nonsense to say that all graveyerds have walls around them. What about graveyards adjacent to old chirch ruins. these have no walls or roads going thru them and inded except large uban graveyards, no cemetaries have roads going thru them. What about 'little angels' plots (for stillborn babies in former times) - these had no walls or indeed no markings around them yet were known and reveered locally. It is called respect for the dead. It doesn't mater how long ago peoplewere buried there that is not the issue. Or would you have other items of our rich cultural heritgage disrespected and discarded along witb Tara?

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 10/06/2005 11:45

Driving to Kinsale from Cork recently I passed a 20 acre site that looked like a new housing estate but I have since found out it is to be a new graveyard. At this point they are planting trees, landscaping and building roads through it. Presumably it’s not sacred at present. When does it become sacred? When the first dead body is buried in it? When the Ju Ju man from some local religion sprinkles “holy” water on it & mutters some magic incantations in Latin? When in 20 years there are thousands buried in it? Does it get progressively more sacred? When someone is cremated and has their ashes scattered on Old Trafford or on the Cheltenham racecourse, is it disrespectful to have soccer players or horses run on top of their remains? Is Old Trafford sacred? (Ooops bad example). People think Tara is sacred for the same reason they go to Mass on Sunday and buy Homeopathy. Brainwashing as children, ignorance, lack of rationality, low IQ, inability to reason logically and ultimately the fact that they were dealt a bad hand when the genes were being handed out. Think about the concept of sacred in a scientific sense and you realise that those acting like that are no different from the primitive cults of the past. No one likes being told that so I understand that it annoys you but that fact doesn’t make me wrong.

Anonymous  Posted: 10/06/2005 14:17

Like I said earlier William, sacredness, like culture and heritage cannot be measured and labelled - lie they way you demeaningly labelled a lot of people in your post. Yes, the graveyard does become sacred when the fist body is buried there - as I said, it's called respect for the dead. Nothing to do with a "Ju-ju man" (whatever that is).

william (billyralph)  Posted: 10/06/2005 14:59

Not wrong William but intellectually inflexible.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 11/06/2005 20:31

A Ju-Ju man is a witch doctor or priest. So when someone is buried in a grave that area becomes sacred AND you already said that Tara has no walls so obviously you are implying that this sacredness extends out from the grave. Personally I would not have thought it extended over the graveyard wall but anyway… How far does the sacredness extend? I mean isn’t three miles enough to the new motorway? Say what, 5 miles? Why 5 why not 10 or 50? This line of logic would mean we cannot build any roads as one way or another all roads in Ireland pass through sacred places. "Respect for the dead", can you explain that? You didn't answer my question, is it immoral to have horses trot over the dead? If not why not drive over them? In fact I have been thinking about this graveyard thing and another thought struck me. Why not bury people UNDER the roadways. That way we save the land currently wasted on graveyards, save on gravestones, save on maintenance of the graves, get rid of that "ghostly" feeling people get when near graveyards and every time you go for a drive you visit your dead relations. It might even trap the ghosts in their graves. Where IS the downside? If you actually THINK you will realise all your "feelings" on this subject are daft and are as a result of years of brainwashing and reinforcement. There is one snag, one has to be able to think. Many people evidently cannot or they wouldn’t believe in Santa OR God OR Homeopathy OR water divining OR any magic. PS I read recently Fairy Rings are made by mushroom growth.

Anonymous  Posted: 13/06/2005 10:21

William - you are looking for an explanation of "Respect for the dead". I am asuming you know the meaning of the words 'for' and 'the', perhaps then you could go to yuor dictionary and look up the words 'respect' and 'dead' - theen you will understand the the words "Respect for the dead".

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 13/06/2005 18:32

How on earth did walls around graveyards get into a thread on 'alternative medicine'? Far more worrying is the fact that the VHI is following the other health insurers in Ireland, downmarket and is considering giving cover for 'alternative medicines'. If the private insurers want to scrape the bottom of the barrel to get business that is their problem but when the state (that means 'ours') insurer is considering handing our money over to quacks and charlatans it is our business. The Minister for Health should instruct the VHI management to stick to evidence based mainstream medicine.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 14/06/2005 00:08

Here’s some definitions for “respect”. “To avoid violation of or interference with: e.g. respect the speed limit”. Building a road 3 miles from the 3000 year old remains of dead people is hardly “interfering”. Most of the other meanings refer to people alive so don’t count. When you remember someone now dead you remember them as alive and not dead. What possible relevance has the memory of someone, their actions, their humour, their kindness etc be to their dead corpse buried 6ft down? (I might add that in most circumstances after a few years most of the corpse is gone.) I repeat THINK. Whether or not someone is cremated and scattered all over Tattenham Corner or buried in a field has nothing to do with respecting them. Analyse the way you are thinking about this. Ask yourself why you believe as you do and not say like an Apache Indian who puts his dead relations out for the buzzards without any diminution of his respect for them. It’s amazing how people who have been brainwashed and badly programmed as children cannot see that.

Anonymous  Posted: 14/06/2005 10:22

Interesting - I recently recieved a newsletter from my health insurer and it was full of information about how they now cover complementary therapies (from registered practitioners). Aparently, this is in response to consumer demand.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 14/06/2005 10:27

John, the relevance is that the way people think about religion, graveyards, superstition etc is the same faulty way they think about everything from luckly lotto numbers to quack medicine. To understand what quack medicine is they need to re-evalute the way and why they accept things that have no evidence. I totally agree re the VHI. It should be illegal to charge me extra for VHI cover for fraud. At the very least there should be an opt out clause and a lower premium as I will never use the "services" of a CAM artist. Write to the VHI and complain.

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 15/06/2005 08:31

William, I agree that public ignorance of science and the scientific process spreads across many areas of human thought and incorporates religons and other superstitions such as 'alternative' medicine. Where I disagree with you is trying to fight this mind set on all fronts. Quack medicines and therapies and the CAM artists who sell and recommend them are in many cases a danger to health. Many deists would agree. It is important to make common cause with such people to curb the influence of the CAM artists.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 15/06/2005 10:59

John, the problem is that the politicians, the medical establishment and others who could change the law won’t do so BECAUSE they also believe in other nonsense. If someone believes they have a guardian angle then they are hardly going to support a law that bans Homeopathy or Reiki healing. Some years ago in the West of Ireland a looney religious cult set up shop and there were calls to outlaw cults by several West of Ireland TDs. The problem was that when someone pointed out that this would effectively mean banning the Catholic Church the idea was dropped. If a law banned magic potions would it not also ban Holy Water or trips to Lourdes? Is it not fraud taking money to get you into Heaven? There are a lot of very wealthy vested interests out there who would see this as the thin end of the wedge. Some of the top doctors in Ireland were the most conservative in allowing liberalisation of the laws on contraceptives. I gather from the PD’s attitude that the suggested laws against CAM would “interfere with the free market”. There are many people opposed to regulation for CAM because they do not understand the fundamental problem with illogical thinking. If your head is full of illogical nonsense and paradoxes then it is very difficult to move against one of them. They only organisation I know of, other than the EU commission, fighting CAM are the Skeptics. One political party, The Green Party, actually want to promote CAM. Incredible! The current thinking in the Government seems to be “regulation” that would allow the fraud to continue but try and outlaw the most dangerous & avaricious cowboys. The problem with this is that it would lend credibility to those chancers who could then put up a sign, “Miracles performed here, authorised by the Irish Government department of Health”. We’ll end up living in Noddy land.

william (billyralph)  Posted: 15/06/2005 12:38

William it sounds like you already live in Noddy land with everything nicely regulated according to the laws of science,where everything would have a happy ending or at least be predictable if we knew where every sub-atomic particle was at any given time,where PC Plod's view of morality held sway uniformly and the only villians stood out from the crowd and always got their come-uppance.Oh what a jolly boring world it would be.Calling for legislation to ban 'CAMs' what rubbish,where does CAMs end and orthodox medicine begin ,you tell me?Yes there should be legislation and regulatorty bodies to protect the public from anyone who could potentially take advantage financially,emotionally or physically of another person but banning.That is oh so Catholic church-we don't like it ,we don't understand it,we don't agree with it so what shall we do?Eureka!Ban it! Orthodox medicine has its belief systems ,these are imposed upon a defenceless public eg Ireland's deplorable record on mental health care, its antiquated mental health laws and instituitions-so deplorable is its record that Amnesty International have made representations to the Irish government.Orthodox medicine has its place as do many of the therapies that you lump together under the same heading CAMS-you ask for evidence and many papers have been sited but you quite clearly have not read them and this argument is going around in a pointless circle-a bit like some people's lives.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 15/06/2005 13:33

Billy Ralph, you have refused to answer most questions I have put to you because you can’t. Here’s one. If we regulate Homeopathy how do we set up a quality control procedure to test the products that are on sale? You can't, can you? You keep making the same logical error. That there may be a poor mental health care system in Ireland in no way validates fraud in other areas related to health. You and other pro-CAM supports keep using this technique because you know it fools people. Fraud is already banned and most people would agree that it should be. Selling water, which is all Homeopathy is, and telling gullible people that it cures illnesses IS fraud. The “papers” & “studies” you cite are worthless. They are part of the fraud. You hardly think a “hospital” (with 12 beds) that promotes Homeopathy, which is just magic, can be expected to come up with a scientific study? Sticking the word “Hospital” and “Royal” in front of something with 12 beds hardly confers legitimacy on it does it? I know it fools people, which is the intention, but it doesn’t fool me. Your comment about sub-atomic particles is also typical of the Pseudo-Science that CAM artists used, trying to link the very real science of Quantum Mechanics with charlatanism.

Anonymous  Posted: 15/06/2005 14:02

The latest I've hard in relation to alternative medicine is Kinesiology! It seems that (according to a poster on another discussion board) kinesiology sucessfully diagnosd her alergy to wheat - after conventional medecine could find no alergy or intolerance. However, when I looked up Kinesiology it is related to muscel testing. Still puzzld as to how this could be usred to diagnose an alergy or intolerance.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 15/06/2005 14:08

I noticed the following report in the latest issue of "Vital", a British Dental Association journal for dental professionals: "Acupuncture takes the pain out of dentistry: More and more dentists are combining the ancient Chinese therapy acupuncture with modern dentistry techniques to help patients cope with conditions from anxiety to pain relief." (See: www.nature.com/cgi-taf/dynapage.taf?file=/vital/journal/v2/n2/index.html)

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 15/06/2005 14:40

Joe says that “Vital” is a British Dental Association journal. I can’t see any evidence of that. It is a magazine that is aimed at dentists or associated professionals. That doesn’t make it related in any way to the BDA. It seems to have just come out. I notice one of the sponsors is a well known mouthwash. Some years back this product had to withdraw all their advertisements as they made unsubstantiated claims. If I remember correctly they were also fined. There are many magazines about that try and link themselves to organisations and are mainly concerned with picking up advertisement revenue. None of the editorial board seem to be qualified as dentists. Here’s what one it’s articles says about Acupuncture, “According to Chinese philosophy our health is dependent on the body's motivating energy - known as Qi - moving smoothly through a series of meridians or channels beneath the skin. Qi comprises equal and opposite energies - called Yin and Yang - and illnesses can result when these forces become unbalanced.” I have already asked several pro-CAM supporters, do we have Energy Channels in our body and if so where are they? [As a total aside there are publishing houses that publish magazines that no one buys that elicit advertisement revenue from gullible companies who think they can target certain markets. Another well known con.]

william (billyralph)  Posted: 15/06/2005 15:59

If science is based on reproducible principles-the results of the application of these principles ie research should be valid wheter carried out by 'CAM-artists' or bona fide scientists.The method and outcome either stand up to scientific scrutiny or not-it doesn't matter if you are dishonest or not,peer reviewing sees through most shinanagins.The Glasgow hospital have had their research reviewed by people far more sceptical and in a better position professionally than William to verify their results-so William you either believe that the scientific method has validity or you don't-you can't simply say you applied the method but I don't believe the result.Now who's being irrational?

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 15/06/2005 22:15

I think that asking Homeopathy supporters to do a scientific test of Homeopathy is like asking a FF back bencher does he oppose Café Bars because they are unhealthy or because their friends the Publicians object to competition. All un-biased scientific studies show Homeopathy to be no better than placebo, i.e. totally useless. Besides being dubious, these tests have not been reproduced which is essential. Furthermore there is no theory underpining H. except magic. I do not believe in magic. Why didn't you answer this question, "If we regulate Homeopathy how do we set up a quality control procedure to test the products that are on sale?"

Anonymous  Posted: 16/06/2005 08:49

William, if hoeopathy is just magic (like 'cutting; people on half and pullimng rabbits out of a 'hat') then what do you suppose people whi style themselve as'qualified homeopathists' actually spend months or is it years (and presumably a wad of cash) studying?

william (billyralph)  Posted: 16/06/2005 09:44

You'll need to ask a pharmacist that question,as I am just a work-a-day GP.Nelsons,Ainsworths or Freemans homeopathic pharmacies would be only to happy to tell you how they do it at present. As for reproducible trials you obviously have not yet read the Hit Trials or Prof Edward Ernzt assessment of homeopathic trials,you probably base your assessment on Quakwatch or Bandolier both of whom have the same quasi-religious blindness to other ways of helping people through extremely traumatic episodes in their lives-people whom orthodox medicine does not have a framework in which to understand let alone help them with their problems.Once again William you are just an armchair theoritician and your arguments reverberate with the lack of any real understanding of what it is like to be ill and let down by medicine,society,religion etc.Perhaps your ultra-rationalist mindset gets you through most things in life but once again thank god you are not in the business of healthcare.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 16/06/2005 12:01

William (15/06/2005 14:40) "can't see any evidence" that "Vital" is a British Dental Association journal. It's not difficult to confirm the BDA origin: Go to http://npg.nature.com/npg/forms/04_cat.jsp and select the publication "Vital". Scepticism is fine (especially with regard to BDA pronouncements about fluoride) but you need to do a little research as well.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 16/06/2005 18:33

Joe, like most of your posts the last one means nothing. I know there is a magazine called "Vital" what is your point?

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 16/06/2005 18:52

Anon of 16/6 8:49: The reason they spend time “studying” is to earn lots of money selling people water and making a bomb. I would have thought that that was fairly obvious. I have no doubt some people think Homeopathy works, although I doubt they still do after seeing mostly failures over many years. But that doesn’t stop many priests or bishops dumping their religion. Someone has to pay the golf club membership fees. Maybe they can buy the software package I read about recently that Chiropractors use to “code” patient's files. One Chiropractor was reprimanded because he used only one of 4 codes to describe the symptoms for every patient he ever saw. Billy Ralph kicks my last question to touch as usual. Why don’t you just admit that there is no test that can be performed on Homeopathic medicine that can tell whether it’s plain water or a Homeopathic remedy? Ducking out under the “I’m just a plain old GP” whinge is just a cop out. Again more faulty logic. The fact that “orthodox medicine” cannot cure something has no bearing on whether or not CAM is fraud. CAM can be fraud whether or not “orthodox medicine” even existed. CAM was fraud when it was practiced before modern scientific based medicine was developed. Being let down by society is hardly a reason to be further defrauded. Although I will agree that many people with mental health problems are ripped off by CAM artists for the very reason that they are mentally ill and incapable of making logical decisions. In fact many of the victims of (s)CAM are suffering from Hypochondria and one of the reasons “orthodox medicine” cannot cure them is there is nothing wrong with them. This is particularly true for those conned into buying detox kits, colonic irrigation treatments, vitamin supplements, yogurt with pro-bacteria in it, anti-cellulite cream and all the cons that revolve around balancing their Chi. The CAM industry (Big CAM) continues to promote the notion that we are all ill, unbalanced and eating food so low in nutrients that we need the piffle they peddle. So I’m an ultra-rationalist and an ubber-rationalist, well what’s the opposite to rational? Irrational. I don’t think most CAM practioners are irrational at all. I think they know exactly what they are doing.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 16/06/2005 18:58

This Prof Ernst? Prince Charles attacked for backing unscientific health therapies: Date: 14th February 2005, Source: Althealth News A new book issued by the Prince of Wales's foundation to promote alternative health therapies has come under fire, as unscientific and potentially dangerous by the country's leading authority on complementary medicine, reports the Independent. The book, to be launched next week and issued to all GPs' surgeries, is encouraging the public to resort to unproven treatments, says Professor Professor Edward Ernst, from the Peninsula Medical School at Exeter and Plymouth. He described one draft of the Prince's book as "hair-raisingly flimsy, misleading and dangerous", and revealed that his repeated offers to correct the text free of charge were rejected.

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 16/06/2005 21:13

Anon of 16.05.05. I am glad you used the expression 'style themselves "qualified homeopathists"'. They have to style themselves because nobody else recognises them. I am glad you put 'qualified' in brackets because the qualification is a sham. You dont have to spend years or even months 'studying' homeopathy. You can get a 'diploma' after attending 'lectures' every Saturday for 6 weeks. The whole homeopathy thing is a major scam -no active ingredient in the pills or liquids - no proper qualification (except hard neck, to dream of offering the public medical advice)- No trials or tests to prove that any of their products does any good. The only thing that homeopathy has going for it is a gullible public.

Anonymous  Posted: 17/06/2005 11:07

John Wiliam, I had no idea one could becoem 'qualified' within six weeks. Surely the govt. must take action to regulate the whole 'alternate' herapy area.

Anonymous  Posted: 17/06/2005 11:15

William, while I believe that vitamins can be beneficial to some, detox kits, "live"-yogurt and anti-cellulite cream is just a lot of hog-wash. However, I do appreciate that some people get colonic irrigation treatments (a gentle enema, I believe) in order to fast-tack a sluggish digestive system. For example on a recent documentary, one client mentioned hwo during he procedure he (and I apologise if I offend people's sensitivities at this point) expelled the remnaned of certain vegatable matter that he had not injested in over a month previous. It had stayed in his digestive tract, in a partially undigested state for 5 weeks or more. This surely cannot be good for anyone's body.

william (billyralph)  Posted: 17/06/2005 14:22

Using insulting 19th century terms like 'hypochondriac' and the mentally ill cannot make logical decision not to mention stating that all peolpe who use CAMs have in fact nothing wrong with them only serves to demonstrate that for you this debate is just an academic exercise based on a poor understanding of physiology,the scientific method as applied to the study of complex human behaviour and the concept of human suffering.Once again I'm relieved that you are not involved directly with people who are ill.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 17/06/2005 16:45

Anon 17/6 11:15, Why do you believe that vitamins can be “of benefit to some” when numerous and up to date studies show the opposite? Furthermore there is NO REASON why extra vitamins should be of benefit. That’s not the way the body works. In fact there is evidence that they are harmful. Unless you are living underground and eat no fresh fruit or vegetables you get no benefit from Vitamin Supplements, unless of course your doctor prescribes them for some illness. Look into the Colonic Irrigation thread on this website and you will soon realise that is a con as well. The bit about the vegetable being in someone’s gut for a month reminds me of Billy Connolly’s comment that every time he gets sick he vomits up diced carrots whether he’s eaten them or not. Billy Ralph, I didn’t say ALL people who take CAM are not sick. I said MANY of them. And furthermore they are not sick but often are convinced they are by fraudulent CAM artists. It’s a well known fact that people get expensive treatment for years on end for non existent conditions or conditions that cannot and do not improve by sCAM Artists. Nearly every documentary I have seen has highlighted this problem/rip off. Are you denying there are people who think they are sick when they are not? I apologise if I used a Politically incorrect phrase. (Although I can argue that attached emotional meaning to words is pointless.) Are you denying that such people come into your practice? Do you think it’s ethical to sell these people useless remedies to cure their non existent illnesses? You may be relieved that I am not involved with sick people, but I think and I want the law to be changed so that GP’s who sell magic water to sick people are disbarred. Is that why you don’t like me? PS Billy referred us to a web site, here's a snippet... "You can learn more about Bach Original Flower Remedies by attending the Bach International Education Programme. This is a three-tier training programme organised by Nelsonbach. Courses are approved by The Dr Edward Bach Foundation, the educational wing of The Dr Edward Bach Centre. These courses will help you to learn how to use the remedies in your work and daily life. Introductory Seminars (Level 1) Two days Advanced Workshops (Level 2) Two days Practitioner Training (Level 3) Three and a half day course followed by six months of supervised home study. Laughable isn't it?

william (billyralph)  Posted: 17/06/2005 19:08

I have never sold any treatment to a patient,I have never taken money from a patient in my 11yrs of medical practice.I agree that stringing people along using any treatment modality be that antidepressants,antibiotics,acupuncture or aromatherapy when there is no discernible change in the person's clinical state is reprehensible but I do not think that there are many doctors who practice in this way.Most doctors are reflective enough about their own practice and have enough appraisal and revalidation criteria to meet to prevent such mindless practices using orthodox or non-orthodox methods. William sadly you mix up the concepts of disease and illness.Medical science seems to manage some of the resulting damage of disease but deals very badly with illness,because illness takes into account complex human behaviour often only understood when viewed from the context or system from which it has emerged.Often the illness encompasses a disease but there may as you so rightly yet perjoratively point out no discernible disease yet the person is ill.Your lack of experience in dealing with this phenomenon is clear from your on comments on health related matters.Back pain is a classic illness-most people do not have a discernible pathology but they experience chronic pain and disability for a miriad of reasons,some related to financial issues but they are few.Most are related to the complex phenomena of chronic pain,muscular dysfuntion and health beliefs and fears.So when faced with such an individual a doctor will use a broad range of treatments to connect with that person and ultimately return them to a reasonable level of functioning-personally I couldn't care less what method is used provided the principle 'primum non nocere'is adhered to.I don't know what it is like to work in Ireland where most of the provision of health care is private and open to exploitation be that in the Charlemount clinic or under a bush in Dingle.You are right to call for tighter regulation of healthcare but all healthcare.There needs to be greater accountability by all those who practice medicine in Ireland.Who scrutinises the single handed GPs throughout the country-50% are single handed-that practice alone is stone age medicine.No single person is able to meet anything but the basic health needs of a population,is it any wonder that the A+E departments are overflowing.Most of that could be dealt with in primary care or is it that people wait until they are extremely ill until they attend their GP because of the cost-these are issues which have a far greater impact on the health of people than the weird and wonderful practices of CAMs practitioners.How many old peole are admitted and subsequently die as a result of side effects of medicines that their GP has prescribed-it is estimated that approximately 100,000/yr in the USA die from drug related side effects-do CAMs practitioners kill that many.The number of people contacting CAMs practitioners in Australia equals that of GP visits yet the morbidity or mortality does not come anywhere near those of orthodox medicine.So William shouting about fraud and killing people is a worthwhile exercise but lets cast the net widely and see what we catch and then we can set about developing a real set of guidelines that all in healthcare can be subject to not only those we don't 'believe' in.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 17/06/2005 23:36

If you're inclined to believe what William writes about vitamins, you need to read this web page: www.doctoryourself.com/testimony.htm

Anonymous  Posted: 20/06/2005 08:45

William, of course vitamins supplements are beneficial to certain people - those who cannot maintian a balanced diet due to illness for example. The bit about the vegetable being in someone’s gut for a month may remind you of Billy Connolly’s but that doesn't change the fact that partailly digested and possibly putrefied vegetable matter sitting in someone's gut for over a month cannot be good for them.

Anonymous  Posted: 20/06/2005 08:47

I don't see what Bach Flower remedies (otherwise known as rescue remedy) have to do with this. I knw many people who use these (rather than say valium, which can be highly addictive) to great effect and with no side-effect, in their daily lives.

Anonymous  Posted: 20/06/2005 09:00

William, I don't think you realise that many people with genuine conditions, only turn to complementary therapies becuase conventional medecine has let them down. On other discussion you will come across people, rightly or wrongly, who mention that they are taking homeopathic remedies for endometriosis to good effect and another poster describes being perscribed homeopathio medicine by her GP for eczema, which seemed to have made things worse. That is why these treatmets, therapies, call them what you will - need to be regulated as soon as possible.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 21/06/2005 22:59

Ironically I had back pain for years without knowing why and then I had my first MMR scan and bingo, Siatica. I can clearly see the damage on the photos. A bit of exercise, sit carefully and no mixing of cement and I can live with it. Very reductionist. Billy Ralph dances around some vague notion that many patients complain of illness and maybe are not ill but are we not to say this out loud? Is it a secret? I do not accept that if people have mental illnesses the solution is to fool them with hocus pocus. Your “stats” about 100,000 deaths are nonsense and I have already addressed this point when it was raised on another thread last week, see http://www.irishhealth.com/discussion/message.html?dis=3&topic=3188 To say that CAM kills fewer than medicine is so ridiculous that I find it difficult to waste time stating the bleedin’ obvious. Homeopathy is nothing but sugar or water or alcohol and therefore in tiny drops is obviously not dangerous. In fact it has been pointed out that the reason CAM is not harmful in itself is because it does nothing. In other words a drop of water (aka Homeopathic remedy) cannot harm you because by EU law there cannot be an active ingredient in it so there is nothing to harm you in it. Unfortunately there is nothing to cure you either. It is inert. On the other hand the reason medicine can be dangerous is for the exact opposite reason, it does do something, it has active ingredients, it does affect the body. It must to cure you or ease pain or whatever. I must point out of course that CAM does kill people as some marks will die because they stop their medicines because some chancer has convinced them that his magic potion will cure them instead. As I have stated many times before without comment from Billy Ralph, weaknesses in the Irish medical system in no way whatsoever support CAM or are any reason for further fraud. Big-Pharm may have faults, what human activity doesn’t, but Big-CAM is total useless, money wasting, dangerous rubbish. Anon 20/06 08:47 has a bizarre view of how the human digestive system works but it’s in keeping with the propaganda put out by the Colonic Irrigation, De-tox, Chi balancing chancers that has many silly people convinced that their bodies are poisoned and only the con (sorry CAM) artists ju-ju will cure them. Anon 20/06 09:00. AGAIN, the fact that medicine may “let someone down” in no way validates CAM. What is it about this simple bit of logic that people cannot understand? If every last doctor in the country was inept and every single medicine was useless CAM would still be as exactly useless as it is, totally. The two are not connected. Homeopathy does nothing, it’s only water. W-A-T-E-R. H2O. Furthermore it cannot make eczema worse for the same reason. CAM needs to regulated all right – regulated away. To Anon 20/06 08:47 who makes exactly the same mistake as the previous two Anon’s I refer to here. Whether Valium is addictive or not is irrelevant. Take it or not but whether you do or don’t it has nothing to do with Homeopathy. And no you don’t know people who take it “to great effect”. Either, 1/ you are lying, 2/ they are lying, 3/ they are being fooled or 4/ you are being fooled. And there is no side effect because there is no active ingredient. There cannot be a side effect of drinking a drop of water or a tiny tablet made entirely of sugar. Try this simple experiment, take one small teaspoon, fill with tap water, shake a bit until 3/4 of the tap water is gone, drink – see no effect. Magic. Costs nothing. Not addictive. Now go and sell it and call it Homeopathy. Believe it or not, it’s not even illegal. Amazing!

Anonymous  Posted: 22/06/2005 11:44

I didn't see anywhere in Billy Ralph posting that patients who complain of illness may not be ill but should not be told. As for CAM killing people becuase they stop taking thier meds. This is the precise reason why it must be regulated - which you seem to persisently ignore. Any responsible altenative therapist who is properly trained and affiliated with the revelant body will NEVER tell a client to stop taking their meds, without consulting their doctor. Also OF COURSE weaknesses in the Irish medical system support altrernative therapies. It is pecisely becuase there are weaknesses in the system and it lets people down that they turn to other therapies. No - the anonymous poster does not have a bizarre view of how the digestive system works. He or she simply stated that having putrifying vegetable matter in your digestive tract for a month cannot be good (or normal, for that matter, in my view). Regardless of what homeopathy does or does not do, the FACT remains that one of he posters on the Eczema discussion board feesl that it made her eczema worse. You can check this out yourself before taking the highground. Whether valium is addictive or not is most certainly not irrelevant, many people take rescue remedy (non-addictive) who would otherwise have recourse to valium, which is addictive.

william (billyralph)  Posted: 22/06/2005 12:15

Keep taking the tablets!

william (billyralph)  Posted: 22/06/2005 13:42

I must apologise to William,my figure of 100,000 deaths is an estimate based on the 2002 figure of 90,000 iatrogenic related deaths and 850,000 adverse incidients in American hospitals-that's not counting primary care-BMJ 2002;324:584-587 09 march!!!!

Anonymous  Posted: 22/06/2005 13:55

Billy, which tablets exactly are you refering to? And which post -er?

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 01/07/2005 18:44

For those of you who think it’s a good idea to allow CAM to regulate itself. (afasik Schwarzenegger is pro CAM.) California Acupuncture board may be abolished. The Schwarzenegger administration and some Democratic legislators are moving to abolish the state board that regulates acupuncturists, saying that the board has been more concerned with promoting acupuncture than with protecting patient safety. Next year, unless the state legislature renews it, the board will automatically expire and the California Department of Consumer Affairs will assume responsibility for its activities. The move to abolish is supported by a 2004 report by the Little Hoover Commission, an independent state panel that evaluates government matters for lawmakers. The report concluded that board's public educational materials go "beyond the accepted research findings" by stating that acupuncture can treat migraines, sinusitis, the common cold, tonsillitis, asthma, inflammation of the eyes, addictions, myopia, duodenal ulcer and other gastrointestinal disorders, trigeminal neuralgia, Meniere's disease, tennis elbow, paralysis from stroke, speech aphasia, sciatica, osteoarthritis., rheumatoid conditions, pain management, various addictions, mental disorders, and AIDS. The commission stated that such claims are "of particular concern given that the mission of the Acupuncture Board is to protect consumers, not to sell the public on alternative health care treatments." Billy Ralph, two weeks ago on your suggestion I emailed your friends in London, Nelson Bach, who make and sell Homeopathy remedies and asked them the following; Hi I was referred to you by Billy Ralph GP. He suggested that you could tell me how the Irish Government could set up a mechanism to regulate Homeopathic remedies after regulation. To put it bluntly, how can we set up a quality control procedure to test Homeopathic remedies on sale in the Irish Republic? Can you send any documentation, details of tests etc. Surprise, surprise, no reply. Can Billy refer me to someone else who can answer this simple question, I mean after all we don’t want people buying water passing as Homeopathic medical remedies do we?

william (billyralph)  Posted: 02/07/2005 08:21

WilliamGrogan I found your last letter to be personally insulting-I do not have any 'friends' at Nelsons nor do I have any control over what any pharmaceautical company does with regards to communicating with the public.Perhaps that is one to take up with the drugs regulations authories in the UK or Ireland.I prescribe as do many doctors allopathic drugs everyday yet I do not know what quality control measures these companies have in place. As for your once again simplistic attack on acupuncture-you once again fail to separate out western medical acupuncture from traditional Chinese acupuncture instead prefering to feed off information that fuels your own ill informed bigoted view of healthcare.The one aspect of the piece you quoted that I do agree with is that there is little or no evidence to support the use of acupuncture in many of the conditions quoted and to do so should be censored.But there is a large amount of evidence and in my own personal clinical experience that triggerpoint acupuncture in musculoskeletal pain is very effective.Having such a tool to use especially in the elderly who are even more susceptible to medication side effects(up to one in four elderly admissions to hospitals is as a result of medication side effects). Back to homeopathy there is a great deal of work being done on ultra high dilutions in in-vitro situations producing odd biological responses-can you evoke a placebo response in mast cells? So once again William if all you read are Bandolier or Quackwatch you will only continue to fuel your jaundiced view and since you have only limited academic knowledge and no practical experience of what you write about your arguments are hollow hence resorting to personal attacks and occasional incoherent rants.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 04/07/2005 14:14

I withdraw the implication that Nelson’s are your literal friends in the sense you seem to have picked it up. Maybe if I put it in quotes the meaning I implied would have come across better. “Friends” as in colleagues, those that think as you do, compatriots, fellow travellers. If you said, “your friends in the Skeptics movement”, I would know exactly what you meant, agree with you and wouldn’t get offended. You specifically suggested I contact these people to answer my simple question. Your comment re quality control on real medicine is disingenuous. You know darn well what type of tests can be done on real medicine. So here we are and I am none the wiser. You claim Homeopathy works, please either tell me by finding out yourself or refer me to someone or some document where I can see how Homeopathy when regulated can be tested so that people will not be defrauded into buying plain water. Please try and stick to the point and skip the generalisations. So you do agree then that the bulk of Acupuncture does not work as claimed and therefore there are many people being defrauded? All we disagree about then is how big the fraud is. I think it’s 100% and you think nearly 100%. Your comments re “work being done on high dilutions” implies that there is science here worth noting. There isn’t. There have been a small few “studies” that seem to show something that have been interpreted by some people pushing an agenda as showing that a dilution with no active ingredient seems to react as if it did but most have been thoroughly discredited because they are not reproducible by anyone including by those that claimed them when they were watched which indicates fraud or at the very least very sloppy science in the first place. The “interpretation” of why these effects have been noticed is also pure speculation. In a nutshell there is no room in current scientific knowledge for any such effect, it violates all common sense, all known scientific laws, has no theory underpinning it, is illogical, predicts nothing, has major contradictions and there is no evidence and lots of contrary evidence. Since science began there have been individuals with crackpot ideas and no proof who claim all sorts of stuff. Just because they make these claims means nothing whatsoever. You are claiming Homeopathy works. SIMPLE question, how do we do quality control? If you cannot answer that question or find out then you should immediately admit Homeopathy is no better than water.

Anonymous  Posted: 04/07/2005 15:25

Yes, Billy, it is an interesting question. What quality control measures are performed on homeopathy solutions / dilutions? Are they the same as those performed on "western" (I dispute the term allopathic as it is misleading at best) medecine?

william (billyralph)  Posted: 04/07/2005 16:01

I have no intention of attempting to answer a technical question about homeopathic preparations as I do not know how they are made no more than I do about how orhthodox medicines are made-technically speaking.I do know that the so called 'quality control' issues are not all that patients would like them to be hence the post marketing disasters associated with SSRIs and COX 2 inhibitors.This debate is now becoming boring and reminiscent of the great theological debates about how many angels can tap dance on the head of a pin.I treat sick people if they don't improve I refer them to specialists and some of them do not improve after that either.So in William's world I should tell them to pull their socks up there's no scientific evidence that you are sick and to get out of my surgery.I've seen some doctors who practice that way and assume that it works,it only appears to work because they never go back to that doctor.How I do wish science could answer all the very complex questions that I am faced with on a day to day basis but I deal with real people with complex lives who somehow just don't fit into test tubes.So I will try any treatment whilst first observing the principle 'primum non nocere' to help improve the lives of my patients and if that flies in the face of scientific principles well I make no apologies.Patients are harsher critics than any scientific principle-they get better or they don't and they remember. As for your point about acupuncture its not nearly 100% of conditions-I have realised that through this debate especially around acupuncture were there is an abundance of hard scientific data that those who reject that data do so at a quasi-religious level and will never accept the data.So I have nothing more to say about acupuncture other than to say that for some musculoskeletal conditions it works and like all treatments if you choose it for the wrong condition just like antibiotics for viral illnesses it doesn't.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 04/07/2005 18:51

There isn’t an abundance of hard scientific evidence for acupuncture elevating pain. There are a few dubious badly done small group studies that suggest a tiny improvement in the SUBJECTIVE belief that there is pain relief. Doctors don’t ethically prescribe drugs or treatments for illnesses that they know cannot cure them, Acupuncturists and CAM artists do as a matter of routine. On one hand Billy Ralph tries to convince us he uses Homeopathy because he knows it works but cannot even begin to suggest how we might test for fraud. He can’t even refer us to any method, a single document, person, suggestion, nothing, zilch.. I say Homeopathy is fraud and demand, and I have a right to demand, that you tell me how it is to be tested. Why not email or phone one of the Homeopathic manufacturers and ask them? It’s a fair question for a doctor to ask. Just for me. PLEASE. But, I think you know darn well that there is no test imaginable and that the entire Homeopathic industry might as well be selling water for anyone knows. (Of course I know that’s what it’s doing – we are just pretending we don’t.)

Anonymous  Posted: 05/07/2005 09:29

Yes, Billy QC in orthodox medecine was not all it should have been in rlation SSRIs and COX 2 inhibs but that is not the point. The QC measure have been scientifically developed in relation to orthodox medecine. What scientific method has been developed in relation to the testing and Quality Contol of homeopathic remedies?

william (billyralph)  Posted: 05/07/2005 21:20

I would love to be able to answer your questions but I can't.I would love to be able to tell you that 100% of medicines and procedures in orthodox medicine have been scientifically validated but I would struggle to find evidence for more than 20%.So wake up and smell the coffee,most health practitioners work in a world of uncertainty,an adult world and we try to do our best by people.And some of the scientifically validated orthodox procedures harm people(over 400,000/year in USA) and some complementary medical practices harm people either by acts of omission or commision.In both sets of practices harm is inflicted intentially in the tiny minority of cases but the majority of interactions are done by people genuinely trying to help other people-not rejecting them because they don't fit into some recognised pattern that scientifically validated medicine can treat(waiting rooms would be very quite places if that's all we did as doctors).So its actually a very scarey world of uncertainty for most of us not so endowed with the frontal lobe capacities of some of our contributors,but then frontal lobes disconnected from the rest of the brain makes for empathetically-challenged human beings.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 06/07/2005 12:11

I would challenge Billy Ralph to prove a single statement is his last post. It’s just waffle as usual. We accept that HE cannot explain how QC tests for Homeopathy might be done, but are we now to believe he can’t even find out, and he’s a doctor? If there are tests Billy Ralph could find out TODAY. Is it the fact and will he admit it and be honest as he claims he is that there are no tests? Does he not agree that if there are no possible QC tests that rampant fraud may be at work? The sick & poor may be paying for and taking plain water and sugar? If BIG CAM, their distributors and retailers knows this, is there not a big incentive for them to carry out fraud? If no tests are even imaginable how does the “body” KNOW that it’s taking in an effective medicine? If we can’t test it or even begin to think how we might test it, how can the body? If there is no known physical way of measuring the potency of a Homeopathic medicine how can we know what DOSE people are getting? Could we be overdosing or under dosing, if not then does the dose not matter at all and if the dose doesn’t matter then why bother taking any Homeopathy at all? This is reductio-ad-absurdum. Homeopathy *IS* NO DOSE AT ALL. So how can it possibly or logically work? It can’t is the obvious answer. It literally is NON-SENSE. I am quite confident that the vast majority of those buying Homeopathy would stop if they read this thread. They don’t realise or understand the absurdity that is Homeopathy. I know I have often asked them. There isn’t really a “world of uncertainty”. For most people diagnosis is relatively straightforward in the vast majority of real illnesses. Every day of the week, people go to doctors and specialists and are diagnosed, offered treatment that either cures them, allows the illness to run its course while elevating the symptoms or there is no effective treatment. Even when there is no treatment this does not indicate “uncertainty”. Where there is “uncertainty” it is associated with the fraud that we are all “defective because of out modern diet” or “are being poisoned by our environment” and are suffering all sorts of imagined illnesses and “balance” disorders and “immune deficiencies”. All BS put out by the CAM industry to fool gullible people into parting with their money. A doctor can tell you definitely that you have MS and can definitely say he cannot effectively treat you. This notion of uncertainty is part of the propaganda waffle that CAM artists and BIG CAM put out to confuse uneducated, illogical and superstitious people. You hear it often in sentences like, “Scientists don’t know everything”, or “you can’t label some things” or “there are things scientists cannot investigate” or as the Pope once said, “shouldn’t investigate”. All nonsense science can and does investigate anything it likes and generally very successfully. It might take time as it did to nail the MMR v Autism debate. I might add that there is no scientific mystery in Homeopathy; it’s just common or garden health fraud. So I’m “empathetically-challenged”. BS, I am challenged to prevent stupid people being defrauded by clever con artists and the governments of the world ARE slowing coming down on my side.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 06/07/2005 12:26

Here is a link to a publication that in a few pages sums up Alternative Medicine from a scientific pov. http://www.bcskeptics.info/re/06.02.pdf I might add that a few minutes spent reading these articles can repay itself many times over in a live times savings made from not buying fraudulent and bogus medicines.

Anonymous  Posted: 06/07/2005 12:37

Billy RALPH, in your last posting on this topic, in relation to alternative medecine, is it true that a frontal lobe disconnected from the rest of the brain makes for an empathetically-challenged human being?

william (billyralph)  Posted: 06/07/2005 12:48

So we go to our doctors and they diagnose and treat or diagnose and allow things to run their natural course-is that your understanding of medicine-what a lovely fairytale world you live in.Why in that case do up to 30%,and that's a conservative estimate,of patients referred to specialists come away with no diagnosis,little or no change in their condition or are given meaningless catchall diagnoses such as IBS,fibromyalgia,chronic tension headache etc etc.Diagnosis is so simple and straightforward according to William-who has never had to make a daignosis in his life,where do all these patients and their symptoms go?They should go and pull up their socks or just wait because afterall everything settles eventually-don't try other approaches to healthcare-approaches that spend longer with the patient,take a whole person perspective,are less invasive and do actually help some people even if they can't afford to pay money or 'believe' in them. And don't flatter yourself William the governments of the world aren't coming around to your way of thinking-the European Parliament was quite happy with the report it commissioned on homeopathy to recommend further studies and advocate its use in selected patients under proper medical supervision. william how do people recover from illness or disease?

Anonymous  Posted: 06/07/2005 12:56

William are you suggsting the immune deficincies do not exist?? Why then do we Get infections and viruses? Perhaps the pope was right. For the sake of human dignity and respect perhaps there are some things that science shouldn't investigate. By the way, if you are not a medical person, how do you know that for most people diagnosis is relatively straightforward?? What about those who go undiagnosed for years? And what to your mean by "real illnesses" Are you suggesting that there are unreal illnesses? And what might they be? Certainly when there is no treatment this does not indicate “uncertainty”. It is only when there is no diagnosis that there is uncertainty.

Anonymous  Posted: 06/07/2005 13:00

But willaim, scientists DON'T know everything. For years they said Fibromyalgia and CFS (along with ME) did not exist - even tho' people suffered from it. But now it is being recognised, diagnosed and treated not just by GP's but by specialists.

Anonymous  Posted: 06/07/2005 14:40

Srange, I have an aunt who studied homeopathy, kinesiology, colour therapy (not sure what it is myself) and aromatherapy and is convinced that Bach's Rescue Remedy is a marvellous resource. She is an advocate of holistics and believes the mind, body and spirit are one and all need to be healed before the human person is healed of any disease or illness.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 06/07/2005 15:02

Scientists would be the first people to say they don’t know everything, what’s your point? Billy says 30% go to specialists and get no diagnosis that is acceptable. Acceptable to whom? What percentage have nothing wrong with them? However that 30% is only a small fraction of those that go to their GPs. Very often people HAVE nothing wrong with them. It’s not surprising that many people think that they are ill when they are not with the bombardment that Big CAM goes on with. How many unfortunates think that the local power lines or their mobile phones or Sellafield or the fluoridation in their water is making them ill? It seems to me that ME and allied “illnesses” are related to depression. The standard treatment for ME is anti-depression drugs. People recover from illness because the fault that caused it is removed. That is either done by changes in diet etc, natural internal mechanisms that evolved, un-natural drugs or un-natural surgical interventions. Don’t you know? I thought you were a doctor. I hope Billy is not suggesting that Homeopathy actually does nothing but he thinks it is useful in treating mild depression along with a bit of extra hand-holding? In my opinion that’s unethical. Billy are you going to make the effort to find out is QC possible with Homeopathy?

Anonymous  Posted: 06/07/2005 16:14

A diagnosis that is acceptable to the patient. Afterall they are the prson livign with he illnESS. Are you saying people who are not ill go the a doctor and consultant and spent time and money - fpora hobby, for laughs??? What a pecular viw of humanity ou have. How can a preson with real symtoms have nothing wrong with them? ME brings about depression NOT the other way about. I would like to ee have ME or CFS or Fibro, be told you are not ill and not get depressed about it after a couple of years.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 06/07/2005 20:56

Many people are given diagnosis that they do not accept. That’s a fact. Can your aunt contact her CAM drug supplier’s, Nelson Bach, and get them to send us the information we need to regulate Homeopathy? Another question related to QC. How do the Big CAM manufacturers do internal QC in their factories? All manufacturers have Quality Control departments. It is a very important aspect of modern production methods. How does the management of Big CAM factories know that the remedy has been hit hard enough by their staff between dilutions, known as succession, an important step apparently? If they employed someone like me I would know that hitting the bottle did nothing so I wouldn’t bother. I mean if there is no quality control there must be product coming onto the market that was not diluted enough or too much or mixed up or contains the wrong ingredient. All human activity creates errors & fraud. My God! Does this mean you could be taking the wrong remedy? Maybe a boy’s remedy instead of a girls? Or a blonde’s remedy instead of brunette’s? Maybe instead of dilute knat’s pee you could be taking diluted cockroach? Your Aunt swears by CAM maybe she can answer this question. Afaik, there is no way to clinically detect ME or Gulf War syndrome.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 06/07/2005 21:09

To Anon 6/7 12:56 The immune system can be damaged of course. However, you cannot “strengthen a healthy person’s immune system” with supplements, at last there is no known way other than vaccines. But then many CAM people are opposed to these as well. These contradictions abound in CAM and among its supporters. The one true way to protect against infections such as the ‘flu is to get vaccinated but many deluded people opt instead for useless Homeopathic “vaccines” and of course get the ‘flu. Serves then right. They vilify Big Pharm but have no problem with Big CAM. Big Pharm spends billions on research, is obliged to test their products with very expensive clinical trials and prove the drug works and get sued if it doesn’t. They have to manufacturer the drug from actual chemicals that are proven to be effective and do Quality Control to ensure dosage and safety. Big CAM on the other does no research, needs no clinical trials and sells water, sugar and alcohol without even the QC. The profits must be huge. It’s a bit similar to CAM treatments. Doctors go to college and study for 10 years and Reflexologists do 6 week correspondence courses. “For the sake of human dignity and respect perhaps there are some things that science shouldn't investigate”. Please write an essay and post it here that provides some evidence that ignorance is bliss. There are very few people who go undiagnosed for years who are suffering from real illnesses. I didn’t say everyone was diagnosed after trips to their doctors, I said the vast majority of people who go to their doctors and specialists get diagnosed.

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 06/07/2005 23:01

I am intrigued as to why some posters, with no scientific training or knowledge can decry the most complex type of medical treatments e.g. vaccines. Would the same people question an engineer building a bridge or a programmer designing a highly technical piece of software? Of course not. But the same people can claim that all the scientists and specialists in the medical field are wrong about immune systems, vaccines, quack remedies such as homeopathy etc.. Why is this?

Anonymous  Posted: 07/07/2005 11:27

William, Gulf War syndrome is PTSD. There is no wayt currently to trest ME. But closely allied to it is Fibromyalgia. here are ways of testign this now, wheras 10 years ago the very real agony experienced by sufferered was dismissed (probably by people like you).

Anonymous  Posted: 07/07/2005 11:33

Willaim, the girl with the aunt - here. Tell you what. I give her a ring at the weekend and ask her.

Anonymous  Posted: 07/07/2005 11:36

William you say trere no we we can build the immune system with anything othr then vaccines. But is it not the case that whena babay is breastfed it build theirimmunity. Also when we get influenza we are then immune to it. Alos those who do not eat properly are moe prome to colds, infecitosn etc. So proper nutrition (or supplememtation where nutrition cannot be acquired due to illness circumstance etc.) will also build the immune system.

Anonymous  Posted: 07/07/2005 11:38

I have no inention of writing an essay. I am no longr in the econdary school. But for example, science should not investigatre the oucome of the genetic mixing of a human with an animal or one animal with another where it would not normally occur.

Anonymous  Posted: 07/07/2005 12:32

William, when you speak of homeopathy (or other quack) remedies, you mention that if somwhere along the line someone in prccessing got it wrong then a client (victim) could be taking a boy’s remedy instead of a girls? What sort of nonsense is this. Suely any remedy (except of course hormonal) would not differ whether is as prescribed for a boy or a girl. Or a blonde’s remedy instead of brunette’s - How could a remedy for A blonde differ than that for a brunette (or redhead for that matter)??

william (billyralph)  Posted: 07/07/2005 13:32

William I didn't use the word 'acceptable'diagnosis,I wrote 'no' diagnosis. Kindly read Dr. Marcia Angel's 'The truth about the drug companies' or Dr.J.Abrahamson's 'Overdosed America' or look at that BMJ article I quoted on iatrogenesis before before extolling the virtues of Big Pharma(and yes I know its a separate but not totally unconnected issue to the current debate). In response to JW people express opinions and often very valid opinions on health because we all have to some extent a degree of expertise on the subject and most good health practitioners know and use this to form therapeutic relationships with patients resulting in greater concordance with medication and better health outcomes.Or should the Plebs just shut-up and do as the professionals tell them?How Victorian!! And finally no! I shall not be trying to find out about QC in homeopathic pharmaceuticals.

Anonymous  Posted: 07/07/2005 15:07

Billy, if you are not checking out the QC performed on homepathy you prescribe for your patients then surely you are as guilty of blind faith as any of the JW's who let their childrren die against medical and legal advice simply because the WT.org tells them to.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 07/07/2005 22:43

To Anon 07/07 12:32 Here’s an extract from Homeopathy lore. “Many homeopaths maintain that certain people have a special affinity to a particular remedy (their "constitutional remedy") and will respond to it for a variety of ailments. Such remedies can be prescribed according to the person's "constitutional type" -- named after the corresponding remedy in a manner resembling astrologic typing. The "Ignatia Type," for example, is said to be nervous and often tearful, and to dislike tobacco smoke. The typical "Pulsatilla" is a young woman, with blond or light-brown hair, blue eyes, and a delicate complexion, who is gentle, fearful, romantic, emotional, and friendly but shy. The "Nux Vomica Type" is said to be aggressive, bellicose, ambitious, and hyperactive. The "Sulfur Type" likes to be independent.” Believe it or not a women posted a suggestion some months ago on this website where she said she would chose a different Homeopathic remedy for her light skinned child as opposed to her dark skinned child. I tried to find it but I couldn’t. To Anon 07/07 11:36 Breastfed babies do not have their immune system improved, only at best equalised with the mother. Even then I doubt it actually matters a great deal. If you are run down your immune system may deteriorate but supplements wouldn’t solve anything, with very few exceptions. Maybe iron for anaemic people. Proper nutrition is obviously essential for everything. I repeat again, you have been fooled into thinking this, “strengthen your immune system”, mantra actually means something by con artists trying to sell you rubbish and YOU FELL FOR IT! Type that phrase into Google and see how many hits are trying to sell you something. You are a typical con artist’s mark. Scientists already mix genes from animals and plants. No doubt in the future genes from animals and plants will be incorporated into humans. Think about this fact. A gene is a chemical. We already share a huge number of genes that animals and plants have. Putting a gene from a plant into a human just means adding a different chemical code. In a sense there is no such thing as a plant or animal gene. There is no “essence” of animal or plant. Some of the most fundamental genes that create an embryo are EXACTLY the same in us and the lowliest insect. Billy, when the “plebs” fly on aeroplanes the “professionals” drive them, what’s the difference? Why don’t you just admit that there is no QC possible with Homeopathy because magic cannot be tested as it doesn’t exist?

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 07/07/2005 22:57

I see Billy Ralph is arguing for the sake of arguing. I did not say that people should shut up and do what professionals tell them. On the contrary when CAM artists extol the value of their dubious wares I am the most sceptical of all. Going through life one accepts the advice of professionals because of their expertise in certain areas (electrician, accountant, brain surgeon). One does not tell the above professionals they are wrong if they tell you something which is considered today's best practice (that does not mean it will be tomorrow's best practice)unless you have recived at least as good traing as they have. Nowhere have I read that, for instance, homeopathy is accepted as anything other than a scam by ALL leading health professionals. I presume when Billy Ralph is on his next flight out of Ireland he will give a lecture to the pilot on the best ways of flying the plane.

Anonymous  Posted: 08/07/2005 11:17

John, Going through life one accepts the advice of professionals because of their expertise in certain areas - certainly but you'd be a complete fool to listen to a consultant who tells you there is nothing wrong with when you are in obvouis pain - as was the case with many many Fibromyalgia sufferers up to no so long ago.

Anonymous  Posted: 08/07/2005 11:20

So William, you now think tha Breastfeeding baby does not actually matter a great deal. So you are disagreed with the worlds foremost health authorites who agree that breastfeedign is the best start for a baby. So if a person is run down - how you build them and their immune system back up? Proper nutrition - and if this is unavailable where do they get that which is contained in nutrition - from supplements of course.

william (billyralph)  Posted: 08/07/2005 14:27

I think if anyone is arguing for the sake of arguing it is both yourself johnwilliams and williamgrogan as both of you have set yourselves up as quasi-experts on all health related matters when neither of you have the background to do so. Sadly being able to read what is actually written rather than what you would like written is quite clearly lacking.Wanting the world to conform to some prejudiced view because that is how it should be-the maths etc says so ,is also quite juvenile.And the arrogance behind it is a reflection of narrowness of thought.I won't be discussing flying the plane with the pilot because I don't have a therapeutic relationship with the pilot-your facile comparison only indicates that you have completely missed the point.Do you know what a therapeutic relationship is or perhaps the medical texts that you dip in and out of did not mention that-its post-grad stuff!!

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 08/07/2005 18:41

Anon 8/7 11:20. That’s not what I said. I totally agree that it is better to breast feed a baby than not, I said I doubt is mattered that much re their immune system. A mother cannot pass to a baby in breast milk immunity to disease for example or we wouldn’t need vaccination. This run down business is a bit of a con as well. If you keep reading adds for “tonics” that tell you you are run down then you start thinking you are. Listen to some phrases going around, “stresses of everyday life”, “help your natural bacteria, and we all need that”, “lowers cholesterol”, “eliminates cellulite”, “aids your natural immune system”… These are all ADVERTISING SLOGANS designed to con you. Virtually nobody in Ireland is in a position where they need supplements, there is plenty of food AND eating no food or the wrong food and eating supplements is certainly very stupid. More to the point I strongly suspect that the people who do eat poor quality food, like the poorest people, DO NOT buy trendy middle class supplements. The people who eat vitamins and supplements probably have the BEST DIET. Billy a GP says “…have set yourselves up as quasi-experts on all health related matters when neither of you have the background to do so”. Yet he believes in CAM but cannot explain QC for Homeopathy, I asked him. So where does that leave his argument? You don’t have to be a doctor to recognise fraud when you see it, in fact it’s obvious that is no guarantee of being able to detect fraud. Furthermore the vast majority of the expert scientists DO agree CAM is fraud. There is a difference between a Doctor and a Scientist, just as there is between an Engineer and a Physicist. The former tend not necessarily to be particularly scientific. It’s the difference between someone who carries out the work and someone who invents the methodology. It is obviously of some use that a doctor spends more time with his patients and empathises with them but that has nothing what to do with prescribing them €10 bottles of water medicine. Can Billy, an expert, explain how when manufacturing Homeopathy they clean the water to 100% purity and then keep all impurities away from it in the “manufacturing” process? When they dilute the “original solution” with more water, how do they keep that pure? Because if they can’t and you CANNOT clean water, the utensils, the environment 100%, then hundreds of other contaminants end up in the medicine. How then does the medicine that you are trying to interact with the body know it is to be used and not the other hundreds of chemical contaminants? With normal medicine a tiny amount of contaminants don’t matter because the percentage of the contaminants to the active ingredient is tiny but with dilutions of millions of times the containments are as large as the original ingredient. You might also explain how the water molecules which have touched other chemicals in their multi-billion year existence don’t retain their “memory” as well. Of course Billy will dodge these questions as he has with every other question. I might add that there are obviously other pro-CAM people reading this thread and none of them can answer any of these simple questions either. Or even make a stab at it. I might also add that there are hundreds of CAM artists making a good living in Ireland, where are they in this discussion? I am not an expert in medicine and I could demolish the position of any CAM artist who posts here, what does that tell you about them? Where are they? Hiding and hoping we go away I suspect before someone starts reading this thread. Forget about tackling Big Pharm, tackle Big CAM if you want to do some good.

william (billyralph)  Posted: 11/07/2005 10:37

William you are becoming more dictatorial as this thread continues-you are not demolishing peoples arguments ,some people are refusing to enter into the argument with you because of your style which is rude and arrogant in the extreme.People do not have to demonstrate that they know how therapies work before they can use them-nobody knows how homeopathy works or acupuncture,or lithium and most of the medications used in psychiatry but they allegedly do.The onus on practitioners of any therapy should be to engage in research and/or audit of their work.So even without an in depth theoretical framework some therapists are very good at helping people to get well-that is what's important-do their patients get well-how do we know that and are practitioners of any therapy open enough to allow their performances to be measured.Designing tools to measure or even deciding what exactly to measure is another matter.Although the rating scale used by the Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital is quite comprehensive and has been independently validated(and please william don't go off on a rant about this highly respected-highly respected within the medical profession-instituition who have opened their doors to independent scrutiny to people even more sceptical than you ie health service managers!) So William enough of the bragging about demolishing people,we don't know how many treatments work we just get on with using them from experience,word of mouth and occasionally from evidence.So drop the perpetual 'how?'their are more interesting questions about healing and health to be explored.

Anonymous  Posted: 11/07/2005 12:14

But William one in particlar of the branded (benecol) yogurts is scientifically proven to lower cholesterol, otherwise they would not be permitted to advertise it as such. There is such a thing as pue water - H2O, with none of the added mineral or elements you get in nature - such as alcium sodium magnesium etc. I think Billy said it all when he said that the ultimate test of any produce is - do people get well . Afterall that the intended action of any perscription and the aim of any doctor.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 11/07/2005 12:55

It seems to me that every time Billy Ralph is asked a straight question he cannot answer he makes some irrelevant generalisation, throws out an insult or goes off on a tangent. There is a huge difference between say Lithium and Homeopathy. Lithium is an actual active chemical, Homeopathy contains no active ingredient. Furthermore there are major differences between cures in Psychiatry and body based problems such as infection, cancer etc. It is possible that someone with a Psychiatric problem could be helped by a placebo but that most definitely will not work for physical/body problems. Billy keeps skipping around this area. Now and again Billy claims he is an expert and works in the medical field so he knows that Homeopathy works and yet he cannot answer a SINGLE question as to how it works, why there cannot be QC, how do we know that Homeopathy remedies are not fakes, why all the other chemicals that already touched the water don’t cause a Homeopathic remedy to cure everything, what the difference is between tap water and Homeopathy etc.. So all the CAM artists are refusing to enter this argument because I’m rude and dictatorial? I don’t accept that. You just said that. They are refusing to enter because they don’t want their scams scrutinised. They can’t answer any number of questions or explain the contradictions in their fake “treatments”. All CAM & magic “treatments” are full of absurd paradoxes. In my opinion, homeopathy is total nonsense and seen as such by virtually all scientists. If it wasn’t such nonsense you would be able to suggest someone who can explain how we can do Quality Control. BTW, someone’s “aunt” was due to get back to us on that. How come she hasn’t? Homeopathy doesn’t work. It can’t, it’s a scam.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 11/07/2005 13:32

Companies selling non medical products that claim to reduce cholesterol have been forced to change their claims but this is very hit and miss and depends on someone from the public making a complaint. The Advertising watchdog is totally funded by the advertisers themselves. Most advertisers make claims that are dubious and in Ireland there is no agency with any real powers to stop them unlike in the US where the FDA does shut down, fine and imprison does making fraudulent claims. However even in the US the FDA is powerless to act against food supplements. This will change and in future laws will allow the state to ban the sale of fake remedies & supplements. These advertisers make claims such as “believed to aid”, “helps” etc.. These weasel words are used to circumvent what laws and regulations there are. Furthermore lowering cholesterol in healthy people is of dubious benefit anyway. As I have said before, eating crap and ending up with high cholesterol and then eating more crap to bring it back down is hardly logical. If you have a cholesterol problem you most definitely should be attending a physician and carrying out his advice. Self medication is extremely dangerous as recent deaths have shown. Your point re pure water is exactly the point I am making. How does the Homeopathic remedy “know” which contaminant to act with, the one added and diluted away by the CAM Artist or the other hundreds of chemicals that contaminate it? All independent properly conducted studies clearly show Homeopathy does not work. If Billy Ralph could prove that Homeopathy worked after conducting a proper scientific study he would win several Nobel Prizes. Billy is claiming Homeopathy works yet cannot answer a SINGLE question put to him on it? What does that tell you? When Billy gives a patient a Homeopathic medicine how does he know its not tap water? Are we simply to take Billy at his word? All the con artists that prey on the sick claim that their magical cures work. Are we to believe them all and if not which ones? Slight dilemma isn’t it?

Anonymous  Posted: 11/07/2005 14:45

No william, Placebo's will not work on physical ailments but homeopahty has - even with children and animals. Also by saying that a placebo may wor on a psychiatric problem. ARE YOU SOMEHOW ATTEMPTING TO IMPLY THAT THAT'S A LESS VALID ILLNESS?

Anonymous  Posted: 11/07/2005 14:51

Hi William, spoke to my aunt on Saturday. She actually found an email address for Nelson Bach in the UK. Emailed them on Saturday afternoon. They should have picked up the mail by now so we should recieve a response in a couple of days. By the way why do you put the word aunt in commas. Do you suspect that she may not be my aunt?

Anonymous  Posted: 11/07/2005 15:03

William, you repeatedly say 'this will change and in future, laws . . etc etc. but in all the time you've been saying it, those laws have not changed one whit. Please have a little bit of cop and realise that not all cholesterol is caused by " eating crap". Much of it is not lifestyle related at all but inherently organic and unaffected by lifestyle. And I dont know why you refer to benecol, flora etc. as crap, when you don't refer to other yogurts, milks or spreads in the same vein. Perhaps you don't like to see people help them selves without interference from the nanny state. Many other people do have diet related cholersterol which can benefit from benecol etc, but does not warrant statins.

william (billyralph)  Posted: 11/07/2005 15:26

Going around in circles William,banging the same old drum,its getting a bit boring now.You know if something is working clinically by having a proper monitoring and auditing of one's results-not all health interventions are amenable to the randomised double blind placebo controlled trial,so in the real world of day to day medicine other tools are used-do the patients get better and do they feel better because bias runs both ways.The HIT trials William,the HIT trials-positive results over and above placebo.Why is that so hard to accept-a positive result over and above placebo.It shows one of two things that either homeopathy works or the double blind placebo trial doesn't.Quite frankly I'd be fascinated to think that the latter is the case because then what do we do in medicine with the gold standard measurement tool?Oh dear we've enter the twilight zone,no rules,who switched out the lights. And since when are psychiatric diseases not like physical illnesses-isn't depression a lack of serotonin and schizophrenia an excess of dopamine,that's what Big Pharma/little science says.Just look at the evidence they come up with-you can push the 'scientific truth' a long way if you have several millions of pounds behind you.S

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 11/07/2005 18:18

William goes on and on about scientific fraud, and says: "I could demolish the position of any CAM artist who posts here." Yet when I pointed out to him the most outrageous, most massive scientific and medical fraud going on at present -- the WHO labelling of fluoride as "an essential nutrient" and trying to force it on every human being -- he couldn't see it! It's all carefully documented in the books by Barry Groves and Christopher Bryson, and I myself have added some particularly Irish details on http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/FluoridePoisoning/message/3528 As for homeopathy, water may seem simple but there's a lot that scientists don't understand about it. A Japanese scientist Dr Masaru Emoto has done some amazing research on ice crystals, with results that could be related to homeopathy.The fact is that there has been relatively little research on homeopathy and on CAM in general. It is ridiculous to suggest that there is a lot of evidence that they DON'T work. By the way, fluoridated water is a worry for homeopaths; I believe they make a point of avoiding fluoridated water. (There is no fluoridation in Glasgow, or anywhere in Scotland.) William says that "there are hundreds of CAM artists making a good living in Ireland." And there are thousands of medical doctors making a VERY good living in Ireland. But the highest paid profession of all is dentistry. There are more than four times as many dentists now as there were before fluoridation started (in 1964). And fluoridation was supposed to do away with dentists! Mind you, I wouldn't castigate all dentists; see www.irishhealth.com/?level=4&id=7322

Anonymous  Posted: 12/07/2005 10:29

Joe - of course there are more dentists now tat in 1964. ecuase people are taking more care of their teeth and dental scinece has come a long long log way siunce thien. You analogy might would also suggest that there are more make up counters in dept stores bcuase women lookm so much worse now or there arew bigger scjhools becase children are much less intelligent.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 12/07/2005 19:39

Anon 11/0705 14:45 Homeopathy cannot work, it’s magic and magic doesn’t work in the real world only in Harry Potter’s new book. Saying it works isn’t good enough. My point re mental illness is that the patient’s perception may be distorted. Anon 11/07/o5 14:51 As I said I already emailed Bach’s and got no reply. Maybe you will. Anon 11/07/05 15:03. The laws HAVE recently been changed by the EU and an international body that regulates medicine. The effect of this will come on stream over the coming months. I have already posted details of these. In any given year there are popular fads including health issues. Big CAM and those companies manufacturing “active foods” capitalise on this. If you do not have high cholesterol eating food that lowers it could actually be dangerous. Ask yourself a simple question, is the person pushing the health issue selling you something? Then be suspicious, very suspicious. Billy Ralph. Part of the reason I am going around in circles is that you have refused to answer something like 15 direct questions. We can never get anywhere if someone says, “I just know X treatment works, I cannot explain it, I can’t answer any questions on it of any description and neither can anyone else, I accept there are paradoxes that I can’t answer as well but just believe me otherwise I’ll insult you and stamp my feet”. You didn’t answer my last post. Should doctors be regulated or can they carry out any treatment they so wish etc.? Question 16. If you leave out the banging of the Homeopathy solution (with a book apparently) between dilutions, will the “remedy” still work? I have said before that the so called (14 bed) Homeopathic Hospital is not more likely to publish a document disproving Homeopathy than Turkeys are to vote for Christmas. Joe, as regards the WHO’s comments re Fluoride, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences made the comment originally. It really doesn’t matter. Fluoride occurs naturally and maybe we could do without it, but that’s irrelevant. If we take injest it, it means less tooth decay, particularly in children and poor people. Incidentally there are probably 50 times as many programmers today than ‘64. Obviously this means that computers are getting harder to program! You really cannot follow the simply point that two separate events cannot be linked without some proof they are linked. Otherwise, like Marian Finnucane you will think the Acupuncturist cured you. Joe do you believe the following is a statement about reality, “… theory showing how water is deeply connected to people's individual and collective consciousness. … the ability of water to absorb, hold, and even retransmit human feelings and emotions. … crystals formed in frozen water reveal changes when specific, concentrated thoughts are directed toward it. Music, visual images, words written on paper, and photographs also have an impact on the crystal structure. … water from clear springs and water exposed to loving words shows brilliant, complex, and colourful snowflake patterns, while polluted water and water exposed to negative thoughts forms incomplete, asymmetrical patterns with dull colours.”? Lets all rate this previous paragraph from 0 to 10, 0 meaning utter and total nonsense to 10 meaning a really cool analysis of the balance of nature and the interaction between the cosmic forces and the natural rhythms of the Qi.

Anonymous  Posted: 13/07/2005 10:34

William, you said of the other poster "just believe me otherwise I’ll insult you and stamp my feet” I think William ou are being delivebately derogatory and insulting. By doing this it is you who are behaving in a childish manner. Actually, in the area of cosmetic surgery, tratment is completely unregualted and treatments can be carried out by the unqualified and also where there is no proven benefit.

Anonymous  Posted: 13/07/2005 10:35

William, at the end of your post, you referred to the natural rhythms of the Qi. I thought you did not believe in the existence of QI? Are you finally coming around?

Anonymous  Posted: 13/07/2005 10:38

Hi William, my aunt has had no reply from Belson bach and do you kone, you have my curiosity up now. I will mail them snd ask about their Qulaity control, any studis they have done and what tess for contents or efficacy is carried out on their solutions/dilutions.

william (billyralph)  Posted: 13/07/2005 12:10

William from your last letter you quite clearly have not read my letter once again seeing what you want to bolster your arguments.The homeopathic hospital in Glasgow do not publish anything-peer reviewed international medical journals publish their work.Doctors are regulated more so here in the UK than in Ireland but they do have a degree of professional license to use treatments off license to treat conditions-if something goes wrong they do have to explain their actions.I cannot speak for other professions some of whom are not regulated,but I have repeatedly stated that all health professionals sholud be monitered/audited and accountable to a regulatory and consumer body.If by undergoing such a process it can be shown that certain treatments harm patients or do not benefit them then they should be stopped especially if the public purse is being used to fund such treament.The private sector is more difficult to control-so maybe the Irish health service should move towards a British National Health Service where in many areas of healthcare there is very little private sector involvement and theoretically it is easier to monitor outcomes.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 19/07/2005 23:09

Whether or not cosmetic surgery is valid has no bearing on CAM. How’s the Aunt getting on re Nelson Bach’s and QC? Still no reply, surprise surprise! On what basis, Billy Ralph, does the Homeopathic “Hospital” claim to be a Hospital? Can anyone set up a building and call it a “Hospital”? What exactly is the “meaning” of the “Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital” phrase? Can one set up a “Hospital” after a six week correspondence course? Many CAM artist call their “Institutions”, “Hospitals”, “Colleges”, “Clinics”, “Foundations”, “Royal” etc. This is done to fool silly people who think a word can impart some level of respectability. In the UK peers of the realm are often directors of companies for the same reason. Homeopathy cannot strictly speaking harm anyone as it’s only tap water. Therefore that point is nonsense.

Anonymous  Posted: 20/07/2005 11:38

Hi William, you are right. My aunt still has had no reply and in fsact niether have I. I mailed them over a week ago and nothing! You made a very interestign point about the term universtiy. When I was on thre nelson back site, I bowsed around out of curiosity and beleive it or not there as 19 (some with email addresses if you feel like mailing them with your queries) homeopathy Universities, schools or colleges.

william (billyralph)  Posted: 20/07/2005 12:32

William your ignorance shines brilliantly through in that last posting.The Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital is an NHS hospital,not set up by just anybody.Its has the same codes of practice as all other major British hospitals,it employs nurses,doctors,has access to radiology,surgery,intensive care if necessary just like any other hospital-its not privately run,is accountable to a board of managers and ultimately to the Dept. of Health.It differs from other hospitals in its approach to complex biopsychosocial problems-it applies an integrative approach,not just homeopathy(that is its historical name),but counselling and the use of orthodox medicine where appropriate.And its results are excellent given the complexities of the problems that they deal with-problem cases that have been referred on by GPs and consultants from all over Scotland and northern England. Prior to that attempt to slander the work of the GHH I had some respect for your attempts at structuring your arguments but that last posting simply revealed that you just run off at the mouth without having the faintest notion about what you are talking about.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 20/07/2005 17:59

William (williamgrogan) wrote (12/07/2005 19:39) that "as regards the WHO’s comments re Fluoride, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences made the comment originally. It really doesn’t matter. Fluoride occurs naturally and maybe we could do without it, but that’s irrelevant." "Irrelevant"? You must be joking, William. Fluoride is more toxic than lead, and it accumulates in your body. That error by the NAS has been used ever since by pro-fluoride forces, including websites such as Quackwatch, even up to the present day. Let's set the record straight, as the NAS did, eventually. Here are the last three public statements that the U.S. National Academy of Sciences has made on the "essentiality" of ingested fluoride: "These contradictory results do not justify a classification of fluorine as an essential element, according to accepted standards." SOURCE: National Academy of Sciences. (1989). Recommended Dietary Allowances: 10th Edition. Commission on Life Sciences, National Research Council, National Academy Press. p. 235. "Fluoride is no longer considered an essential factor for human growth and development." SOURCE: National Research Council (1993). Health Effects of Ingested Fluoride. National Academy Press, Washington DC. p. 30. "First, let us reassure you with regard to one concern. Nowhere in the report is it stated that fluoride is an essential nutrient. If any speaker or panel member at the September 23rd workshop referred to fluoride as such, they misspoke. As was stated in Recommended Dietary Allowances 10th Edition, which we published in 1989: 'These contradictory results do not justify a classification of fluoride as an essential element, according to accepted standards.'" SOURCE: Alberts B, Shine K. (1998). Letter from Bruce Alberts, President, National Academy of Sciences, and Kenneth Shine, President, Institute of Medicine, to Dr. Albert Burgstahler. November 18, 1998. http://tinyurl.com/5dl2y Note that in 1979 the U.S. FDA required the DELETION of all government references previously classifying fluoride as "essential or probably essential" (Federal Register, March 16, 1979, pg. 16006). And, just to complete the picture, the "doctors' Bible", the Physicians' Desk Reference, states: "There is no evidence that fluoride is an essential nutrient for humans." (www.pdrhealth.com/drug_info/nmdrugprofiles/nutsupdrugs/flu_0109.shtml) How many more reasons do you need to make you concerned about the WHO's statements that fluoride is "an essential nutrient"? There is no excuse for the WHO's deception.

Anonymous  Posted: 21/07/2005 09:01

Is it not odd then Joe, that when we attended my new dentist (we had changed dentist) and had neglected our teeth for a while (for reasons I don't need to go into here) he recommended a reflouidation treatment consisting of a spray, mouthewash and toohpaste for myself and flouride tablets for my young sister. Within 6 months our teeth were stromnger, less brittle and healthier. Within 2 yeas we had significantly less caries. Almost 4 years on our last dental visits consisted only of a checkup.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 21/07/2005 16:03

To Anonymous (21/07/2005 09:01), it's not odd that your dentist recommends fluoride. In my opinion, dentists are not taught the truth about fluoride in dental school. However, a significant number of Irish dentists have copped on to the truth; see www.idof.net I have shown above that no one needs fluoride -- ever. There is no such thing as fluoride deficiency, and fluoride is not a nutrient of any sort. There is no evidence that fluoride tablets bring any benefit. In my experience, they only do damage. I believe it is contrary to science, medical ethics and common sense for doctors or dentists to prescribe fluoride tablets. The licensing of fluoride tablets was a mistake. At this stage, 60 years after most of the western medical establishment began endorsing fluoridation, there is no excuse for it. There is a vast amount of medical evidence, apart from the evidence of scientific fraud. Read "The Fluoride Deception" by Christopher Bryson, and see www.fluorideaction.net/health There is one, and only one, cause of your tooth decay -- sugar. Even the rabidly pro-fluoride dentists admit this (though they usually avoid saying it). If your teeth really became, as you say, "stronger, less brittle and healthier", then that had nothing to do with the fluoride. Fluoride makes teeth more brittle, and the same with bones. Look at the evidence. Fluoride makes abnormal dental enamel: in children's teeth, the enamel will become prematurely hard. Not stronger -- harder, and eventually more brittle. When the damage is visible it's called fluorosis. Approximately 50% of Irish children have visible fluorosis. Most of them drink fluoridated water and use fluoride toothpaste. It is true that, in certain cases, fluoride in your mouth will slow down tooth decay (not prevent it). It remineralizes the enamel being broken down by the acids (caused by bacteria acting on sugar), creating abnormal enamel. At the same time, the fluoride inhibits those caries-causing bacteria. To call it a benefit is taking a liberty with the English language. You can rinse your mouth with nitric acid and, I guarantee, that will inhibit the bacteria. Would you call that a benefit? Apart from damaging your teeth, fluoride often damages your gums, causing mouth ulcers. And those are just the least significant types of damage that fluoride does. Please educate yourself about these things, and then tell your dentist. There are quite a few dentists who will treat you without fluoride or mercury; contact IDOF. (See www.irishhealth.com/?level=4&id=7322)

Anonymous  Posted: 21/07/2005 16:52

Joe, thank you for the info but some caries NEED mercury filling to adhere properly, White filling do not work effectively in those cases.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 21/07/2005 20:24

Anonymous (21/07/2005 16:52) says that some tooth cavities "need mercury filling to adhere properly". How toxic does something have to be to stop you putting it in your mouth? Some, repeat SOME, dentists claim you need mercury and fluoride. In reality, the last place you should put mercury or fluoride is in your mouth. It's your health, and you have a choice about it.

Anonymous  Posted: 22/07/2005 11:00

But Joe some tooth cavities DO need mercury filling to adhere properly. OTHERWISE THEY WILL NOT ADHERE PROPERLY. BY THE WAY, do you eat tuna Aren't you concerned about the amount of mercury in tuna?

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 25/07/2005 22:46

Anonymous (22/07/2005 11:00) claimed that "some tooth cavities DO need mercury filling to adhere properly. OTHERWISE THEY WILL NOT ADHERE PROPERLY." That is contradicted by this report in the latest British Dental Journal: www.nature.com/bdj/journal/v199/n2/full/4812520a.html Any dentist who says you need a mercury filling should be told to read that. And anyone who thinks you need fluoride should read http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/FluoridePoisoning/message/3967 There's a sign that Health Minister Mary Harney is beginning to entertain doubts about fluoridation, even if she hasn't yet noticed the WHO's fluoride errors. In the Oireachtas Health Committee last week, in response to a question about fluoridation, she stated: "Like many areas of health care, it is not a black and white issue but has shades of grey." (http://debates.oireachtas.ie/DDebate.aspx?F=HEJ20050720.xml&Node=H2&Page=5) Some of us recall that the whole legal basis of Irish fluoridation (according to the High Court and Supreme Court judgements in 1963/64 -- the Ryan case) is that there are no shades of grey, that fluoridation is absolutely safe. We also recall that the fluoridation law of 1960 requires the Health Minister to carry out health surveys "from time to time" -- just in case, you might say. But, in 41 years of Irish fluoridation, not one health survey has ever been done. "Absolutely safe" is not the message we're getting from the mainstream media these days -- did anyone notice the report about fluoride and bone cancer in the Wall Street Journal last week? (www.fluoridealert.org/news/2323.html)

Anonymous  Posted: 26/07/2005 11:25

Does anyone know anything about passaflora. It is supposed to be helpfull for anyone with anxiety problems.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 29/07/2005 11:55

So I can add another item to the list of daft things that Joe believes in, he is anti-amalgam fillings that contain Mercury. In the US a dentist gets struck off for fraud if he removes amalgam fillings on "health" grounds. One major problem of logic that Joe and many other people have is this notion of “poison”. Just because a substance is poisonous in large quantities does not mean it causes damage in small or trace quantities. Maybe if we lived a 1000 years or maybe if one death in a billion is regarded as dangerous. Many of the myths that give rise to quackery relate to this notion that we are all being poisoned.

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 08/08/2005 22:35

Reading back over the posts I am amazed at the naivity of some people. For interest 'Big Pharma' making modern medicines = good. Small Pharma selling dubious quack medicines = bad. The little fellows v the Giants! Of course the truth is that the vast bulk of 'herbal medicines' and homeopathy products are sold by huge multinational corporations many of them owned by the bad Big Pharma. This fact does not seem to register with the CAM artists or with their gullible clients.

william (billyralph)  Posted: 09/08/2005 10:43

Another sweeping generalisation lacking any understanding of the overall debate from johnwilliams.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 10/08/2005 09:18

Talk about the kettle calling the pot black! It was not a generalisation as the anti "Big Drug Companies" brigade have foolishly alligned themselves with the "Big CAM" companies. Big Pharma spends billions on research and its products, are strictly licenced and their products are tested extensivel. The Homeopathy industry does no research, has to prove nothing and is totally unregulated. We are still waiting on even a suggestion as to how to introduce even basic quality control to Homeopathy. Still no reply from that manufacturer you mentioned. Where's the Aunt? Has she given up?

william (billyralph)  Posted: 10/08/2005 14:23

Big pharma does not spend billions on research-big pharma spends billions on marketing and a fraction on research.Big pharma spends large amounts of time and resources getting around drug regulatory boards' rules,paying prominent doctors to ghost write articles pushing their products and generlly is only concerned with the bottom line-read Marcia Angell's book-'The truth about the drug companies'-Marcia Angell was Chief Editor of the New England Journal of Medicine-very orthodox ,highly respected medical journal.Look at any drug company blurb and see if you can figure out the stats-do they refer to absolute risk or relative risk when promoting benefit vs side effects.I prescibe the stuff everyday and have great difficulty getting past the smoke screen so how do patients understand it.And no the complementary med brigade are not all shiney and nice but the profits are a lot less on homeopathic arnica-$3bn/yr is what the drug companies made from one very dodgy painkiller before they where forced to take it off the market 7yrs after the research showed an association with heart attack and stroke.So if you want to debate about the drug companies and money let's make the argument a little more sophisticated than the above puerile rantings.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 10/08/2005 16:50

Within the last two weeks an add was aired telling us that a particular CAM supplement was reduced by 75% from its previous price and you tell us that Big CAM is not making as much money as Big Pharm? How much does it cost to make a tiny bottle of pure water that contains nothing and sell it for €8? Big Pharm may spend billions on advertising but they most definitely also do spend billions on research and must do animal and then extensive and expensive human trials. Big CAM only has an advertising budget; it has no research, no trials, no chemicals, no factories, no chemists, no scientists, zilch. All businesses push out the rules as far as they can. It is up to the regulatory bodies to watch over this. HOWEVER Big CAM has no rules or regulations. They also duck and dive with their deliberately misleading labelling such as "believed to aid", anecdotal testaments by "satisfied customers", “”Mrs X of Derby”, "as part of a calorie controlled diet", “boosts the immune system”, "... along with exercise", "ancient and trusted "natural" remedy", “Chinese”, etc etc.. Where are the sellers of CAM in the year since we started attacking them? Why am I not being sued? Where is a SINGLE CAM manufacturer or re-seller to answer the question, “How do we regulate CAM vis a vis Quality Control”? Are they avoiding this debate? YES. Is the obvious answer. While information for most people is limited to the nonsense printed in the newspapers, they carry on selling their snake oil to the gullible. Lets face it, with the majority of the UK and Irish population thinking Santa Claus made the Universe and the President of the USA thinking Science Teachers should teach the same nonsense, it’s not surprising is it? CAM is living & thriving on people’s ignorance.

Anonymous  Posted: 16/08/2005 11:20

Hi William, yes my aunt has given up hoping for a response from the homeopathic company in question - assuming that they must be either too busy or don't answer such questions from the general public. Strangely tho', she hasn't given up believign in homeopathic medicine! I hpowever, havent given up in the search for info from them onb quality and testing. Ads I may hve mentioned the website for the company lists various homeopathic colleges (19 in all if I remember rightly) many of whom have email addresses listed. I intend to mail them requesting information as soon as I can find the time. I will post any responses I recieve

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 16/08/2005 13:03

Don't hold your breath!

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 18/08/2005 21:08

I have to agree with a lot of what Billy Ralph says about the multinational drug companies. In a properly ordered society many of them would be prosecuted for breaches of the Trade Descriptions Act and for the many underhand ways they have of selling medicines even in well-regulated societies like the EU. Their methods of selling medicines in Africa where there is no or weak regulatory environment is outrageous. Having said all that, modern medicine is based on scietific best evidence and the results are all around us. The average life-expectancy is far higher than even 40 years ago. For all its faults modern medicine is one of man's great success stories. The same cannot be said of the CAM industry which thrives in ignorance, irrationality, snake oil selling and outright dishonesty.

Raymond (ILF28166)  Posted: 20/08/2005 21:02

To fully appreciate the magnitude of the problems with modern medicine, one must contemplate all of its striking failures (Starfield, 2000): 225,000 deaths per year in the US from all iatrogenic causes. Adverse side effects of pharmaceuticals that cause more than 100,000 deaths per year. Medical errors that result in 3 million injuries and 44,000 to 98,000 deaths per year, including 12,000 deaths per year from unnecessary surgery. Nosocomial (hospital acquired) infections that kill 80,000 persons annually. Inability to truly cure, which results in 40% of the American population — 100 million people — suffering from serious chronic disorders. Failure to prevent disease and suffering by emphasizing disease care rather than prevention. Escalating health care costs that prohibit many from seeking health care services when needed. Starfield, B., (2000) Is US Health Really the Best in the World? JAMA 284(4):483–485. [an error occurred while processing this directive]

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 22/08/2005 13:45

Most of your figures are disputed and should be taken in the context of the lives saved and anyway in this discussion irrelevant. This thread is about Alternative Medicine. Whether or not main stream medicine is good bad or indifferent is totally irrelevant as to whether or not CAM is any use. An alternative to main stream medicine is not a lot of use if it is based on magic that cannot cure anything. CAM such as Homeopathy generally does absolutely nothing so in that sense it is safer than medicine which contains active ingredients. You certainly cannot die of side effects from something that has no effect of any description. I do agree that the erroneous PRECEPTION that many people have of medicine leads them to be more easily conned by snake oil sales men. I do agree that when medicine cannot cure say cancer that desperate people try all sorts of useless remedies that are readily sold to them by con artists more than willing to milk the dying for all they can.

Raymond (ILF28166)  Posted: 22/08/2005 22:27

Well, don’t know much about Homeopathy. However, there are over 600 scientific papers showing that Maharishi Ayurvedic Medicine is highly effective in preventing and treating a whole range of illnesses, both physical and mental.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 23/08/2005 08:17

Here is what Quackwatch says of Maharishi Ayurvedic Medicine http://www.quackwatch.org/04ConsumerEducation/chopra.html Do you still think that it is not magic? Can you point us to any reliable publication that supports your claim that 600 studies support Maharishi Ayurvedic Medicine? Or any published study. Do you believe that people can levitate?

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 23/08/2005 13:16

"Most of your figures are disputed," says William in relation to the Starfield paper in the JAMA, quoted by Raymond. Who exactly disputes the figures, apart from Quackwatch and Big Pharma (of course)? Do tell us, William, if you can. If you can't back up your put-downs, please put up...

Raymond (ILF28166)  Posted: 23/08/2005 13:37

There you go William http://www.tm.org/research/508_studies.html

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 23/08/2005 17:21

I'll have a root but my initial glance shows that many of these "studies" you refer to simply suggest that meditation & relaxation causes certain changes in the body. So what? We know that. When you fall asleep your pulse drops, your body temperature, brain activity etc.. Most of the studies are early 1970's such as one in Science but is too far back to be read online. Can you refer me to one that is recent that I can read on the web? You didn't answer this question, "Do you believe that people can levitate as claimed"?

Raymond (ILF28166)  Posted: 23/08/2005 20:51

Ok, Google schlolar 'Transcendental Meditation' 3,180 hits showing number of citations.

Anonymous  Posted: 24/08/2005 08:47

Hi William, Trish here. I have finally recieved some feedback froma College of Alternative medecine in the UK. Thay have provided me with some links which they claim contain a number of studies on Homeopathic medicines in the US proving that homeopathic medicines show results better than placebo. See http://nccam.nih.gov/health/homeopathy/#q7 and also http://www.holistic-online.com/Homeopathy/homeo_clinical.htm I as also told that Homeopaths point to the nearly two hundred years of clinical experience of convinced doctors and satisfied patients. Many of the clinical studies employed double blind studies, accepted by scientists. Also recent clinical trials suggest that homeopathic medicines have a positive effect on allergic rhinitis, asthma,dermatological complaints, fibrositis, influenza and migraine. I want to stress that I have had no opportunity to check the validity of these but from what I can see, your scientific training vastly exceeds mine at any rate. Would really like to hear everyones feedback on these.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 24/08/2005 11:40

Putting in "Transcendental Meditation" produces thousands of hits but then again so does UFO. Please refer me to a link, i.e. copy and paste a link to a study that shows benefit of Maharishi Ayurvedic Medicine. I might add at this point that many sCAMs have a tiny link to something that works, so TM involves someone realxing which obviously is good for someone who is stressed, that doesn't mean that TM is anything in itself. A similar point can be made about say Reflexology. People go in, relax, THINK they are being helped and come out sure they have been. Many of these people probably have problems with depression and many just think they are ill. But its a total con. The REFLEXOLOGY did nothing.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 24/08/2005 12:48

Trish, you have put your finger one important point here when you say, “your scientific training vastly exceeds mine”. People who believe in Homeopathy fall into some obvious categories; Those making money from it, non scientists, non-scientifically literate people and crackpots. Anyone with a good knowledge of Science would not believe in Homeopathy if they read up on it. To anyone with a scientific bent it is *obviously* total nonsense & a very lucrative sCAM. In the link you gave me I was amused by these comments “Have any side effects or complications been reported from the use of homeopathy”. As Homeopathy is nothing but a drop of water or sugar or alcohol it cannot have an adverse effect. To put it another way “Nothing can cause an adverse effect.” There are studies and there are studies. Many studies are done by people with a vested interest. Negative studies are often not published so if someone carries out 10 studies to show that Homeopathy works then statistically speaking 1 may show a small benefit. Presto they publish that one and not the other 9. This is an important sentence from your link, “The results of individual, controlled clinical trials of homeopathy have been contradictory. In some trials, homeopathy appeared to be no more helpful than a placebo; in other studies, some benefits were seen that the researchers believed were greater than one would expect from a placebo”. This should clearly warn you that Homeopathy at best is minor and very patchy. If someone said toss a coin and try and influence its outcome by concentrating on heads then repeat that 10 times. You could claim that in the sequence where more heads popped up you had magically succeeded in influencing the outcome. Wrong. Here is another quote from your link, and remember this is from a pro-Homeopathy website, “In sum, systematic reviews have not found homeopathy to be a definitively proven treatment for any medical condition”. The 200 years of use is irrelevant. People have been fooled for thousands of years by different beliefs and notions. Sailors who sailed the oceans thought the world was flat for thousands of years and they were sailing on it. Homeopathy was “invented” in an era before modern scientific based medicine and is not based on any scientific principals. It had declined to almost non existence until recently when it has resurfaced as part of an interest in other New Age rubbish.

Anonymous  Posted: 24/08/2005 14:55

William, I am not a scientist (I don't think I ever claimed to be - just interested) and I'm certainly not making money from alternative / complementary therapy. Am I a crackpot? Hmm - there's an amusing little theory. But thank you for the insight.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 24/08/2005 16:37

OK, so you do not make money from Homeopathy, you are not a Scientist, not a crackpot, then you must not be Scientifically literate? Am I correct?

Anonymous  Posted: 24/08/2005 16:50

No - never claimed to be scientifically literate or illiterate for that matter. As I said, just interested.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 24/08/2005 18:08

But my point is that you are "interested" in Homeopathy and think there might be merit in it BECAUSE you are not scientifically illiterate, the same as the bulk of the population. To put it bluntly, the actual reason people fall for sCAMs is that they are not scientifically literate. That is why it so easy for the sCAM Artists to take them for a ride. I might add that even those that studied some science subjects in school but haven't touched a science book since could also easily be fooled. To give you a daft example, I once met an Engineer that denied that the right hand lane on motorways was for passing out. BTW the stories you hear about Psychics helping the police are normally nonsense. They often, as an attempt to get publicity, pretend they are helping the police but generally the police pay no attention to them. Fortunately the cops aren’t as stupid as some engineers as they can normally spot a con artist a mile away. Lack of basic scientific knowledge is particularly noticeable in the way that people do not understand the nature of "studies". The man in the street thinks if there is a study announced that claims to provide evidence of something that that must mean that there is evidence. Most people do not realise that many so called studies are fraudulent and are set up solely to lend credence to some nonsense. Some “studies” are by students trying to obtain PhDs and are very poor. I know of one such study that is quoted from time to time but the student actually even failed to get the PhD that was based on the “study”. Long lists of studies are often bandied about but when one tries to get to read the studies one cannot find them. Often the study has nothing to do with the subject in the first place. Once Joe even quoted a study that actually contradicted his point! A link today did this. The link actually said that the sum of the studies showed no benefit to Homeopathy and yet the link was displayed to prove the opposite! People don’t dig deep enough and they are not sceptical enough. People generally are too gullible. sCAM Artists prey on this weakness.

Raymond (ILF28166)  Posted: 25/08/2005 00:05

A Few Articles on Transcendental Meditation (part of Maharishi Ayurvedic Medicine) in relation to Africian Americans and Hypertension 1995 American Heart Association, Inc. A Randomized Controlled Trial of Stress Reduction for Hypertension in Older African Americans Robert H. Schneider; Frank Staggers; Charles N. Alexander; William Sheppard; Maxwell Rainforth; Kofi Kondwani; Sandra Smith; Carolyn Gaylord King http://hyper.ahajournals.org/cgi/content/full/hypertensionaha;26/5/820 2000 American Heart Association, Inc. Effects of Stress Reduction on Carotid Atherosclerosis in Hypertensive African Americans Amparo Castillo-Richmond, MD; Robert H. Schneider, MD; Charles N. Alexander, PhD1; Robert Cook, MD; Hector Myers, PhD; Sanford Nidich, PhD; Chinelo Haney, MBA; Maxwell Rainforth, PhD; John Salerno, PhD http://stroke.ahajournals.org/cgi/content/full/strokeaha;31/3/568 1996 American Heart Association, Inc. Trial of Stress Reduction for Hypertension in Older African Americans II. Sex and Risk Subgroup Analysis Charles N. Alexander; Robert H. Schneider; Frank Staggers; William Sheppard; B. Mawiyah Clayborne; Maxwell Rainforth; John Salerno; Kofi Kondwani; Sandra Smith; Kenneth G. Walton; Brent Egan http://hyper.ahajournals.org/cgi/content/full/hypertensionaha;28/2/228 Psychosomatic Medicine 61:525-531 (1999) © 1999 American Psychosomatic Society Acute Effects of Transcendental Meditation1 on Hemodynamic Functioning in Middle-Aged Adults Vernon A. Barnes, PhD, Frank A. Treiber, PhD, J. Rick Turner, PhD, Harry Davis, MS and William B. Strong, MD http://www.psychosomaticmedicine.org/cgi/content/full/61/4/525

Anonymous  Posted: 25/08/2005 12:21

Wiliam, by interested - I merely meant interested in the debate, not interested in homeopathy. I've never used homeopathic remedies, tho' I know people who d and swear it benefits them. I would only consider attending an alternative practitioner of conventional medecine failed for me. Even then, I would chck out the practitioners credentials and give a wide berth to that which I would consider rather "way-out".

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 25/08/2005 12:48

The studies you referred me to generally referred to the benefits of relaxation. Not in dispute, although of limited benefit. One study compared those that practiced TM on an ongoing basis with ordinary off-the-street subjects. They found that the TM devotees fared better by the end. Well that’s hardly a surprise as they presumably can relax easier than people who do not practice a relaxation technique. I would be confident that TM is not better than say, gardening. I looked into one study in more dept and that was carried out by an employee of the “Center for Natural Medicine and Prevention, Maharishi University of Management, College of Maharishi Vedic Medicine” one Amparo Castillo-Richmond, MD. In the US in particular but also in Ireland sCAM artists regulary use the words, “College”, “University”, “International”, “Institute” etc to sound good. It is part of their scam. There are so called “International Colleges” in Ireland operating out of people’s houses. If I claim that the entire Maharishi Vedic Medicine business is a sCAM then I’m not going to be terribly impressed by someone employed by them who tries to put forward a study where any benefit would translate into more TM coaching, more TM training and of course more TM money. In other words the good doctor is seriously compromised by virtue of his obvious bias towards a good outcome. His so called “University” earns money by promoting TM. The study itself is trivial. 120 subjects took part and only half finished. However a short summary is half way down this page see http://skepdic.com/refuge/funk17.html In summary all this mumbo jumbo you have referred us to boils down to relaxing. Everyone needs to relax. You don’t need to pay a quasi religious sect big money to do that. Take up fishing.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 26/08/2005 09:51

The Lancet has just published the results of a meta study (a study of studies) that claims that Homeopathy is useless. An abstract from the editorial which is entitled, “The end of Homeopathy” says, “That homoeopathy fares poorly when compared with allopathy in Aijing Shang and colleagues' systematic evaluation is unsurprising. Of greater interest is the fact that this debate continues, despite 150 years of unfavourable findings. The more dilute the evidence for homoeopathy becomes, the greater seems its popularity [very funny WG]. For too long, a politically correct laissez-faire attitude has existed towards homoeopathy, ….. The UK Parliamentary Select Committee on Science and Technology issued a report about complementary and alternative medicine in 2000. It recommended “any therapy that makes specific claims for being able to treat specific conditions should have evidence of being able to do this above and beyond the placebo effect”. …the Swiss Government, after a 5-year trial, has now withdrawn insurance coverage for homoeopathy and four other complementary treatments because they did not meet efficacy and cost-effectiveness criteria. …..than do spurious arguments of putative benefits from absurd dilutions. ….. Now doctors need to be bold and honest with their patients about Homoeopathy's lack of benefit ….

Raymond (ILF28166)  Posted: 26/08/2005 20:51

Transcendental Meditation is way more than just a relaxation technique. Its an effective tool for one to reach cosmic consciousness and other higher states of consciousness.

Raymond (ILF28166)  Posted: 26/08/2005 20:53

Re: Maharishi Vedic Medicine business is a sCAM Any proof?

Raymond (ILF28166)  Posted: 26/08/2005 20:55

Mahrishi University of Management is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission • www.ncacihe.org

Anonymous  Posted: 28/08/2005 09:12

Dear William I recognise this is a site for lay people to express their views but perhaps it is time you learnt to do a bit of research before you produce your pompous and innaccurate knowledge of a subject you prove clearly to have no experience or understanding of other than what is said in the papers

Lynda (homoeo)  Posted: 28/08/2005 10:16

William states that the Swiss government has withdrawn insurance for Homoeopaths. This is innaccurate - the trails were commissioned by the federal office of public health in Switzerland to find out if Homoeopathy should be part of a SOCIAL INSURANCE PACKAGE Homoeopaths are still insured in Switzerland and no doubt will continue to be as Europe has use this safe gentle and effective treatment for over 200 years now. Lynda R.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 29/08/2005 10:24

Raymond I don’t have to disprove TM, you have to prove there is such a thing as “cosmic consciousness”. Anon of the 9:12. Your post is only a generalisation. What post have I made that is “inaccurate”. Your claim that I only know what is published in the newspapers is factually inaccurate. The Lancet which I quoted isn’t a newspaper, nor are the books I read, the documentaries I watch or magazines I take. Furthermore I use my own name and don’t insult people behind a veil of anonymity. Lynda, if a private business takes your insurance money and pays for Homeopathy treatment, it presumably only does so to make a profit. That profit motive hardly confers evidence that Homeopathy works no more than the profit motive behind the selling of Homeopathy does. In fact the taking of insurance money from people to cover Homeopathic & other sCAM treatments is also clearly fraud. Homeopathy may be “gentle” but that is because it is nothing & does nothing. Where it is dangerous, and has been tragically shown to be dangerous, is when gullible people stop taking their proper medicine, switch to sCAM magic remedies and die as has happened in Ireland recently. I notice none of the posters addressed the serious challenge that The Lancet article & editorial has to Homeopathy which should now be made illegal as it is a sCAM and the government has a duty to protect the vulnerable from fraud.

Raymond (ILF28166)  Posted: 29/08/2005 18:07

William it would be a tall order for anybody to disprove TM considering that studies have been conducted at over 210 different universities and research institutions in 27 countries through out the world, and articles have now appeared in more than 100 scientific journals. http://www.tm.org/research/home.html I'll get onto the cosmic consciousness part at a later date. Too busy atm with my studies. In short, cosmic consciousness is where one experiences inner silence (transcendence, pure being etc.) during other modes of consciousness i.e. waking, dreaming or sleeping.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 29/08/2005 18:32

What is the meaning of the word "cosmic" in the phrase? Are you seriously trying to tell us TM isn’t magic? One of the few "studies" you referred us to was from an organisation that makes *all* its money from TM. Not much of a reference is it? Turkey's voting for Christmas springs to mind. In fact it wasn't much of a study was it? 120 people, 60 who dropped out. TM practitioner’s v people taken in off the street! And that was the best you could do from 600+ studies you boasted about. Farcical! What are your own studies as a matter of interest?

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 31/08/2005 20:45

I note that the supporters of sCAM have stayed silent since the Lancet expose of the con called, homeopathy. How many times does the rational argument have to be repeated that 'water' is not medicine and while it will slake a thirst it will not 'cure' all illnesses that the sCAM merchants claim. I suppose some suckers will still buy homeopathic products. After all some people still think the earth is flat.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 01/09/2005 14:37

I met some people in Mississippi last year that actually thought that the Sun goes around the Earth. The silence on this thread from those that sell Homeopathy and in particular Pharmacists that sell it knowing full well it is total nonsense is deafening. Where are the Pharmacists or representatives of their organisation to explain why medically qualified people are conning their customers? How much profit is made every year in Ireland in licenced Pharmacies out of selling snake oil? Have these people no morals, no professional ethics, no shame? Is taking money off of sick and silly customers what they were taught in College? Is that why you need so many points to get into Pharmacy? They make me sick!

Anonymous  Posted: 01/09/2005 15:22

William, I have a rash onboth of my insteps. It happens almost every summer and I use, on my Dr;s' advice, OTC treatment to ease the itching stinging sensation until it clears up (usualy taks 3 weeks). At the weekend, I was given a natural gel product containing Tea tree, arnica and calendula, given and recommended by my aunt. Just for the heck of it, I used it on my right instep and used the OTC treatment on the other. Amazingly, the rash has almost cleared up on my right instep and the left one remains sore, itching and weeping!! I don't have any type of control subject as I don't have the rash anywhere else (and I do not have third foot :-). I just thought it was a very interestign outcome to note. BTW she also gave me homeopathic sulphur tablets, which from what I coudl see containd very very little sulphur. These, I DID NOT TAKE as I didn't see the point. Trish.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 01/09/2005 17:33

I very much doubt that Sulphur would be of any use and none of it would certainly do nothing. The “experiment” you did is interesting. However, no conclusions whatsoever can be drawn from such a tiny sample as two feet. It could well be that the gel helped because it moisturised the skin and the OTC made it worse because it had active ingredients that reacted negatively. Alternatively the right foot just healed by itself sooner than the left foot. Try the experiment for the next few hundred years/summers, varying the foot, the medication etc and we may be able to draw some conclusions. No news on any Quality Control for the Homeopathy? Just because you apply a treatment and the outcome is good does in no way whatsoever prove the treatment and the outcome are related. This doesn’t strike most people as sensible but that is the way the universe actually works. In fact had the right foot got worse and the left better you probably would have also incorrectly assumed the OTC worked and the gel didn’t. Good Science can only draw conclusions when there are statistically significant correlations and you can’t have statistically significant correlations with two feet. PS Tell your Aunt to stop wasting her money on Homeopathy. Ask her to read the Lancet article. At the risk of bringing the entire feminist movement down on top of me, I do suspect that a lot of this belief in alternative remedies is mainly a woman’s thing. When I made this comment to my wife she pointed out that the con artists though were invariably men. I know of no man who buys Homeopathy but several women who do. Women seem to be more religious as well. A bit bizarre when you consider how the church treats them. A bit like the black people in the US who adopted the same religion of their slave owning masters.

Anonymous  Posted: 02/09/2005 12:33

I would delighted to they the experiment for the next hunded years if I thought I was goign to be around that long. It was not that the foot treated with OTC got worse, it remained the same and funnily enough I've never before had a situation where one foot healed faster than the other! No - still no news on the QC. Oh the lancet article - did you not know that that's conspiracy between doctors and the pharmaceutical giants against natural therapies. I kid you not, this is what she told me. As for the homeopathic tablets she's convinced they help everythign from stress to respiratory infections.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 03/09/2005 00:25

It's easy to be provoked by William & JohnWilliams' insulting remarks above. They really need to look for a beam in their own eye. For example, they support fluoridation, which (as I pointed out above -- 21/05/2005) is alternative medicine. Yet there is no evidence that fluoridation is safe. I repeat, NO EVIDENCE that fluoridation is safe. I have asked William and many other people to find any such evidence, but they cannot. I also asked William (23/08/2005): Who disputes the figures in the Starfield paper in the JAMA? Again, no answer. William, if you cannot answer straightforward questions about your own claims, why should we take any of your comments seriously?

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 04/09/2005 09:40

Some interesting letters about CAM in The Observer today -- see http://observer.guardian.co.uk/letters/story/0,6903,1562384,00.html For example: "As a television producer, I have made films on both conventional and homeopathic medicine. One that helped convince many sceptics was the story of Chris Day, a homeopathic vet from Oxford, who enjoyed great success treating a wide range of animals. In his work, it was obvious that no placebo affected the outcome." All those clever animals, joining in the conspiracy to "defraud the public". What a wonderful world!

Anonymous  Posted: 05/09/2005 09:48

William, I also posted (but for soem reason it was rejected last time) that if, in your experience, more women believe in Homepathy and more women also beleive in religion of various kinds, do you think this means we have greater powers of belief in things we have no evience for or that we are merely suggestible? Also I am wondering if this is due to the differences in upbringing between boys and girls or something in the chemical nature of being female. If you suspect the latter, i will have to ask for proof? No feminist outrage intended :-) Trish.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 05/09/2005 12:58

I don't know why women seem to be more susceptible to voodoo and magic. Presumably it's in their DNA.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 05/09/2005 13:11

Joe, the placebo effect, as I have to keep reminding people, is when people THINK they have got better, not that they actually have. Give a group of people a sugar pill, tell them it is a new super drug and tell them that it will “boost their energy” and overall they will think it has. It hasn’t. If a stupid farmer THINKS Homeopathy has cured his cow then that is an example of the placebo effect. In other words the placebo effect is occurring in the farmer’s head and not the cow’s. So Ed Skelding’s letter is logically flawed. Anyway why should a film director’s opinion of CAM be relevant? Most of them purposely lie, exaggerate and in their documentaries to kick up a fuss, just like most journalists. The truth is the last thing most of them are interested in. I laughed at the letter suggesting that people visit Glastonbury in England where they issue CAM on the NHS. Glastonbury is the centre of the New Age movement. There is even a “shop” on the main street run by the Archangel Gabriel who will re-balance your energies in his pyramid. Not one of the letters Joe referred us to provided even a sliver of evidence that CAM works, only that there are gullible people in Glastonbury, Newcastle upon Tyne, Devizes and Dorset. But then we knew that already.

Anonymous  Posted: 05/09/2005 15:57

William, if women are more susceptible to a belief in lternative Meds, why do you believe it's due to their DNA (NATURE) rather than their upbringing - nurture?

william (billyralph)  Posted: 05/09/2005 15:59

Ah William the effect is not in the 'stupid farmers head' its in the tits of the cows.I'm assuming the homeopathic effect in animals refers to the landmark paper on mastitis rates in cattle-can one 'think 'that a tit is red ,swollen and discharging pus-what a funny placebo effect.From your statements on the placebo effect amoung other subjects you have taken a very simplistic view of what palcebo actully means. Referring back to a previous message when you stated that homeopathy researchers do lots of studies and only publish the positive ones-I think William you are referring to big pharma research ,they commision multiple studies and publish only those that favour their products-science-how are ye? Yes homeopathic remedies do harm people technically they are called aggravations-see Bandolier's article re negative effects of homeopathy. The Lancet's article will have done nothing to stop the practice of homeopathy but what it will and should do is cause practitioners to stop and reflect on their practice once again-all part of the life long learning process.Any comments William-go on give it your best shot!!!!

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 06/09/2005 11:01

Billyralph, wrong again. We are discussing a letter from a film director who claims that the explanation for any apparent improvement cannot be the placebo effect because we are dealing with cows. My point is that the film director’s entire letter/argument is flawed as the placebo effect is in the mind of the farmer and not the cow. Therefore the placebo effect still can exist when treating animals. By coincidence the other night I saw the tail end of a badly made documentary about Homeopathy that interviewed a vet and a farmer and they were discussing Homeopathy and Mastitis. The vet admitted that he had only done “farm trials” and that he had not been able to get them published. I wonder why? Presumably like all so called studies that show Homeopathy to have some effect they were badly done. The farmer made an interesting comment when he said that he was all for Homeopathy as opposed to antibiotics as with antibiotics the milk from the cow could not be used until the antibiotics course was finished. In other words the motivation for the farmer was saving money. This was his only comment. The recent Lancet article showed a very interesting correlation between the likelihood of a study showing Homeopathy worked and the quality of the study. If the study showed that Homeopathy worked it also correlated with the fact that the study was badly done. When the badly done studies were eliminated Homeopathy showed no benefit. The implications for this are obvious, only badly done studies show Homeopathy to work. Therefore it doesn’t. Reputable journals are now demanding that they be informed of studies before they are started so this will help solve the problem of the missing negative studies. Whatever you think of Big Pharma, it has no bearing whatsoever on whether Homeopathy works. That perception can indeed supply “marketing” drive for Homeopathy but not that it is any use. As for learning…. Learning and Homeopathy and all CAM are poles apart. “Learning” and knowledge dismiss CAM totally. The reason women are different from men is primarily in the DNA that is expressed in them as opposed to men, that's why.

Anonymous  Posted: 06/09/2005 14:33

Willima, do you totally refute the unbringing (nurture) side of the argument? Trish.

Anonymous  Posted: 06/09/2005 14:35

William, yes the objective for the farmer was in making money. Perhapos I am mistaken but I thoiught that the objective for all businesses was to make money. Otherwise we would all them charities, not busineses.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 06/09/2005 17:42

Trish, certainly not. But the primary cause of who we are is in our genes. Even where nurture is relevant it is also associated with the genes. If you think about it, it must be so. All our traits evolved, how else could they have got here? Evolution only works on genes. Of course business is there to make money. The fact that this was the main concern of the farmer explains his bias against antibiotics. When people make biased judgements we cannot accept them. The strength of science is that it is not biased.

Raymond (ILF28166)  Posted: 06/09/2005 18:05

William, I gave you a web page indicating over 600 independent scientific studies on TM. You can use the search engine 'google scholar' to find which ones are online. Check them out. My studies is a PhD in the properties of clays and lignite.

Raymond (ILF28166)  Posted: 06/09/2005 18:14

Re: Sun goes around the Earth It all depends on where the observer is situated. You do know that both bodies are moving, and that the solar system is a very small part of the ever expanding universe.

Raymond (ILF28166)  Posted: 06/09/2005 18:21

Just Say No Robert Langreth, 11.29.04 Do you really need all those prescriptions pills you are popping? Maybe not. There's a backlash building against the cost, risk and side effects of medication, and it's bad news for the pharmaceutical industry. Wesley Miller was a walking medicine cabinet after undergoing triple-bypass surgery in 1994. By late 2001 he was on 16 drugs, including Lipitor for high cholesterol, Glucotrol for diabetes and three pills to lower his blood pressure. He couldn't walk from his front doorstep to the mailbox without doubling over in chest pain. At one point tests showed the blockages were back and that his arteries were too damaged to risk another operation. He thought he might die. http://www.forbes.com/execpicks/forbes/2004/1129/102.html

william (billyralph)  Posted: 06/09/2005 19:49

Do you read the messages William or do you just react to the first lines?C.Day the researcher I assumed you referred to did publish the work,so once again nothing to do with with 'stupid farmer','money' or perceived placebo effect.Animals either do well or they don't when treated they don't feel commercial or social pressures to conform.You either have mastitis or you don't-have you ever seen a case of mastitis human or animal-not much to ponder over really-but I forgot you have no clinical experience whatsoever yet you happily pontificate and pour scorn on the majority of mere mortals who struggle with the day to day trials of life.

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 06/09/2005 22:32

William Grogan is absolutely correct about pharmacists selling homeopathic products knowing full well that they are nothing more than mumbo-jumbo. The Pharmaceutical Society should issue a statement declaring it unethical to con the public by selling sCAM products. Better still, all the ethical bodies associated with all health professionals should issue a combined statement on the use of or recommendations by their members of homeopathic products, to be unethical. This would clear the air once and for all about the legitimacy of homeopathy. Regarding homeopathy in veterinary medicine, the only reason that it is being used in the minute quantities that it is, is because it can be bought without a vets prescription and some farmers, especially if the animal's condition is not serious, will give a cheap and easily available product a try.

Anonymous  Posted: 07/09/2005 11:33

Actually, Raymond - yes, I do need all the medications I currently take. Iron - due to a side effect of an elective medical procedure. Chromium for cortisol control (helping to avoid having to take statins later on) Progestogen as birth control Vitamin B12 due to diagnosed low B12 levels Eltroxin due to a an auto-immune related thyroid problem. I wouldn't trust anythig hat has not been documented as tried an tested to treat any of these conditions. The medication keeps well and I feel a heck of a lot better taking it than when I didn't. E.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 07/09/2005 12:53

Raymond, I hope you apply more rigorous scientific analysis to your PhD then you do to your magic beliefs. You clearly gave us several specific studies to look at and I did look into one in particular. It was a very poor small scale biased study for the detailed reasons I already posted here. Lists of studies prove nothing. You should learn from the Lancet’s latest meta study that showed that when all studies on Homeopathy are taken into account some show a benefit but when the dubious ones, the ones that use to small a sample, that are not truly double blind, that do not use a control, etc.. are omitted that no evidence remains. In other words there is often a correlation between positive studies and poorly carried out studies. Surly by now you realise that many studies are done by those with a vested interested and one of your half dozen hand picked studies from the 600 you mentioned was by someone working for an organisation that would collapse tomorrow morning if his studies proved that TM was bunkum. If that’s not bias I don’t know what is. Raymond, the Earth orbits the Sun accordingly to well known laws of gravity postulated by Mr Newton & Mr Einstein. The position of the observer is not relevant. Billyralph, I never said that your reference to published studies on Mastitis was the same as that referred to in the documentary I saw. The vet I saw clearly stated that he couldn’t get his “study” published. Regarding John’s comments on farmers. I know a farmer and she was giving out stink last week about the vet costs. Farming is so poorly rewarded today that vet fees and their drugs are a major problem. All this does thought is force farmers into trying quack remedies. In other words the reason quack remedies may be popular with some farmers is not because they know they work, it’s just that they HOPE they work. This HOPE is the basis of the placebo effect. One important point about anyone taking medicine under medical supervision is that the individual medicines are known in detail and their reaction with one another. Unlike quack cures a medicine generally contains just one active chemical.

Raymond (ILF28166)  Posted: 07/09/2005 15:39

A statistical meta-analysis conducted at Stanford University of all available studies-146 independent outcomes-indicated that the effect of the Transcendental Meditation program on reducing anxiety as a character trait was much greater than that of all other meditation and relaxation techniques, including muscle relaxation. This analysis also showed that the positive Transcendental Meditation result could not be attributed to subject expectation, experimenter bias, or quality of research design. Differential effects of relaxation techniques on trait anxiety: A meta-analysis, Journal of Clinical Psychology 45: 957­974, 1989. The Stanford University Campus Report, April4, 1990 http://tm.org/news/stanford_u.html

Raymond (ILF28166)  Posted: 07/09/2005 15:41

Anonymous Posted: 07/09/2005 11:33 Perhaps you do, and I wish you the best of health.

Raymond (ILF28166)  Posted: 07/09/2005 15:47

Clinician's Research Digest, Briefings in Behavioral Science May 1990 Volume 8, Number 5 Journal Articles TM-A Superior Relaxation Technique for TraitAnxiety: Transcendental meditation (TM),a widely studied, standardized mental procedure introduced by MaharishiMahesh Yogi, is significantly more effective than other forms of meditationor somatic relaxation techniques in reducing trait anxiety. In a broad,detailed review and synthesis of the empirical literature, Eppley et al.categorized treatments as either progressive muscular relaxation, otherrelaxation, TM, or other meditation. All four types of treatment significantlyreduced anxiety, but TM was the most beneficial. The difference between TM and the other treatments increased with time. This finding was sustainedin studies using random assignment to treatment and in studies by researchers without pro-TM allegiance. It was borne out when possible confounding factors(population, duration, attrition, and follow-up hours) were accounted for. Placebo effects (e.g. attention or suggestion) appear not to account forthe result. One possible explanation for TM's apparent superiority is its greater success in bringing about a more effortless, spontaneous practicethan other forms of meditation. Only studies that used the Spielberger State-TraitAnxiety Inventory or the Taylor Manifest Anxiety Scale were included in this meta-analysis. More research is needed to assess the comparative effectivenessof TM and other techniques on other outcomes, such as behavioral, performance,and physiological measures. Summary of Eppley, K.R.; Abrams, A.I; &Shear, J. (1989). Differential effects of relaxation techniques on traitanxiety: A meta-analysis, Journal of Clinical Psychology, Vol. 45,957-974, in Clinician's Research Digest, 1990, Volume 8, Number 5. Copyright1990 by the American Psychological Association. Reproduced with permission. http://tm.org/news/clinic_research.html

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 08/09/2005 11:04

I was texted this: Did you hear about the Homeopath who forgot to take his medicine? He died of an overdose.

Anonymous  Posted: 09/09/2005 13:54

William, I simply don't understand your last posting. How could a homeopath forgetting to take his medecine die of an overdose?

william (billyralph)  Posted: 09/09/2005 15:20

Allow me to answer that one for you William-the more dilute a solution is,theoretically,the more potent it is,therefore if taking absolutely nothing the potency must be infinitely strong hence the outcome-death by OD!

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 09/09/2005 15:52

Raymond. I already dismissed your selection of the best 6 of 600 listings, so u can't keep up referring me to dubious websites including TM ones. Behavioural “Science” is very dodgy at the best of times so pay little attention to that either. The Yogi’s religion you refer to was a hippy trend in the 60’s but the 60’s and the Beatles have moved on, so should you. I’m not saying relaxing is useless, we all need to relax but sitting there mumbling secret words is probably no better than going for a nice walk in the woods or for the really stressed out - fishing. Btw, you never answered my question, The Yogi said he could levitate. Do you believe him? They even released photos of Yogi followers apparently levitating presumably during TM, do you think they were faked?

Anonymous  Posted: 12/09/2005 08:55

And I thought Yogi was the name of bear in a childrens cartoon of the 80's. Just goes to show you learn something new every day

Raymond (ILF28166)  Posted: 14/09/2005 13:44

william, any scientific proof that Transcendental Meditation is probably no better than fishing? Do you sell fishing rods for a living, lol?

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 14/09/2005 17:39

One can relax by doing many different things, fishing, sport, walking, knitting or TM (although boring as it is I'd prefer fishing to TM and it costs less). Raymond, why don't you answer my questions re levitation?

Raymond (ILF28166)  Posted: 14/09/2005 18:23

William, I'm still looking for scientific proof (not your opinion) that TM is no different than fishing. Here is the abstract from J Clin Psychol. 1989 Nov;45(6):957-74.taht shows that TM is superior to other relaxation techniques on trait anxiety. Differential effects of relaxation techniques on trait anxiety: a meta-analysis. Eppley KR, Abrams AI, Shear J. Hand and computer searches located studies on the effects of relaxation techniques on trait anxiety. Effect sizes for the different treatments (e.g., Progressive Relaxation, EMG Biofeedback, various forms of meditation, etc.) were calculated. Most of the treatments produced similar effect sizes except that Transcendental Meditation had significantly larger effect size (p less than .005), and meditation that involved concentration had significantly smaller effect. Correlations with effect size were calculated for many variables, e.g., population, age, sex, experimental design, duration and hours of treatment, pretest anxiety, demand characteristics, experimenter attitude, type of publication, attrition, etc. Only a few variables (mainly population, duration, hours, and attrition) significantly influenced effect size. Controlling for possible confounding variables did not alter the overall conclusions. The difference in effect size between treatments was maintained both when only published studies were included and when only the studies with the strongest design were included. Possible explanations for the findings are examined. MeSH Terms: Anxiety/psychology Anxiety/therapy* Arousal* Comparative Study Follow-Up Studies Humans Meta-Analysis Muscle Relaxation Personality Tests Relaxation Techniques* http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=2693491&dopt=Citation

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 15/09/2005 14:04

Raymond. Levitation?

william (billyralph)  Posted: 15/09/2005 17:56

Typical William pick on one anomalous aspect of a subject in the desperate attempt to discredit the whole subject-have you had a good look at orthodox medicine-every 'depression' treated with antidepressants,every musculoskeletal pain treated with nsaids,ECT to mention but a few of the wonderfully useless beliefs that orthodox medicine has.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 16/09/2005 14:11

Wrong again Billy. Your "one anomalous aspect", is a claim by the TM organisation that they can levitate by using TM. This is obviously fraud. Then their "researchers" make other claims as per Raymond's references to their "studies". Any researcher or institute that makes fraudulent and outrageous claims cannot be believed in anything they do or say, can they?

Raymond (ILF28166)  Posted: 22/09/2005 21:33

MBBS cover for yoga, ayurveda Wednesday, September 21, 2005, New Delhi: The MBBS curriculum is set to get a facelift — with the inclusion of ayurveda, yoga and some other traditional alternative medicine sciences. The integration of the sciences will be a part of the review and overhauling of the MBBS curriculum to be carried out shortly. Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss told HT: “The present curriculum has become completely outdated. There are new diseases and there are new treatments. All these need to be included in the curriculum. The new syllabus will be more practical.” http://indiamonitor.com/news/readNews.jsp?ni=8753

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 25/09/2005 21:38

Raymond, you are clearly refusing to answer my question on leviation. As reagrds Indian politicians: The President of India some few years ago, a Mr Reddy, told parliment, in response to a query, that the Ganges river was not poluted (which it clearly is) because it was a "holy" river. So please don't quote them to me.

Anonymous  Posted: 26/09/2005 15:04

Billy, there is nothing whatsoever wrong with antidepressants and nsadis when used apropriately are perfectly useful. I would be very disturbed to think that if I attended you with an injury that required NSAIDs, tha tthey would be refused to me.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 26/09/2005 17:44

Raymond. The Indian Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss that you quoted is also the President of a Homeopathy organisation. He is a big fan of CAM. I cannot see where he got his title of Doctor from. I cannot see that he is a medical doctor. I read him quoted on the recent Lancet article/study that rubbished Homeopathy and he claimed that he would get the Indian Government to sponsor research that would prove it worked. So lets wait and see. Levitation?

Raymond (ILF28166)  Posted: 26/09/2005 22:38

HIV management By PATSY KAM ONE of the biggest obstacles in the battle against HIV/AIDS is the high cost and scarcity of many essential drugs, especially in Africa and Asia. Understandably, the poor will turn to low-cost remedies for HIV-related illnesses. In Uganda, there is one doctor for every 20,000 people. This compares with one traditional health practitioner (THP) per 200 to 400 people. So it is only inevitable that people suffering from AIDS should turn to THPs for treatment. “Traditional health practitioners can play an important role in delivering an AIDS prevention message,’’ said Prof Gerard Bodeker from University of Oxford Medical School, Britain. Full article: http://thestar.com.my/lifestyle/story.asp?file=/2005/9/26/lifefocus/12042507&sec=lifefocus

Raymond (ILF28166)  Posted: 26/09/2005 22:46

New standards for ayurvedic drugs soon Sunday, 25 September , 2005, 08:24 New Delhi: Following the warnings issued by health regulators in the UK and Canada, the Health Ministry is putting in place basic parameters for companies manufacturing ayurvedic and unani products. It is planning to set heavy metal limits for these products. The presence of heavy metals in certain ayurvedic products had led Health Canada and Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) of the UK to advise consumers not to use them. They had said that many of the products might contain mercury and arsenic, and cause severe nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. http://sify.com/finance/fullstory.php?id=13948008

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 29/09/2005 20:43

Here's what mothers who use CAM instead of medicine can do to their daughters. AIDS kills child of prominent HIV denialist. The danger of denying that the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the causal agent of AIDS has been spotlighted by the sudden death of 3-year-old Eliza Jane Maggiore of Van Nuys, California, during a bout of AIDS-related pneumonia. Eliza's mother, Christine Maggiore, who is HIV-positive, runs Alive & Well AIDS Alternatives, a nonprofit organization which falsely proclaims that (a) most of the AIDS information the public receives is based on unsubstantiated assumptions, unfounded estimates, and improbable predictions and (b) the symptoms associated with AIDS are treatable with "non-toxic, immune enhancing therapies." Detection and medical management of infected pregnant women have dramatically reduced the reported incidence of HIV/AIDS in children under age 13 from 952 in 1992 to only 59 in 2003. But according to the Los Angeles Times, Maggiore refused treatment for herself, delivered Eliza Jane at home, breast-fed the child, and never had her tested for HIV. [Ornstein C, Costello D. A mother's denial, a daughter's death. Los Angeles Times, Sept 24, 2005] http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/la-me-eliza24sep24,1,1546664.story Raymond your second post contradicts your opinion that CAM is harmless. Levitation? TM Fraud?

Raymond (ILF28166)  Posted: 01/10/2005 19:36

Yogic Flying "Yogic Flying" is learned as a part of the TM-Sidhi program. Over 100,000 people have learned Yogic Flying, and like Transcendental Meditation its benefits are practical, holistic, and scientifically validated. For instance, EEG studies show that during Yogic Flying, at the moment when the body lifts up, coherence is maximum in brain wave activity. When "Yogic Flying" is practiced in groups, this influence spreads throughout the environment, reducing negative tendencies and promoting positive, harmonious trends throughout society. These results are easily reproducible and have been extensively validated through rigorous, peer-review published, scientific research. The physical manifestations of the "Yogic Flying" vary with the practitioner. The Yoga Sutras of Mahrishi Patanjali describes three stages of immediately visible results. Stage One is generally associated with what would best be described as "hopping like a frog." Stage Two is flying through the air for a short time. Stage Three is complete mastery of the sky. Photos and all "Yogic Flying" demonstrations to date depict Stage One results. No one can predict when or if "Yogic Flyers" will ever get beyond this Stage One physical manefestation. It really does not matter as the effect on society from group practice has been shown to happen as long as this meditation procedure is practiced effectively. It behoves any lover of life or believer in science to throughly investigate the effects of this technique and implement these proven techniques for bring peace http://www.alltm.org/YFlying.html

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 04/10/2005 12:42

Raymond, I think your true colours are now exposed. To say that by meditation one can defeat the laws of gravity and fly is so absurd as to be laughable. Furthermore it clearly demonstrates that when you say things like, “scientifically validated” or refer to “scientific studies” that show evidence for your “beliefs” that we can now safely ignore them. The photos showing TM Flying are faked. The person is just hopping and is no more flying that anyone who jumps up and has his photo taken in mid air. Please stop using the word science in your future postings and use the correct word – magic. I am telling you straight up that you are seriously deluded . This shows how dangerous these cults are. Billy Ralph, have you any comments on this? This is where “alternative” thinking leads people. Do you and your fellow CAM supporters feel any shame that you encourage this rubbish?

william (billyralph)  Posted: 04/10/2005 19:43

'This is where 'alternative' thinking leads people'-do me a favour!All roads lead to Rome-is that it?Don't discuss sex or everybody will want to do it everywhere!Once again the lack of sophistication and training in your arguments is sadly exposed with that preposterous statement.Yogic flying has absolutely nothing to do with many of the well validated complimentary therapies so ignornantly challenged in these threads.You're really having to dig deep to continue your challenge to anything 'alternative'-lets include 'foreign' foods,black people,gay marraige,sex selection in ivf,tatooing-where do you want to stop with your view of the world?

Raymond (ILF28166)  Posted: 04/10/2005 21:39

William, you didn't read my post properly. Your too much of an reactions. Give you a hint 'Stage 1'

Raymond (ILF28166)  Posted: 04/10/2005 22:05

Scientific Research on the Group Prractice of TM Sidhi Programme Nearly 50 scientific research studies conducted over the past 25 years verify the unique effect and wide-ranging benefits to the nation produced by the Maharishi Effect. These studies have used the most rigorous research methods and evaluation procedures available in the social sciences, including time series analysis, which controls for weekly and seasonal cycles or trends in social data. The research confirms that the group practice of the Maharishi Technology of the Unified Field, including Yogic Flying, by as few as the square root of one per cent of the population of the society is sufficient to create an immediate change towards harmony and positivity in the whole society. http://www.worldpeaceendowment.org/invincibility/invincibility13.html Table II. Maharishi Effect Papers and Presentations http://www.subcontinent.com/sapra/military/tableii.html “I think the claim can be plausibly made that the potential impact of this research exceeds that of any other ongoing social or psychological research program. It has survived a broader array of statistical tests than most research in the field of conflict resolution. This work and the theory that informs it deserve the most serious consideration by academics and policy makers alike.” David Edwards Ph.D., Professor of Government, University of Texas at Austin. Support from Independent Scholars: http://proposal.permanentpeace.org/support.html

Anonymous  Posted: 05/10/2005 10:13

Billy Ralph, while have no problem with foreign foods, black people or gay marraige, I do have a problem with sex selection in ivf. It leads those cultured which already favour one sex over another to deliberately deselect the non-preferred gender prior to implantation and furthers their mindset towards sex-bias. Ths will not lad to an equal world we all (I hope) strive for.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 05/10/2005 10:48

All roads do lead to Rome if people suspend critical thinking. Once someone accepts fantastic claims without evidence then they are susceptible to being conned, deluded, sickened and yes even dying from all sorts of sCAMs. Raymond claims Yogic Flying is “well validated”, you claim Homeopathy is “well validated” but the Lancet’s article upon examining the literature utterly dismissed Homeopathy. The “well validated” scientific literature that supports Homeopathy and Magical Flying is fraud and put out in the main by those trying to sCAM people. As for you generalisations, I eat Indian food about 3 times a week, I eat Chinese and also Italian and French, not to mention other “foreign foods”. I love Blues, the music of black America and detest racialism, I support the rights of gay people to marry also the rights of parents to determine the genes of their offspring to prevent disease and in some cases their sex. I personally would not get a tattoo but if people want them, no problem. When you read of the death of the 3 year old girl last week in the US because her silly mother pursued CAM treatments for HIV infection, the attack on vaccination by Joe and his ilk which has reduced the number of children protected from deadly diseases, the death of another 3 year old from a botched circumcision, the death of several people in Ireland in the last year because they switched from medicine to sCAM and when you read about the young lives ruined by cults do you not see that your pursuit of sCAM encourages people to believe in irrational, unscientific, unproven and dangerous delusions? There is a connection. If someone cannot think rationally their lives and the lives of their children are at risk.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 05/10/2005 11:26

Raymond, your TM group claims on the website you referred to that, “Yogic Flying, by as few as the square root of one per cent of the population of the society is sufficient to create an immediate change towards harmony and positivity in the whole society”. You are associated with the so called Natural Law Party. A political party that thinks we can bring about world peace by meditating. The votes your party gets shows what the voters think of such utter nonsense!

Anonymous  Posted: 05/10/2005 14:45

And William, the majority of voters in they U.S. this year showed who they think is a good leader. Need I say more. Incidentally, why do you support the idea that parents hsould be able to dtermoine the sex of their children - and therefore further propound that cultural sexism already endemic in some cultures and religions.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 05/10/2005 16:14

I have spoken to many Americans as to why they voted for Bush and they say 1/ they voted for the policies of his party and not the man and 2/ Kerry was a poor candidate (as was Gore in my opinion). US citizens do not like "big government" and they rate that more highly than the intelligence or otherwise of their president. Bush and Gore got approximately 50% of the vote, what did the Natural law Party get in the US election? They had a presidential candidate there. The Natural Law Party also have put up candidates in Ireland who get as many votes as the Monster Raving Looney Party. The bulk of the readers of this website do not think that by meditating one can fly. In fact anyone that seriously believes that probably needs psychiatric treatment. There *are* such people as quacks. Quacks & deluded people believe that comets have come take them away and commit suicide as happened some years ago. Quacks think that the leader of their cult is Jesus, Waco Texas. I could give other examples. My very point is that such dangerous cults including in my opinion, Scientologists, should be outlawed to prevent them destroying the lives of vulnerable people. Raymond is discredited in the eyes of the vast majority of readers here because he claims “scientific evidence” for TM and Magical Flying. We know that no one can fly by meditating so we can discount Raymond when he claims “scientific validity”. This is what “discredited” means. I said "in certain circumstances" for example there have been cases where only a baby boy would ensure a child that would allow an existing sibling to be treated with a transfusion from his new brother and have his life saved. These are difficult ethical matters but the law has found in favour of parents in such cases.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 05/10/2005 23:16

William (williamgrogan) wrote above (16/09/2005): "Any researcher or institute that makes fraudulent and outrageous claims cannot be believed in anything they do or say, can they?" Apart from William's frequently repeated claims that fluoridation is safe (there is no evidence), I want to refer back to a seriously misleading claim he posted on 07/09/2005. William wrote: "One important point about anyone taking medicine under medical supervision is that the individual medicines are known in detail and their reaction with one another." That is clearly untrue. In most cases it is impossible for the prescribing doctor to know "their reaction with one another". It is obvious: there are so many drugs being prescribed, and so many being prescribed simultaneously. And the pharmaceutical companies have done very little testing of different drugs' interactions. I'll illustrate this point with a letter I had published in March 2004 in the Irish Medical News. I was responding to an article warning about the "risks" of herbal medicines. Needless to say, no one challenged this letter: Dear Irish Medical News, Permit me a sardonic laugh at Dr Sally Walsh’s warning about herbal medicines: "we need to be aware that some herbal medicines have potentially serious side-effects and can interact with prescribed medications." (IMN 15/03/04). Such concern for patients on the part of doctors would be welcome were it not for the fact that nearly every Irish doctor blithely prescribes multiple simultaneous drugs for a patient with hardly a thought for their interaction and synergistic effects. This applies particularly to older patients. For example, when my father was dying of an incurable disease, he was taking daily, for months, no fewer than 16 prescribed drugs. Did the drugs have serious side-effects? Of course they did. What sort of interactions were going on? Who knows? I know one thing: nobody ever tested those drugs in combination. I wish my father had confined himself to herbal medicines. I note that, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association, it is estimated that 770,000 hospital patients suffer adverse reactions from taking properly prescribed drugs in the prescribed doses, and there are 140,000 deaths attributable to properly prescribed prescription drugs, in one year, in the US alone! The medical-pharmaceutical establishment’s efforts to outlaw herbal medicines and high-dose vitamins smack of seeing only the mote in your brother’s eye. Sincerely, -- Joseph Thornton

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 06/10/2005 12:05

One thing I would like to know is how much people are paying for CAM. How much is a bottle of Homeopathic "medicine". How much is an Acupuncture, Reflexology or Rekki session? Also how often do people attend these "treatments", weekly, monthly etc. How much in say the last year have you spent? Thanks.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 06/10/2005 13:43

Maybe it was because you signed it. To suggest that someone with a life threatening disease should stop taking their medication and take "herbal remedies" is extremely dangerous.

Raymond (ILF28166)  Posted: 06/10/2005 20:28

William, you still haven't read properly what I wrote in my initial post on Yogic Flying. You will see that I never mentioned that Yogic Flyers can fly. It doesn't matter to me if you don't accept the scientific evidence on TM from over 600 Scientific Studies from over 100 Universities through out the world. Keep your eyes on the world media next week to hear about the opening of peace centres (Peace Palaces) in over 3000 cities throughout the world. Here is what I said about Yogic Flying: The Yoga Sutras of Mahrishi Patanjali describes three stages of immediately visible results. Stage One is generally associated with what would best be described as "hopping like a frog." Stage Two is flying through the air for a short time. Stage Three is complete mastery of the sky. Photos and all "Yogic Flying" demonstrations to date depict Stage One results. No one can predict when or if "Yogic Flyers" will ever get beyond this Stage One physical manefestation. It really does not matter as the effect on society from group practice has been shown to happen as long as this meditation procedure is practiced effectively.

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 06/10/2005 22:16

Joe of 5/10/05 is being a bit cavalier with the truth. There is a huge body of information on the interactions between different medicines. Joe should consult his IPHA Compendium.

Anonymous  Posted: 07/10/2005 08:35

William, a bottle of Homeopathic "medicine" is in or around the €10 (Damn expensive for sugar and water if you ask me but it's not my money). For an Acupuncture, Reflexology or Rekki session, it varies but €35 to €50 is average. The average number of sessions is between 4 and 8, at approximately a rate of 1 per week. Me - not a cent (apart from €60 to my pharmacist for regular persctription medication - but of course that's not alternative) A family member - €210 in the last 14 months fo a bottle of homeopathic tablets (not sure what they were intended to cure but I can find out if you like) and a series of reflexology sessions - which were apparently for her back and worked very well. That said, I went for a back massage about two weeks ago (I'd been helping a friend paint her flat and felt tired and achy afterwards) and felt great after it. Well worth the €45. Would massage have worked as well as reflexology for my aunt. Perhaps - I don't know. Trish.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 07/10/2005 10:28

johnwilliams says "There is a huge body of information on the interactions between different medicines." It may look huge to him, but consider the cocktail of drugs that many Irish pensioners are taking. The likelihood that they have been tested in combination is slim. The prescribing of drugs takes huge risks with people's health, and the medical statistics prove that.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 07/10/2005 10:33

Thanks for the info Trish. Something I am only beginning to realise is that CAM quackery doesn’t just mean a one off con but an ongoing series of expensive “treatments” over many months or even years. There is no connection between your back muscles and the soles of your feet. Reflexology is based on non-sense. It is quite astonishing that someone will shell out €50 for Reki treatment that consists of the passing of hands over your body. Basically paying for this is as silly as paying for someone to wave at you. Socrates, the ancient Greek, said that Lotteries were a tax on idiocy. I think CAM is surtax on the gullible. [PS Where are the sCAM artists? Don’t they want to argue their case?]

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 07/10/2005 12:09

Joe, the reason the Irish pensioners are alive to take their drugs is that they are taking their drugs.

Anonymous  Posted: 07/10/2005 12:40

William, I wish to correct my previous posting. It was not a series of reflexology treatments he had for her back but amatsu treatments. Whether this is similar or better / worse I didn't wait to ask. I will google it if / when I get the chance. As far as I know tho', it is a complementary therapy.

william (billyralph)  Posted: 07/10/2005 14:24

William once again you conveniently ignore issues for which you have no explanation-could you respond to Joe's claim via JAMA and very similar to my claim via the BMJ that orthodox medicine kills 100,000 people per year in the USA and a proportionate number here-I suppose its ok to kill when you are using 'evidence based' medicine-oh the power of science, doesn't it just give you a warm feeling in your delicate bits? As for Joe's dying father on so much medication-yes he should have been taken off most of them and would probably have had a more peaceful death -as a GP I regularly greatly reduce medications in the dying-who needs cholesterol lowering drugs in their last few days? We regularly poison people on a daily basis out of ignorance and gullibility as a profession-gullibility in our assumptions that the pharmaceutical industry has the best interest of patients at heart. Reflexolgy is used in our musculoskeletal clinic for back ache to good effect-no money changes hands,people get the orthodox stuff if they need too. If the minds of some of the contributors gets any smaller they'll begin to occupy negative space-ooh spooky!!

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 07/10/2005 15:05

Amatsu! Well that’s a new sCAM to me. My spelling checker didn’t even know of it! I read this website http://www.amatsu-ireland.com and it clearly is more hocus pocus. It trots out the old acupuncture nonsense, “Our bodies have an intricate network of 'energy' channels known as meridians, which carry our Ki/Chi or life force to every part of our body including our organs and muscles. Along these channels there are specific points that can control the flow of Ki/Chi.” There are no “Energy Channels” or even a “Life Force” in our bodies. The words “energy channels” have actually no meaning whatsoever with respect to bodies. I’m reminded of what I read once about the script writers who wrote Star Trek. They used to write in the phrase, “Science Gobbly-Gook” and later on some science consultant would fill it in with an impressive sounding scientific phrase. This is a funny phrase from their site, “Influenced by Chinese, Korean as well as other Oriental sciences and philosophies”. Funny because they say that Amatsu is based on 5000 years old tradition. Well science was only invented in the last couple of hundred years so that’s a contradiction. There is no “Science” is this “treatment”. Having a massage will not “free up the blood flow” or “release toxins”. The releasing of “toxins” is a common marketing ploy with these “treatments”. Pushing the notion that we are full of toxins, which is rubbish. They also claim to be allied to Chiropractic, which is also total nonsense being based on non existent “sub-fluxations” which the “therapist” releases by manipulating the spine. I see that you can pay €3,100 to “train” to massage non existent meridians to increase the flow of your non existent Chi. What you really are doing is getting involved formally in a movement to con dopes out of their money. Professor Hatsumi, apparently their guru has said, "If you were outside on a cold day and felt the pain for the cold, only a stupid person would take a pain killer, sensible people go indoors and get warm!" It doesn’t take a Professor to make that rather obvious observation. However, massaging your “Godai”, or squeezing your “Meridians” and freeing your “Chi” won’t make you any warmer either. They mention Sciatica which is a hernia where some of the material in your spine gets pushed out through the bones. Massages can make Sciatica worse. I know I suffer from it. I find walking the best treatment. It should be born in mind that a recent study even showed that massage and even much physiotherapy was of little use. People with medical complaints should not attend these people as their manipulations can make your condition worse.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 07/10/2005 15:25

The editorial in the Guardian today (www.guardian.co.uk/leaders/story/0,3604,1586623,00.html) gives an interesting UK viewpoint on alternative medicine, though I fear it will make johnwilliams and williamgrogan gnash their fluoridated teeth.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 07/10/2005 16:35

I fully agree with this sentence, "A rational society should resist populist calls for a retreat from science". Have you heard the joke about the Prince of Wales recent positive study into Complentary Alternative MEDICINE? It was written by an Economist!

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 07/10/2005 23:12

Joe. I too have read the Guardian editorial and if I could quote the final few sentences. 'A rational society should resist populist calls for a retreat from science. But what modern medics could learn from CAM therapists is the importance of listening to patients'. I couldn't have put it better myself. Until more money is invested in the Health Service so that doctors and other health workers can give more time to listening and talking to patients, the silver-tongued sCAM practitioners, with all the time in the world, will continue to seperate sick people from their hard earned cash.

william (billyralph)  Posted: 09/10/2005 15:36

This dabate,especially the contributions from WG and JW,is degenerating into a repetitious mantra from 'Animal Farm'-Doctors/science good,everybody else attempting to provide health care bad.The level of analysis is approximately that of a tabloid. By acknowledging that doctors can learn from CAMs ie listening skills you are agreeing that some of these people do provide help to those who are ill.You don't actually know if it is only the listening that has been beneficial because it is often the process rather than the individual components which evoke the healing response.Example a busy doctor with poor communication skills prescribes a correct medication ,evidence based,but doesn't achieve an understanding with the patient on the therapeutic plan,the patient doesn't take the medication,the patient is harmed eg untreated blood pressure and has a stroke.To assume that there is only one single important action in a consultation ie the science bit is to completely misunderstand why many people consult doctors or other health practitioners.This same argument does not apply to secondary level services such as orthopaedics or general surgery where the request from the patient has been refined a little by passing through the primary care filter,amoungst others.Although all of the hospital specialities have their share of patients who have been referred incorrectly because their needs have been misinterpreted or misunderstood at another level. Once again at the risk of joining this repetitious cacophony there is a need to closely monitor ALL those involved in the provision of healthcare to patients-can WG or JW tell me how they would know if a GP in Ireland was under performing?

Anonymous  Posted: 10/10/2005 08:50

William, thanks for the blurb on Amatsu. I was informed over the weekend that it was like a cross between massage and Reiki (and more 'hands-on' than Reiki) as was designed to free blockages in my energy channels, alright. Interestingly, I also reminded this person that I had heard part of a radio interview on Thursday evening about alternative / complementary therapies where the doctor (conventional) confirmed that homeopathy had absolutely no basis in science and was clinically proven not to actually do anything. My comment didn't go down well at all. As for Prince Charles suppoted alternative medecine. I don't imagine being born into a royal family qualifies one for anything (other than bearing the title of royalty) anymor than being born into my family or your family automatically qualifies one fo anything. Afterall, if he gve his opinoion on sub-atomic partical physics would we regard his oipinion more highly than a qualifed physicist? I sincerely hope not.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 10/10/2005 10:14

Johnwilliams warns us about "the silver-tongued sCAM practitioners, with all the time in the world" who "will continue to seperate sick people from their hard earned cash." If John and William could actually point out to us these "silver-tongued sCAM practitioners" (who no doubt exist), I'm sure we would all be better off. However, I fear John and William will simply try to equate those "baddies" with ALL practitioners of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), which is just silly, and certainly not scientific. There is no scientific consensus, and precious little scientific evidence, that alternative therapies don't work. On the other hand there are millions of people throughout the world who would willingly present evidence of how CAM cured them, or relieved their pain, etc. -- if such a wide-ranging scientific survey could be arranged. But John and William seem to be dismissing ALL those experiences as "placebo effect" or "coincidence". Which is an enormous leap of faith on their (John & William) part. How do they KNOW? Apart from anything else, John & William (J&W) are making a sweeping redefinition of a huge chunk of human history. It just doesn't add up. I humbly suggest that there could be a bit more to healing, human life and the universe than they indicate. Perhaps they could do us a favour by reading up on more of human history. For example, the 17th century -- since William has indicated his respect for the discoveries of scientists such as Galileo, Kepler, Newton, and so on. But how does he deal with the facts that Galileo and Kepler (who were in close touch with each other, insofar as transalpine communications at the time allowed) were seriously into astrology, and Newton may or may not have been serious about astrology but was certainly serious about alchemy, as well as theology? How can J&W be certain that THEY know exactly which parts of Galileo, Kepler & Newton's work were "scientific" and which were parts were wrong? Where do J&W get this infallibility? Just because astrology looks like nonsense doesn't make it nonsense. As with CAM, there is precious little scientific evidence that astrology is nonsense. Unlike CAM though, there is precious little evidence that astrology isn't nonsense. But, need I say, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Where do J&W get their certainties from? Hardly from a book, since they're utterly opposed to those who get their certainties from the Bible or Koran. Is it from the Quackwatch.com website? William, you still haven't come up with any evidence that fluoridation is safe, have you? Do you not have just the tiniest bit of scepticism about it at this stage?

Anonymous  Posted: 10/10/2005 11:49

Joe, I cannot believe you used the phrse "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence". This was the very phase used by George W. with regard to the search for the alleged weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Tell me, if we are not to base our beliefs on evidence what are we supposed to base them on? Hearsay? Magic?

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 10/10/2005 14:19

Anonymous (10/10/2005 11:49) asks: "Tell me, if we are not to base our beliefs on evidence what are we supposed to base them on?" If you're directing that question to me then I think you didn't read what I wrote.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 10/10/2005 15:22

The vast majority of sCAM IS bad because it IS nonsense. I don’t deny that in some cases “patients” are lonely & maybe depressed people gain something from a chat. However selling someone fake medicine or carrying out a nonsensical treatment such as Acupuncture or the Chiropractic manipulations of non existent sub-fluxations is still fraud because selling fake medicine is fraud. If someone set up a “clinic” where they chatted to people and told them that was what they were doing, I wouldn’t have a problem with that. However, having amateurs advising the public on health matters is a receipt for disaster. What happens if the untrained “adviser” decides that vaccine is ineffective? Would anyone reading this post take advice on say engineering from a non trained individual? Would anyone get say an accountant to fix their car or a mechanic to do their accounts? Why get someone who is not properly trained in medicine to advice on medical matters?

william (billyralph)  Posted: 10/10/2005 19:33

William ,who or what were you responding to in that last email?

Anonymous  Posted: 11/10/2005 09:09

William, oddly enough some doctors and the American College of medecoine are coming around to the idea that acupunture may have some limited benefits. Strangely enough you comment that If someone set up a “clinic” where they chatted to people and told them that was what they were doing, you wouldn’t have a problem with that. There is already such a service, many of them in fact. They are help lines, advice centres, counselling and therapy. May be people don't avail of thse enough and then whatever is preying on peoples minds manifests itself as a physical symptom. I was very interested in your comment about non existent sub-fluxations. The first time I came accroiss these was in a mothering forum website (U.S. based). It is a natural parenting (can you please explain what 'unnatural parenting' is?) website that advocates attachment bonding, anti-vaccination (is in favour of "HOMEOPATHIC VACCINES"), natural homebirth and organic food among other things. They believe that a child who is constantly crying may have suffered birth truama and this can be corrected by chiropractic manipulations of these sub-fluxations. In fact there were some mothers on the site who claimed it worked!

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 11/10/2005 11:19

Joe, there have been untold scientific studies that show the sCAM does not work. The only “studies” that show it does work can be dismissed because they are of poor quality, have too few subjects, are carried out by unqualified or biased people, are published in very low rated journals or indeed are fraudulent. It is quite clear that you cannot grasp this basic concept. You obviously think that if anything is published by anyone in anything that supports your position it must be true. Think about this from another perspective. Homeopathy IS nonsense, therefore any study showing it works must be wrong and that is what is found. To put it another way there is a correlation between the quality of poor studies and support for sCAM. This was CLEARLY shown in the Swiss government backed study recently published in the Lancet where only poorly conducted studies provided evidence that it worked. Regarding “human history”, it is true to say that for the vast majority of time that human analysis of reality was total nonsense and still is today by a majority of people. The majority of the Irish laugh at George Bush’s fundamentalism but then ignore their own superstitions. Just watch them blessing themselves as they pass a church. At least in the US Evolution is being taught in schools and has been for decades, not so in Holy Catholic Ireland where it was still banned when I went to school in the 70’s. As of last week we still ban important scientific studies into cancer cures for women in hospitals on the say so of the Ju Ju men. Joe’s comments about Newton, Galileo and co show how illogical Joe's thinking is. It is not relevant that Newton discovered gravity or calculus and that he also spent the majority of his life studying Alchemy. He could provide proof for the former, none for the later. I am well aware that intelligent people can believe in weird things. By the end of his life as far as I can remember, Newton regretted the time he spent on Alchemy. A basic tenant of Science is that no one speaks from “authority”. In fact it is Joe and his non-scientific ilk who keep quoting “famous scientists” to support their weak cases such as the Nobel Prize winning Pauling who erroneously believed that large doses of Vitamin C prevented the common cold. He was wrong, Nobel Prize and all. Another example is Alfred Wallace, often referred to as the co-discoverer of Evolution. He had some right barmy ideas and couldn’t separate Evolution from God and believed that “spiritualists” could communicate with the dead. Incidentally on the other hand Darwin was amazingly accurate in nearly all his predications and beliefs. I personally do not regard Wallace as the “co-discoverer of Evolution”, I think he just stumbled onto it and contributed almost nothing to the development of the theory afterwards. To say there is no evidence that “Astrology is wrong” is also not logical. It is extremely difficult to prove certain statements wrong which is why I defy you to prove there is no Flying Spaghetti Monster. On the other hand there is no evidence whatsoever that Astrology has any merit. The basis of Astrology is flawed because when it was codified over 2000 years ago they then did not know about the procession of the equinoxes, so as Patrick Moore, the Astronomer, once said, “Even if Astrology was right it would be wrong.” I have no “certainties”, Joe is wrong again. All I have is the knowledge that the most successful system by far ever discovered to understand and tame nature is Science and I can prove it.

william (billyralph)  Posted: 11/10/2005 19:46

There is no such thing as a homeopathic vaccine-there has been some ridiculous articles written in the recent past about the use of homeopathic vaccines for influenza.This is irresponsible as there are a number of high risk groups in society who benefit from real vaccines.Any doctor trained at a reputable homeopathic hospital would not advocate such a practice. As for William's assertions that CAM studies are only published in inferior journals-would William regard BMJ,The Lancet,JAMA etc as journals befitting this title-if so there will be a lot of ill-informed doctors out there who depend heavily on their contents for their continuing professional developement.Once again despite William's attempts to speak and argue using the language of science deep down he is just a religious zealot at heart-it can't work therefore despite the evidence it doesn't.And if the evidence is obtained using the rules of William's game then they must have cheated,they underpowered their study etc etc ad nauseum.But when large pharmaceutical companies use the same study designs etc we bow our heads,tug our forelocks and say 'thank you sir' and are then so shocked to find a few years and numerous deaths later that they played by the rules of William's game and obtained what looked like plausible results making billions in the process but they are part of the orthodox power structure so maybe they're not that bad. Proper training and monitoring and regular audit should protect people from unscrupulous practitioners,orthodox or not.Patients for the most part vote with their feet and rarely return to those who haven't helped them.The fact that it is worthy of newpaper and other media coverage would indicate that the scare stories happen infrequently.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 11/10/2005 20:53

William says: "Joe, there have been untold scientific studies that show the sCAM does not work." Really? Let's limit this to reasonable numbers. William, can you point out ten scientific studies that show homeopathy doesn't work? And ten studies that show acupuncture doesn't work? Shouldn't be too difficult, should it, if you're not exhausted from searching for the "evidence" in favour of fluoridation? I'll make a prediction (I'm a soothsayer too!): William will fail to come up with those scientific studies. Because, as I said above, there is precious little scientific evidence that alternative therapies don't work. William declares "Homeopathy IS nonsense, therefore any study showing it works must be wrong", then he claims he has "no certainties". That is self-contradiction. Mind you, William does put his money where his mouth is. He supports Quackwatch.com, who are among the most fanatical promoters of fluoridation (see www.quackwatch.org/03HealthPromotion/fluoride.html). Here's another famous scientist for William to have a go at... This month, the winner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2000, Dr Arvid Carlsson, was interviewed in Sweden about fluoridation. The interview will shortly be available on the Fluoride Action Network website www.fluorideaction.net. One of Carlsson's answers was as follows (note that there has never been any fluoridation in Sweden, and Carlsson has been studying the issue since the 1970s): Q: What about this notion of using the water supply as a vehicle of delivering medication? Can you speak to what you see as the problems with that? Carlsson: "Yea, it's absolutely obsolete. In modern pharmacology it's so clear that even if you have a fixed dose of a drug, the individuals respond very differently to one and the same dose. Now, in this case, you have it in the water and people are drinking different amounts of water. So you have huge variations in the consumption of this drug, whatever it is. So, it's against all modern principles of pharmacology. It's so obsolete, I don't think anybody in Sweden, not a single dentist, would bring up this question in Sweden anymore. It's really so absolutely awkward and I think that in those countries who have it, I don't understand how this can go on." But fluoridation, the weirdest form of alternative medicine, is continuing in Ireland, and there's not one Irish medical doctor who's willing to defend it in this or any other public forum. And isn't Carlsson obviously right? On the other hand, even though William has "no certainties", he KNOWS that fluoridation is right and that Carlsson is wrong. And William won't tell us HOW he knows... William, you set yourself up as an expert on fraud. Many times in the past I pointed you to the evidence that fluoridation is fraud (for example, Christopher Bryson's book "The Fluoride Deception"). It is quite clear that you cannot grasp this basic concept.

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 11/10/2005 21:19

Interesting article in today's Irish Times Health Supplement on Reiki. The article fairly blew that sCAM product out of the water. Reiki failed to pass the simplest of tests to back up its claims. Unfortunately there are none so blind as those who will not see so I don't expect this expose to dent the bank balances of the practitioners.

Anonymous  Posted: 12/10/2005 10:27

Good point Joe, I'm drimnking about 2 or 2 and half litres of water a day along with 2 cups of coffee, so I'm gettign moe flouride than someone who drinks very little water.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 12/10/2005 17:48

Joe has never made a "good point".

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 12/10/2005 18:15

The recent Swiss study published in The Lancet studied over 100 studies into Homeopathy and concluded that it did not work. What more can I add? But Joe has a reverse logic to interpreting studies. He ignores good quality studies that disprove his position on everything from Flying Saucers to Fluoridation to Amalgam fillings to MMR and quotes poor quality studies that do. I’m not 100% certain that Homeopathy does not work but I am very close to that. There is a difference. Let me reinforce this point again. The basis of Homeopathy is magic. The manufacturing method is farcical involving hitting the solution between each dilution with a book to “release the healing spirit within”. There is no scientific basis for any of the major issues in Homeopathy. The notion that “like heals like” is without any logic and is based on magical notions going back centuries. The act of dilution increasing the strength of the “remedy” is completely illogical. The notion of water “having a memory” is without any evidence or logic. The banging to release the “spirits” is something only a small child can be excused for believing in. So scientists have tested this magic soup and found it useless. Being useless WOULD imply that any test that showed otherwise would have to be faulty, wouldn’t it? And that is precisely what the Swiss study showed. There are literally thousands of CAM treatments, remedies and herbal hogwash. Scientists cannot endlessly devote their time to DISPROVING these silly con jobs. The law soon will force those making claims to back them up with acceptable studies or ban the snake oil. And here we have Joe making one of his usual logical errors, quoting from authority. I couldn’t care less what the Swede says, he is in the tiny minority. We have already shown that Nobel Prizes do not bestow papal infallibility on those receiving them. At some point in the future it may be decided that water fluoridation is a waste of money but that time is not here yet and if fluoridation does stop it is highly unlikely to be on the basis that it dangerous. I had to laugh when I read on the Quackwatch site that Joe kindly refers us to they quote a letter of support from Linus Pauling who clearly states that Fluoridation is safe and who Joe also quotes to “prove” that Vitamin C prevents the common cold. Joe, do you see the problem? Why do you beleive him on Vitamin C and not on Fluoridation? Pauling contradicts you on Fluoridation and supports you on Vitamin C. ? Bryson’s book was written to make him money. Bryson is a journalist, not a dentist nor a scientist. PS It is about time that the Irish Times started printing articles by Skeptics. Paul O Donoghue, who wrote the article on Reki, is one of the leading lights in the Irish Skeptics movement. Join here http://www.irishskeptics.net

Anonymous  Posted: 13/10/2005 10:34

Wlth the greatest respect William, Joe DID make a good point. The more water i'm drinking the more flouride I'm getting. The dosage an individual gets, then greeatly varies, does it not. Also you have been saying fr what seems like a long time, that these therapies / treatments will soon be banned but I have yetto see any evidence for this. Regarding your point about papal infallibility. The pope is only infallable (to catholics first off) in relation to scriptual and theological matters. His declariation of infallability in relation to anythign is about as relevant as me or you declaring ourselvews infallible

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 13/10/2005 14:15

To Anon 13/10/05 10:34. Can I ask you a simple question, are you afraid that you are overdosing on H2O or the other chemicals that are in water? The pope is not infallible to anyone. He is bluffing. If you don’t believe me that the laws are about to change then read what those selling & promoting useless supplements are saying here http://www.iahf.com/ and here http://www.consumerhealth.org/articles/display.cfm?ID=19990303190257

Anonymous  Posted: 14/10/2005 08:44

Wiliam, water consists of the two atoms of Hydrogen (H2) and Oxygen (0). Without the combination of these we would not have water. (For instance we could not make water by combing H1O). Flouride does not however form a natural part of water but is artificially added. I'm not afraid of it I jut wanted to point out that Joe's point was valid. The more ater drink, the higher dosage of flouride I'm getting. And yes the higher dosage of magnesium and calcium I'm getting also as these are found to be naturally occuring in varying doses in most water - whereas flouride is not, which is why it is added in.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 14/10/2005 11:06

Wrong, Fluoride does occur naturally in water. In fact the dentist in the US over 100 years ago that discovered the benefits of Fluoride had moved from an area with low naturally occurring Fluoride levels on the East Coast to an area of high naturally occurring Fluoride levels on the West Coast and saw a brown stain on the teeth and a drop in tooth decay in his new patients. It was upon investigating the cause over many years that he and others discovered the benefits of Fluoride in water. We simply standardise the Fluoride levels to 1 part per million to obtain those benefits everywhere. Water (H2O) in too much quantities can also kill you, as can any substance. Before the Fluoride in water caused you any harm, the amount of water that you would have to drink to get that much Fluoride would kill you stone dead. In that sense H2O is more dangerous than Fluoride. Incidentally there are areas in the world where the Fluoride levels occur far higher naturally than in Ireland. As high as 8 parts per million and there is no evidence of any damage from this. Most of the anti-Fluoride brigade are either nuts or simply cannot understand risk. This is a common problem. Far far more risky than Fluoride is Benzene in petrol, carcinogens in smoke (and we only banned that last year), particulates in exhaust fumes, radon gas in houses (2nd biggest cause of lung disease), fat & sugar in food, crossing the road, etc. Children get far more Fluoride by eating their toothpaste than they do from water. To a large extent the fluoridation of water is carried out to prevent tooth decay in poor children whose parents do not buy toothpaste or encourage them to use it. They would suffer the most if fluoridation as stopped. What the anti-Fluoride brigade succeeds in doing is to confuse people who don’t have the time or wherewithal to investigate the matter further, just as they did with the MMR scare. Ask yourself a simple question, how is it that people like Joe who oppose the Fluoridation of water also supports mega doses if Vitamin C as a means to ward off colds & flue (which doesn’t work), thinks MMR causes Autism (it doesn’t), supports supplements (mostly useless) and other CAM (magic and rubbish), supports CI (a waste of time), amalgam fillings in teeth cause disease (illegal in the US and will cause a dentist to be struck off if he removes them), there is abundant evidence for UFOs, etc. Is it not obvious he is a scaremonger? Is it not obvious he cannot analysis information and make a correct decision? Is this not why all those defrauded by sCAM are so easily taken in? Their brains cannot take in information, analyse it and make a correct decision? It is because of so many people’s failure to learn and understand these matters that the sCAM industry exists and prospers. There are two solutions; education or the law. My opinion is that education will not work because too many people are too illogical, so the law must be enforced to protect them and prevent this widespread and growing fraud.

Anonymous  Posted: 14/10/2005 11:55

William I ned to clarify. Flouride is not naturally occuring in water HERE. Therefore it IS added in. Thus, is it not logical to say that the more water I drink the higher dosage I am getting. Therefore it would appear that the dosage is not standard at all. I would imagine that there are very few who are genuinely too poor to buy toothpaste (when they can buy beer, ciggies, newpapers and junk food). Too ignorant perhaps.

Anonymous  Posted: 14/10/2005 11:56

Perhaps William, our schools should then educate people so that the next generation will all be as logical as you?

william (billyralph)  Posted: 14/10/2005 12:39

Brilliant William,the law!The law will stop all those silly poor misguided people who don't appear to be endowed with IQ of some of our contributors seeking help other than from the scientifically trained logicals.How patronising. How Brave New World meets 1984 is that?Laws stop nothing that a large number of people feel is good for them-alcohol prohibition in the USA,procuring an abortion,smoking cannabis,not paying poll-tax in the UK etc etc.Laws also sanctioned slavery,termination of pregnancy up to 40 wks in the UK,annihilation of people on racial,cultural or medical grounds,exploitation of migrant workers in our own green isle all sanctioned by laws written by logical right-minded people at some point in history. Its frightening what a Catholic upbringing combined with a scientific education can produce.Laws as with science are products of the time in which they evolve ie they are influenced even formed by the political and philosophical climates of their day-they are so value laden, but only the zealots see the tablets of stone and assume some apriori truth in science or the law.Children and religious bigots like apriori truths thankfully postmodern thinking has kicked sand in the face of those ideas. Properly funded independent(ie independent of vested interests)research,strong regulatory bodies,regular audit of practice,health ombudsman with teeth and less ignorance amoungst doctors ,not banning is the way forward.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 14/10/2005 15:51

Billy, do you think fraud is a crime?

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 14/10/2005 15:59

I’m sure water here does have some naturally occurring Fluoride. Anyway what relevance is it that you select just Ireland? Fluoride DOES occur naturally in water as does calcium and many other chemicals. As I pointed out, water is also a chemical. What dose of that are you getting? By talking about dose you are falling into the trap or trying to get others to fall into the trap that Fluoridation is medication. No matter how much water you drink per day, the Fluoride in it will not cause you ill health so your point is irrelevant. It is funny the way that those demanding the continuing use of useless supplements such as Joe & Co demand an end to one of the few that actually does some good. Typical illogical reasoning. Dosage is not applicable to Fluoride except that adding too little will not protect teeth and too much would waste money and maybe cause Fluorosis which is harmless but is unacceptable from a cosmetic pov. Your final sentence is also irrelevant. It doesn’t matte WHY the children of the poor have bad dental hygiene. It is a fact that they do. Adding Fluoride DOES offer them a fairly high degree of protection and therefore it is a good thing to do. Billy and others attempt at cynicism about logic is illogical. Are they suggesting that we should rationalise illogically?

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 14/10/2005 20:22

A new comprehensive 72 page booklet has come out on Water Fluoridation. You can read it here http://www.ada.org/public/topics/fluoride/facts/fluoridation_facts.pdf It also says some things about the pseudo-science scaremongering that the internet has introduced.

Anonymous  Posted: 17/10/2005 08:55

Flourosis William, is most certainly not harmless. It affects not only teeth but bones if the flouride dosage is too high and if we are all drinking different amount of water and the natural occurence of flouride is higher in some areas before it is added, then the dosage is not standard. Chi;ldren in poorer areas are not benefitting if they are drinking lots of fizzy soft drinks (full of sugar and phosphorus and heaven knows what else) and drinking very little water. If reaserch shoed that chuldrnh in poorer areas were not reating porangs of balckcurrants or kiwis, would you also favour artifically adding vitamoin C to the water supply at source. Afterall, high doses of it (which we may get as dosage will also be inconsistent when added to the water supply at source) are relatively harmless, can't be stored and pass out of the body in the usual manner - thru excretion either by the kidneys or skin.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 17/10/2005 11:47

Fluorosis in the TEETH is harmless. When Fluoride is added to water, the existing amount of Fluoride IS taken into account. The idea IS to standardise it to 1ppm. However in the US where some areas have up to 8 ppm Fluoride they take no action to reduce it as it is not dangerous. If poor children are eating sugar and not brushing their teeth then Fluoridation DOES help prevent disease. Your argument that children who eat too many sweats and do not brush their teeth should not have action taken to help them is daft. We hospitalise, treat and operate on smokers, drinkers and fat people. Are you suggesting we stop? You couldn’t add Vit C to water, it would degrade. We DO add other supplements to food that children eat. Iodine is often added to salt to “medicate” the population. High doses of Vitamin C have been shown to cause cancer. The government should start adding Fluoride to bottled water to protect those that only drink bottled water.

Anonymous  Posted: 17/10/2005 14:00

I never said that children who eat too many sweets and don't brush their teeth shoiuld not hafve help. If you read my post you'll see that I didn't say that at all. What they (and the parents who are or should be) should have is education. Flouride dosage is not stnadardized to 1ppm id drink 3 litres of water and day and you onlu drink 1. I am getting 3 times the dosage that you are getting.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 19/10/2005 11:06

William's latest posts outstrip even his own extremes of disinformation. I'll deal with the vitamin C issue in my next post. About fluoridation, I have corrected him before on nearly all these points, on this page and on other irishhealth.com pages. His refusal to accept correction and his ignorance about the scientific evidence are remarkable in someone who calls himself a sceptic and professes to champion science. I asked him months ago to find any evidence that fluoridation is safe; he came up with zilch. You can find scientific information about fluoridation at www.fluoridealert.org/health/. Why should we trust information from the American Dental Association, an organization whose priority is to protect the interests of its members, the highest-earning professionals of all? Why should we trust the WHO when they are demonstrably wrong about the most basic facts on fluoride? See http://tinyurl.com/b4bez. Contrary to what the WHO says, fluoride is not a nutrient of any sort. Dosing people with unmeasured amounts of fluoride is contrary to the Hippocratic Oath, to basic medical principles (the patient has the right to refuse medication), and to pharmacological principles (see Carlsson quote above). It is easy to see why no Irish medical doctor is willing to defend fluoridation in this or any other public forum. It is the worst form of alternative medicine. William talks about people falling into "the trap that Fluoridation is medication". But it IS medication -- by all definitions. And what else could it be? Fluoride is not a water treatment chemical. William stated: "Dosage is not applicable to Fluoride." But the WHO, in one of its lucid statements about fluoride, stated: "Dental and public health administrators should be aware of the total fluoride exposure in the population before introducing any additional fluoride programme for caries prevention." (Fluorides and Oral Health, WHO, 1994) About fluoride in water, William said: "As high as 8 parts per million and there is no evidence of any damage from this." But the American Dental Association, which William seems to trust, stated that "...drinking water containing as little as 1.2 to 3 ppm of fluorine will cause such developmental disturbances in bones as osteosclerosis, spondylosis and osteopetrosis, as well as goiter". -- JADA, October 1944, Editorial. There is a vast amount of evidence of serious health damage from water with fluoride levels well below 8 ppm. William said: "I'm sure water here does have some naturally occurring Fluoride." He ought to know that before fluoridation started in Ireland (1964), 99% of water supplies had negligible levels of fluoride (typically less than 0.1 ppm). By the way, the four decades of Irish water fluoridation have seen an enormous increase in the amount of fluoride pollution nationwide, in particular from ESB Moneypoint, Intel in Leixlip, various other factories, coal-burning (improved since the ban), and agri-chemicals (nearly all of which are very high in fluoride). Coincidence? "In that sense H2O is more dangerous than Fluoride," says William. Maybe it's silly to respond to that, but... Fluoride is more toxic than lead (www.fluorideaction.net/health/accidents/f-lead.html). One tube of ordinary toothpaste has enough fluoride to kill a child, if ingested. The form of fluoride added to Irish water is hydrofluosilicic acid, one of the most toxic substances known to science. Nothing natural and nothing safe about it. William's statements are so plainly wrong that we must question his motives. You'd have to wonder whether his purpose is to mess up this discussion by submitting so many lies and distortions that the reasonable people are preoccupied trying to correct them. Irish people who have any concern about fluoridation, and Irish doctors in particular, should acquaint themselves with the evidence linking fluoride to thyroid damage. See www.bruha.com/pfpc/Andreas_Editorial.pdf (published in the journal "Fluoride", from the International Society for Fluoride Research http://fluoride-journal.com/). See also www.rvi.net/~fluoride/s11.htm and www.fluorideaction.net/health/thyroid/index.html. Contrast the following statements about dental fluorosis: William: "...Fluorosis which is harmless but is unacceptable from a cosmetic point of view." and "Fluorosis in the TEETH is harmless." Nobel Prize-winning pharmacologist Arvid Carlsson: "[Dental fluorosis] is a toxic effect and a cosmetic effect. These are not mutually exclusive. It's toxic and it's cosmetic." (www.fluorideaction.net/carlsson-interview.html) Baroness Hayman, on behalf of the British Government: "We accept that dental fluorosis is a manifestation of systemic toxicity." (Hansard, 20 Apr 1999 : WA 158) Whom would you believe? Fluoridation is actually the biggest fraud of all. How it came about is explained in detail in Christopher Bryson's book "The Fluoride Deception" (soon to be available in paperback). William, as long as you accept uncritically what you find on the ADA, Quackwatch, and British Fluoridation Society websites, you're going to be mistaken about fluoride.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 19/10/2005 11:16

William stated: "High doses of Vitamin C have been shown to cause cancer." Actually, the opposite is true: vitamin C fights cancer. U.S. National Institutes of Health researchers recently conceded that intravenous vitamin C may be an effective treatment for cancer. Last year the same researchers reported a similar study but the news media failed to publish it. The latest study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. And it was widely reported. See, for example, this New York Times report: www.cancercompass.com/cancer-news/1,9743,00.htm Full citation: Qi Chen, Michael Graham Espey , Murali C. Krishna, James B. Mitchell, Christopher P. Corpe, Garry R. Buettner, Emily Shacter, and Mark Levine. Pharmacologic ascorbic acid concentrations selectively kill cancer cells: Action as a pro-drug to deliver hydrogen peroxide to tissues. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 10.1073/pnas.0506390102 The NIH study confirms the work of Linus Pauling who conducted cancer research in the 1970s with vitamin C. Pauling's studies were discredited at the time by poorly conducted research studies at the Mayo Clinic. William correctly pointed out above that Pauling voiced support for fluoridation many years ago. That was a serious mistake on his part, but it doesn't negate the other work he did, earning two Nobel Prizes. I don't know if Pauling maintained his belief in fluoridation into his old age. I do know that there is probably no respected scientist who started out opposing fluoridation and then switched to supporting it. Whereas I can produce a long list of respected scientists, doctors, dentists, and so on (even an Australian minister for health), who once supported fluoridation and now oppose it. Vitamin C will become even more topical with bird flu on the way. Vitamin C is your best bet for staying healthy with any of those viruses. The cheapest way to buy it is in powder form. You should be able to buy 100 g for less than 2 euro. Here are some useful guidelines about using vitamin C: www.doctoryourself.com/colds.html www.doctoryourself.com/klennerpaper.html "Clinical Guide to the Use of Vitamin C": www.seanet.com/~alexs/ascorbate/198x/smith-lh-clinical_guide_1988.htm http://vitamincfoundation.org/stone/

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 20/10/2005 23:53

Joe, you said that, Ireland had, "negligible levels of fluoride (typically less than 0.1 ppm". What is 10 times negligible?

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 21/10/2005 00:01

Here's some good news. There has been a drop of 20 per cent to 30 per cent in new patients in India for homeopathy after a damning article in the British journal 'The Lancet' described it as nothing but dummy drugs. "The article has hurt us," says leading homeopathy practitioner Dr Mukesh Batra, who pioneered the organised form of homoeopathy in the country.

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 23/10/2005 20:46

More good news. Kylie Minogue, style icon and pop idol, who publicised her breast cancer to encourage women to get check-ups for the condition has now issued a statement denying inaccurate press stories that she is using alternative treatments. She says in her statement that she didn't want fellow sufferers to be misguided into using these 'alternatives' by false stories regarding her choice of treatment. It is a pity that other influencers of public opinion don't the same thing. A few words from someone like Kylie carries more weight with some people than all the scientific evidence.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 25/10/2005 10:04

About homeopathy, William stated (12/10/2005): "The recent Swiss study published in The Lancet studied over 100 studies into Homeopathy and concluded that it did not work. What more can I add?" You're not getting out of it that easily, William. Of those "over 100 studies", most were not of high quality, and many were not published. There is still a lot of controversy over the Lancet study, but let's accept it as one candidate for my challenge to William. Where are the other nine studies -- out of the "untold scientific studies that show the sCAM does not work"? If you'll name them, William, we'll have a look at them. Then you'll come up with ten studies showing that acupuncture doesn't work, won't you William? Well, try to do so, before one of us dies. Maybe John Williams could help you out there.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 25/10/2005 10:11

About water fluoridation, William wrote (20/10/2005 23:53): 'Joe, you said that, Ireland had, "negligible levels of fluoride (typically less than 0.1 ppm". What is 10 times negligible?' That's a good question, and I'll answer it. But first I must ask William why he doesn't pose that question to the fluoridators whom he praises. They claim that water at 1 ppm produces negligible side-effects, whereas they admit that water at 10 ppm is a health disaster. The point about 0.1 ppm is that there are no reports of health damage at that fluoride level, whereas 1 ppm is a very different kettle of fish -- plenty of scientific evidence of health damage at or around that level. See for example http://education.vsnl.com/fluorosis/index.html. There is also evidence that wild salmon cannot spawn properly if the fluoride level in the river reaches 0.5 ppm. Another factor is the toxicity of different fluoride compounds. The fluoride added to Irish water (hydrofluorosilicic acid) is MUCH more toxic than the calcium fluoride that occurs naturally. See www.awaywolf.com/fluoridation/fluoride/infodocs/f03.htm.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 25/10/2005 10:41

The Lancet study is NOT controversial in scientific and medical circles. Until some other scientist publishes a study that refutes it, it stands. I can quote the Lancet meta study which DID study over 100 studies so that is 10 times the number of studies you wanted. I have pointed out before that studies that prove what Joe doesn’t like are ignored and non existent, poor quality and fraudulent ones are rolled out to support Joe’s position. Joe, numerous high quality scientific studies with huge numbers of subjects have proven conclusively that MMR cannot cause Autism, never mind account for the apparent increase in Autism, do you still think MMR causes Autism? Because if you do it clearly shows that scientific studies mean absolutely nothing to you. Joe, you didn't answer my question. Fluoride does occur naturally and according to you 0.1ppm is negligible. 10 times negligible is still negligible. That is what the word negligible means. Do you not agree?

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 25/10/2005 12:18

William, you wrote: "The Lancet study is NOT controversial in scientific and medical circles." That's not for you to decide; I would dispute it. Anyway, like I said, I would accept it as ONE of your ten anti-homeopathy studies that we could examine. What are the names of the other nine? And you wrote: "Joe, you didn't answer my question. Fluoride does occur naturally and according to you 0.1ppm is negligible. 10 times negligible is still negligible. That is what the word negligible means. Do you not agree?" William, you didn't read my last post carefully. It was obvious that I meant "negligible in health terms". We must look at the evidence: 1 ppm fluoride demonstrably damages human health, and 0.5 ppm is harmful to salmon, so we should be aiming way below that.

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 28/10/2005 08:41

Could I quote from Prof William Reville's article in yesterday's Irish Times? 'How is it that homeopathy, a form of alternative medicine whose basis contradicts scientific principles, and acupuncture whose scientific basis is unknown, can be covered under health insurance while clinical psychology, a main-line science-based discipline of proven effectiveness, is not covered?' And we laugh at George Bush and his supporters for their belief in creationism. Our irrational beliefs are just as laughable.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 28/10/2005 14:28

Prof William Reville, who says he is religious, contradicts himself regularly. He seems to believe in a version of ID. It has already being pointed out in the Irish Times letter page that he rubbishes Homeopathy because there is no evidence but believes in God although there's no evidence for her either.

william (billyralph)  Posted: 28/10/2005 14:55

Triggerpoint acupuncture or western medical acupuncture works to the best of our knowledge on the gate theory of pain-a well known and respected theory on how the spinal cord and subsequently the brain processes various signals.There is an abundance of evidence for its effectiveness.True we do not know how homeopathy works but despite the highly flawed Lancet article there is an abundance of evidence for its effectiveness.Having the title 'prof' usually means you have spent considerable time and effort focusing on a limited area of research it does not make your pronouncements any more valid than anybody else who has been trained to look at evidence and who has also been trained to understand the flaws in the evidence based approach to complex human conditions.How do antidepressants work?

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 28/10/2005 16:35

Billy has been unable to answer *ANY* question put to him about Homeopathy or explain any of the paradoxes associated with it such as how come any water doesn’t have curative powers for all ailments as by now all water has touched all chemicals. All he says is, “I don’t know”, yet he is also adamant that it works. So lets sum up. The basis of Homeopathy is magic and illogical, e.g. like cures like, less is stronger, medicine should be different for people with different “personalities” or different colour hair etc. There is no scientific basis for ANY of Homeopathy’s underlying principles in fact they all are contradicted by all known scientific principals. There is no quality control possible to tell if the “medicine” is fake. The Lancet study analysed over 100 Homeopathy studies and claimed that only badly done studies showed it worked. It also said the good quality studies ALL showed it didn’t work. If Homeopathy didn’t work this is exactly what we would expect. What “flaws” are there in the Lancet study? Just saying there are flaws means nothing. As for Acupuncture, it is the same. The theory underpinning it is absolute rubbish. There are no “energy channels” in the body. A recent study showed it didn’t matter where the needles were stuck in the body so the basis for the magic has been shown to be wrong and therefore training someone as to where to put the needles is a waste of time. However, what Billy wants us to believe is that not withstanding all this it works by coincidence. A more obvious and likely solution is that Billy is simply wrong and that those making money from sCAM are conning ignorant but desperate and sick people.

william (billyralph)  Posted: 28/10/2005 19:36

I rest my case-you keep trotting out the same old mantra,desperating trying to convince others that your ill informed and ignorant views are the only reality.People get better with these treatments so I and a great many other doctors ,all well trained in scientific medicine,will continue to use them where appropriate.And William and John like so many other armchair critics can rant and rave all they wish. You have highly selective in your arguments and have chosen to completely ignore anything that didn't fit into your narrow viewpoints eg my explanation of western medical acupuncture.One can't debate with zealots.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 29/10/2005 10:44

As usual Billy’s posts are little more than generalisations with little or no specifics. Billy just says, “sCAM works. I just know it does. I don’t know how and I cannot answer any questions about it just believe me.” Billy says he was “trained in scientific medicine” and yet months ago admitted on a thread that he slept during the science lectures and had and presumably still has a jaundiced view of science. The sort of anti-science view that religious people have or anyone that holds onto magical beliefs. All quality evidence coming out continues to destroy any possibility that there is even a tiny benefit from sCAM. Even the most enthusiastic sCAM supporter rarely claims significant cures. They continue to make excuses to explain the lack of evidence. The new Lancet study, funded by the Swiss government, and the results of which are now incorporated into Swiss law are “flawed” according to Billy, but he would have to say that wouldn’t he? He supplies no evidence to support this statement.

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 01/11/2005 19:45

I see I am being described as a zealot. A zealot for what? My views on medicine are very much mainstream. I do not confuse the well-being that the ill derive from placebos, massage with nice smelling oils, pleasant bedside manner etc with the scientific imperative of modern medicine. If the sCAM merchants admitted that their 'procedures' were harmless but pleasant very few would take exception. What the majority of reasonable people object to is the false claims by homeopathy, reiki, herbals, aromatherapy, etc that they are actual 'cures' when they patently are not. It is not I who is the zealot but those who fanatically support these irrational and fringe nostrums.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 09/12/2005 08:49

A recent widely published report from Bristol Homeopathetic "Hospital" that their "study" showed Homeopathy worked is savaged here http://www.spiked-online.com/Printable/0000000CAEB6.htm

fifi  Posted: 09/12/2005 16:43

I dont like the term alternative medicines. I would prefer the term & use of the words "complementary therapies". Those that work in conjuction with modern medicine. Men & women havent gone to med school for 8 years + for the fun of it. I do believe that alternative therapies can assist in allieviating medical problems as a support system for popular medicine.

William (williamgrogan)  Posted: 09/12/2005 18:48

Words are constantly used to create false impressions, particularly by those who are trying to create a false impression on purpose. Those that are determined to fool, mislead and swindle others are experts in the use of weasel words. Part of the reason the sCAM artists have stopped using “Alternative Medicine” is to do with the notion that it is an “alternative” to conventional medicine. This idea meant that many sick people stopped taking their medicine and switched to the “alternative”. Many died, many were sicker than they should have been. This caused a bad publicity problem for the sCAM artists so now they use the phrase, “complementary therapies” and their argument has changed in the last year or so to pushing the idea that sick people should carry on with conventional medicine and treatment but use what was called CAM alongside or “complementary” with their fraudulent magical potions. Do you see this? Alternative means “instead of” and “complementary” means “along with”. The vast majority of sCAM artists do not go to med school for 8 years to learn how to sCAM people. They do correspondence courses. In fact the correspondence and other puny courses are cons in themselves. Potential sCAM artists are sCAMed by existing sCAM artists and taught to sCAM future marks. The diplomas that these people have can be bought on the net or earned with a few hours, often very expensive, tuition. You cannot “study” in any meaningful way sCAM because there is nothing to it, e.g. different Acupuncturists stick needles in different places. There is no science to it so there is nothing to learn. For example, a doctor must learn where all the muscles and veins are but there are no “energy channels” so what has the Acupuncturist to know or to remember? Fifi, what evidence have you to support your “belief”?

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 12/12/2005 15:15

William, what evidence do you have to support your “belief” that fluoridation is safe? When you say "Words are constantly used to create false impressions, particularly by those who are trying to create a false impression on purpose," I thoroughly agree with you. There is no better example than the way the people behind fluoridation like to call fluoride a "nutrient". Nothing could be further from the truth. I have explained this in detail here: http://tinyurl.com/b4bez To put it in a nutshell, a small number of dentist academics have persuaded the WHO to insert two lies -- "fluoride is a nutrient" and "people need fluoride" -- into all sorts of authoritative documents. The effects are catastrophic. Irish people may be particularly interested in the fact that half of the key people involved are Irish -- from UCC! I have pointed out above (19/10/2005) that fluoridation is the very worst form of alternative medicine. But the big lie about fluoride is being perpetuated by the Dept of Health & Children in their current lavish support of the farcical "Expert Body on Fluorides & Health" (www.fluoridesandhealth.ie), all done at enormous expense to the nation's health and wealth, and to the TRUTH.

william (billyralph)  Posted: 12/12/2005 20:31

I find myself in agreement with William on some of his last points-people have been and still are wrongly advised to stop orthodox medicines and advised to take only 'alternatives' and yes some of these courses are expensive and taught by charlatans but not all.20% of Scotland's GPs have done the primary care certificate at the Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital,taught not by charlatans but by eminent physicians and the courses on medical acupuncture (no chi)are thought by highly qualified doctors who have not only spent 6 years at undergraduate level but also have trained for a further 6-10 yrs in their various specialities eg rheumatology,anaesthesia and chronic pain management.Most work within the NHS and earn no more for using complementary therapies over other therapies,in fact they may receive plenty of inducements from big pharma to prescribe their wares.Presenting to a 'therapist' looking for an alternative can be a dangerous thing especially if you present yourself to a private practitioner and that applies to any doctor/therapist-they want your business and as a vulnerable person you can be easy pickings.Presenting to somebody who does not have a medical training and who does not have a strong regulatory body is doubly risky.So the answer must be to nationalise the health service and give all GPs dual training and make it all free at the point of contact-take away the profit motive and lets see what emerges.And as for the crystal therapists,Hopi candle healers,iridologists,psychiatrists well if it works and they all agree to the maxim 'primum non nocere'.....

Bill  Posted: 13/12/2005 10:15

To Fluoride Joe; all the world’s professional dental organisations without exception support the fluoridation of water. Only some crackpots oppose it, and there are crackpots available to oppose everything that you can think of. I have asked you many times, and you normally do a runner when asked, what is the point in supplying scientific evidence to you when despite massive scientific evidence and the support of all scientific studies, some involving, hundreds of thousands of individuals, you still think that the MMR vaccine causes Autism? I think most people would trust the World Health Organisation when they come in conflict with fringe groups who believe in UFOs, that Vitamin C prevents & cures cancer, fluoride causes almost every illness you can think of and many other nutty ideas.

Chana  Posted: 13/12/2005 10:53

Billy Rapph, there , is a BIG difference between a trained professionally qualified psychiatrist and an iridiologist - which has no neccessary meidcal training, no qualifications and no scinetific background. Incidentally, you have yet to tell us what scientific proof you have the hoemopathy actually workd, considering it cannot by EU law contain any activre ingredient??

fifi  Posted: 13/12/2005 11:11

Williamgrogan, you misinterpret me. What I was actually trying to say is that I believe these complementary therapies are ok to use as long as people stick to traditional medicine. If people want to believe that these therapies help them in any way, then thats good. I would stress however that people use them as a side line. People who have given up trad medicine in favour of complementary therapies have got sick & some have died.

Bill  Posted: 13/12/2005 15:02

Fifi. Do you believe that there is such as thing as the crime of fraud?

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 14/12/2005 10:29

Bill says that "all the world’s professional dental organisations without exception support the fluoridation of water." You're just parroting what you found on the Quackwatch site, aren't you? The statement is rubbish. Without even going to the most populous countries (where the professional dental organizations don't all support fluoridation), look at Ireland: Search on the website of the Irish Dental Association (www.dentist.ie) for "fluoridation", and what do you find? Zilch. On the other hand, more than 100 dentists have joined Irish Dentists Opposing Fluoridation (see www.idof.net). And he says "Only some crackpots oppose it [fluoridation]." Bill, labelling Dr Arvid Carlsson, all the other Nobel Prize-winners, and all the eminent scientists, doctors and dentists who oppose fluoridation as "crackpots" doesn't help your case (if you have a case). Where's your evidence, Bill? I "normally do a runner when asked"? Really? Where's your evidence, Bill? I repeat my offer of the evidence. For example: www.fluoridealert.org/health Bill, you keep telling us that acupuncture doesn't work, can't work, and is fraud. You said, back in May this year, that "no amount of these studies which clearly show Acupuncture is useless will convince those that do not understand the nature of Scientific studies." You keep telling us there are "untold" numbers of scientific studies proving that acupuncture and the other CAM therapies don't work. I asked you months ago to name just ten of those studies about acupuncture. You named one small study in the JAMA. Where are the others? Can we take it, after all these months, that you're unable to even name them? May we conclude that they don't exist? May we conclude that you DON'T have the evidence? May we conclude that you're misleading us? Your other "points" are the usual list of insults, distortions, insinuations and allegations, which are just an abuse of the privileges irishhealth.com affords us.

Bill  Posted: 14/12/2005 12:07

Joe, can you stick to your anti-fluoridation quackery on the relevant thread? When you claimed some months ago that there were 100 dentists who joined the Irish Dentists Opposing Fluoridation I asked you to prove it. No reply, as usual. A common trick of the unscientific mind is to quote from authority. Joe has also quoted the Nobel Prize winner Pauling to “prove” that Vitamin C helps prevent colds (another of Joe’s quack ideas), YET Pauling supports water fluoridation. So what are to make of quoting Nobel Prize winners? Nothing whatsoever. As I have stated many times, scientific evidence and studies mean absolutely nothing to Joe. Do you still believe that MMR causes Autism in spite of the enormous and conclusive studies that show it cannot?

Bill  Posted: 14/12/2005 12:45

Joe, I decided to ask this anti-fluoridation outfit you quoted for the list of the names of the 100 dentists that have joined but the email they give on their site does not work. See here "Hi. This is the qmail-send program at eircom.net. I'm afraid I wasn't able to deliver your message to the following addresses. This is a permanent error; I've given up. Sorry it didn't work out. : Sorry, no mailbox here by that name. vpopmail (#5.1.1)" 100 is a suspiciously rounded number isn't it? Has the "membership" not increased in the last year when you first quoted me this number? Is the list of names a secret?

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 14/12/2005 14:13

Bill, I don't know why the e-mail address didn't work, but don't have any doubts about the authenticity of IDOF. Their main spokesperson, Don MacAuley, whose dental practice is in Navan, is very well known from his appearances in the media, and in the Oireachtas Health Committee. If you contact me off-list (you know my e-mail address), I'll put you in touch with IDOF. As for the "issues" you raise... I dealt with your question about IDOF's membership back in May on this list, as you well know. You also ought to know that there's a long history of dentists being victimized when they took an anti-fluoride stance. It's no wonder some of them want minimal publicity, even though they're willing to stand up and be counted in IDOF. Read the Christopher Bryson and Barry Groves books. I dealt with your "question" about Linus Pauling above, many weeks ago, on 19/10/2005, as you well remember. Why are you wasting our time?

Bill  Posted: 14/12/2005 15:22

Joe made the point yesterday that the Irish Dental Association (IDA) do not have any mention of water fluoridation on their website and he implied this showed a lack of support. Joe of course is wrong again. I emailed the IDA and asked them why and there is their reply. “Dear Mr Grogan, Thank you for your recent enquiry. The Irish Dental Association is the representative body of dentists in Ireland and is established to fulfil this role only. Our website was developed for our members. However, in order to be as helpful as possible, a section providing general information on dentistry in Ireland for consumers was also put in place. As there are very limited resources in the IDA (and no clinicians employed) it is impossible for the Association to address every aspect of dentistry that may be of interest to a consumer. The Association has information on the members section (limited to members only) relating to the submission the Association made to the Forum on Fluoridation in 2001. I enclose a copy for your information. The Department of Health & Children recently established an Expert Group on Fluoridation which is chaired by Dr Seamas O’Hickey. ….” The attached report which ran to 23 pages with full references fully endorses water fluoridation. Here are some excerpts, “The .. report represents the position of the Irish Dental Association on community water fluoridation. It is based primarily on the results of national and international research conducted by scientists whose findings have been published in internationally recognised peer reviewed professional journals. It also reflects the position of nearly 100 international organisations which recognise the public health benefits of community water fluoridation for preventing dental decay. These include the World Health Organisation, the Federation Dentaire Internationale, the American Dental Association, the American Medical Association and the International Association for Dental Research” They also give various statistics and the results of research which shows the benefit of water fluoridation. They also make clear there is no evidence that there are any negative health implications to water fluoridation. Joe, do you ever get embarrassed being proved wrong continuously? Joe’s tactics are common among the “anti” brigade and unfortunately take time to refute. It is easy to make comments but far harder to do proper research and refute throw away statements. Joe and his ilk know this and that is one of the major reasons they can influence people. Joe has shown time and time again that he never even reads his own references and has regularly referred me to sites, reports and newspaper articles that actually refute the claims he is making. Now can we get back to “Alternative Medicine”?

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 14/12/2005 20:44

Am I "embarrassed being proved wrong continuously?" Uh, Bill, I wasn't proved wrong. Once again, you didn't read carefully enough. I didn't say the IDA didn't support fluoridation -- officially. But do they really support it? All they could do was send you a four-year-old report? Bears out my point. Things have changed in the last four years. It's like rats deserting a sinking ship. Those dentists have seen the tide turning, so they decided to avoid mentioning fluoridation on their big impressive website. And look at the programme for their annual conference next year; not a mention of fluoride. Apart from the 100+ dentists in IDOF (www.idof.net), there are other dentists who will tell you in private that they don't agree with fluoridation. As for Mary Harney's "Expert Body on Fluorides and Health" (www.fluoridesandhealth.ie), which the IDA mentioned to you, their website, apart from highlighting a mind-boggling waste of taxpayers' money, has information that it not true. And I can prove this, anytime you like. So, could the IDA get a majority of Irish dentists to sign up in support of fluoridation? Maybe, if they get the big stick out, but I'm telling you that they'd really rather forget about the whole business of fluoridation. And as for "the World Health Organisation, the Federation Dentaire Internationale, the American Dental Association, the American Medical Association and the International Association for Dental Research", they're all controlled by the same little coterie of highly placed dentist academics.In the case of the AMA and WHO, in respect of their oral health policy.) No independent thinking there. Do you want documentary evidence of this? So Bill, are you going to contact the dentists who are happy to discuss the issue openly -- those in IDOF? Bill said: "Now can we get back to 'Alternative Medicine'?" Yes, let's. Not forgetting that fluoridation is alternative medicine.

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 14/12/2005 22:40

Well said Bill (14.12.05). Isn't it amazing that when reading posts across all the threads on this health site the same names crop up supporting scam medicines (for which there is no evidence of effectiveness)and at the same time denigrating proven scientific public health procedures, such as flouridation of water, childhood vaccination etc (for which there is overwhelming proof of their effectiveness). These sCAM supporters constiute a tiny minority but they make so much noise that some people are convinced that there 'must be something in what they say'. As my mother used to say 'empty vessels make the most sound'.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 15/12/2005 19:30

Well, John Williams, thanks for the insults. Now let's see who are the "empty vessels". Here is conclusive proof, based on a careful examination of U.S. Government documents and the orthodox medical literature, that fluoridation is scientific fraud: www.rvi.net/~fluoride/index.htm (The essential facts about the fraud have been reported in books such as Christopher Bryson's and Barry Groves', but there you have it spelt out on one web page.) I expect you to take notice, John & Bill. Is there some other kind of evidence or proof that you would prefer? Fraud is fraud, isn't it? And fluoridation is imposed on hundreds of millions of people throughout the world, so it's a serious case of fraud, isn't it? John, it can't have escaped your notice that I asked Bill months ago to name, out of the "untold numbers of scientific studies", just ten studies that show acupuncture is ineffective. Perhaps you could give Bill a hand with this task and report back to us. Or are you going to do no more than bad-mouth anyone associated with CAM regardless of evidence or lack of it? As for childhood vaccinations and what you call the "overwhelming proof of their effectiveness", that is just not the case. There is a very long list of the flaws and failures of vaccination. Vaccination certainly has effects -- and side-effects, always -- but many of those effects are not desirable. It behoves us all to be sceptical about so-called "proven scientific public health procedures", as well as about CAM.

Bill  Posted: 19/12/2005 08:58

The only Professor of Complementary Medicine in a UK university has “savaged” Homeopathy. This article is worth reading for anyone wasting their money on that sCAM. http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,6903,1669982,00.html It is also interesting to see a comment regarding sCAM artists and the MMR vaccine. I will respond to other points later in the week.

Chana  Posted: 19/12/2005 09:21

John, I curently have a medical problem which is being treated, reasonably effectively - even if somewhat over-treated, by conventional medecine. However, I now have friend / colleague who is attempting to convince (bore) me into going to her kinesiologist for 'natural' treatment. Now as far as I knew, kinesiology was the study of the biomechanics of movement, but it seems I was wrong and it's actually a form of muscle testinhg based on the idea that every organ deficiency also has a related muscle weakness. Now, pardon me if I'm wrong but this sounds a little hairy to me. Would you know anything about it? Is there anything I could refer my colleague to to refute its premise? Or even anything you could refer me to which would give credence / proof to my colleague's theory about kinesiology. If she is right I and I'm wrong I'll happily stand corrected.

william (billyralph)  Posted: 19/12/2005 12:33

Chana with all due respect if conventional medicine is helping you then why are you even asking about some other treatment-treatment either works or it doesn't.If you want to see critical articles on any CAM therapy look at www.quackwatch.com I'm sure even John will agree with me on that point!

Chana  Posted: 19/12/2005 14:04

Actually, I didn't ask her, we were taliing about various medical conditions. I mentioned mine the difficulty I had in gettign a treatment regime fine-tuned. The she started telling me about her kinesiologist and good she was in treatign her for recurring kidney infections and wheat alergy. And has since been trying to persude me to give it a try. I agree, for the most part treatment either works or it doesn't. So I would like an opinion on whether kinesiology works - and for what. Thanks for the website, I will look up kinesiology.

Bill  Posted: 21/12/2005 13:26

Joe I have asked you many times do you acccept that studies show that MMR is safe. You have refused to answer. Until you do, what is the point in me referring you to more studies?

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 21/12/2005 22:38

Where does one start? Joe! You refer me to a website to get the 'truth' about flouridation of water supplies. One does not have to be very internet savvy to see that the website referred to is an 'alternative' website. As it it happens there are many issues on it which I would support (including its anti-Bush anti-war stance) but on science-based topics it is more interested in creating an alternative to the mainstream media rather in the accuracy of the scientific topic. Prof David McConnell was interviewed in the Irish Health supplement last Tuesday (20.12.05). Discussing the problem of an age when more people than ever have access to education, he asks why do so many people take the wrong option (in this case alternative medicine)? He says 'The real core of the problem is a public that doesn't really understand science and the scientific method, the slow process of verifying observations in controlled circumstances and then testing and retesting to reproduce the same results'. He goes on to say that, when a scientist publishes his/her findings everyone judges the accuracy of the idea, whereas they don't judge the accuracy of a poem or a sonata. In other words on has to use a different set of crical faculties when judging science-based reports as against art or humanity based works. That is not happening among the public or on this website.

Bill  Posted: 22/12/2005 11:26

Joe, where is the evidence that 100 Irish dentists oppose fluoridation and have joined this organisation IDOF which has no email address? I think IDOF is just one dentist. John Williams raises an important point on the 14th. There are people who take the wrong approach on nearly ever matter that they turn their attention to. Isn’t that bizarre? It is understandable that any individual could hold wrong opinions on one or two subjects, but everything? Joe is a classic case. Nearly everything that society, through its government and scientists, proposes Joe opposes and everything that the government, business, the medical & scientific community opposes Joe supports. That has to be the basis of an investigation. This is not just effect a few conspiracy theory oddballs. Their activity has resulted in a 20% drop in vaccination with a resultant increase in disease. It also results in the promotion of sCAM which causes suffering and deaths and wastes billions of euros in the world every year. What is wrong with Joe?

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 22/12/2005 11:44

Bill, I really think you're raising the MMR thing as a red herring, because you already know my answer to your question. Of course I don't accept that MMR is safe. Do I accept that some studies "show" that MMR is safe? No, I treat those studies with extreme caution. The political and financial pressure to pronounce MMR "safe" is so huge that you would be foolish to cast aside your scepticism. How can you be sure there are no links, direct or indirect, between the researchers and the pharmaceutical companies? Another thing that should make you sceptical is the sheer number of reports from respectable sources that suggest MMR might not be harmless, and the sheer number of highly qualified doctors and scientists who are NOT convinced of MMR's "safety". The latest report I noticed is here: www.upi.com/ConsumerHealthDaily/view.php?StoryID=20051204-060313-6829r I must emphasize that that is just the latest among hundreds of such reports. No one is claiming that it is scientific proof, but it does make you wonder about the religious certainty displayed by the MMR proselytizers. Of course I and many other people can advance scores of other good reasons for objecting to MMR. Many of those reasons are expressed here: www.doctoryourself.com/vaccination.html Bill, you said above: "This thread is about Alternative Medicine. Whether or not main stream medicine is good bad or indifferent is totally irrelevant as to whether or not CAM is any use." Now, if we can get back to alternative medicine, I must ask you (and John Williams) to please come up with the evidence in relation to acupuncture, homeopathy, and fluoridation.

Bill  Posted: 22/12/2005 18:33

One of the many politically incorrect opinions that one can hold is the idea that you can analyse the way people think. Some idiots, e.g. the post modernists, actually claim that all facts are subjective. I think it is perfectly valid to analyse how Joe thinks. There is of course the possibility that Joe doesn’t hold any of the opinions he posts and just likes stirring things. However, the fact remains that many intelligent and reasonably read people can hold the most idiotic opinions, UFOs, alien abductions, man never landed on the Moon, Santa Clause made the Universe and while slightly less idiotic, opinions about Vitamins, Rekki Healing, Energy Channels, Acupuncture, Homeopathy etc.. Joe clearly ignores an enormous body of scientific evidence that MMR is extremely safe and yet demands more studies for all the fads he holds dear, but it wouldn’t matter how many studies they did into MMR v Autism because of Joe’s conspiracy theories have him convinced that the studies are all bogus due to “Big Pharma” and in his opinion the corrupt medical, political and scientific professions. No “MMR proselytizer” has religious certainty about MMR. Scientists never say they are certain in a mathematical sense. What they do is carry out strictly controlled studies that can predict with a specified degree of accuracy the probability of a link between say a drug and a disease. These studies are enormously powerful in putting an upper limit on how dangerous drugs are. (For obvious reasons, they can never put a lower limit.) Numerous studies have shown that *at the very worst* MMR cannot account for a significant number of Autism cases. The anti-MMR brigade on the other hand claimed up to recently that the (non existent) “huge” rise in Autism was directly linked to MMR. This has been PROVED to be false. However, people like Joe, and probably most lay people, do not understand the concept of statistics, probability or proof. Joe wants more studies on top of studies involving hundreds of thousands of individuals in several countries carried out by some of the worlds leading authorities on these matters to prove MMR is safe, yet amazingly without virtually any evidence of any description he accepts the unproven claim that Vitamin C cures cancer, that sCAM cures disease and that fluoridation causes cancer. The IDOF website has as its main claim that fluoridation causes cancer based incredibly on an unpublished study of 91 people carried out by a young student doing her university exams. Their MAIN claim! I genuinely do not know HOW Joe and his fellow travellers in the conspiracy theories movement think. I suspect that Joe was dealt a bad hand vis a vis his genes. His brain has been built with poor ability to think logically and as a result he cannot read information and make logically sense of it. Maybe his memory is so bad he cannot remember when the points he has made have been refuted. Now that you know this Joe, is it even possible that you could yet learn to overcome your data processing handicap?

Mary  Posted: 23/12/2005 11:03

AS FAR AS i AM AWARE - and I may be wrong, pharmeceutical companies actually make litle of no profit from vacine manufacture. In fact in some cases they are actually subsidized by govts to cover a shortfall. Joe is it poissible that autism itself is not ojn the increase but the diagnosis of autism. Wheras many years ago, people with autsim were descibed as mentally handicapped (or indeed two cases I know of - now adults, were described as 'slow' and 'backward' by their parents).

Bill  Posted: 23/12/2005 12:34

Here is an interesting article on Ayurvedic drugs. It contains this paragraph, "the maximum allowable lead content was 4.5 microgram a day for adults and 1 microgram for a 10-kg child. For arsenic and mercury, it quoted the reference doses established by the US Environmental Protection Agency. These are 21 microgram for both metals a day for a 70-kg adult and three microgram for a 10-kg child. Against these limits, the quantity of lead found in Karela capsules, manufactured by Himalaya Drug Company, was 7 microgram/gram. Maha Sudarsan Churna powder manufactured by Dabur had 17 microgram/gram while Zandu’s Maha Sudarsan Churna contained 40 microgram of lead/gram. What is more shocking is that Mahayogaraj Guggulu with Silver and Makardhwaj, manufactured by Baidyanath, was found to contain 37,000 microgram of lead/gram, 22,800 microgram of mercury and 8,100 microgram of arsenic. Mahalaxmi Vilas Ras with Gold, also made by Baidyanath, had 300 microgram of lead, 72,100 microgram of mercury and 2,800 microgram of arsenic." http://www.telegraphindia.com/1051222/asp/atleisure/story_5629420.asp

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 23/12/2005 19:01

Mary, I don't think you can hope for certainty in autism statistics, but what is certain is that a great many highly qualified people believe there has been a significant increase in cases of autism. On your first point, I simply can't believe there is no profit incentive in vaccine manufacture. Mind you, there is another incentive involved -- for the public health officials who are supposed to protect public health: when some disease is threatening the population, they feel they have to be seen "to be doing something about it", and usually they can't think of doing anything except vaccinate. In the case of tooth decay, a disease which afflicts most of the population, the public health officials have thought of vaccination, and there has been some outlandish research (probably very expensive) on some such vaccine, but in the meantime those PH doctors want to fluoridate the population. You might notice that NO attention is paid to THE cause of tooth decay -- sugar. Are the PHDs constantly putting out the message that sugar is the problem and if you avoid sugar you won't have tooth decay? Of course not. There's a very powerful sugar lobby out there that the government doesn't want to upset.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 23/12/2005 19:03

John, you referred (14/12/2005 22:40) to "flouridation of water, childhood vaccination etc (for which there is overwhelming proof of their effectiveness)". Is it beyond your powers to show us just a little of this "overwhelming proof"? Could you name (here or on one of the fluoridation discussions) just five scientific studies proving the effectiveness of fluordation, and, since safety is a big issue, five studies proving the safety of fluoridation? Vaccination is a much broader area, but do you ever wonder why many doctors and scientists are NOT convinced by what you call the "overwhelming proof" of effectiveness (not to mention safety)?

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 23/12/2005 19:06

Bill, you have thrown in quite a few inaccuracies: "I think IDOF is just one dentist." Ah, Bill, give us a break. I answered you twice before on this point. If you contact me off-list I'll put you in touch with Irish Dentists Opposing Fluoridation. Do you really doubt their credentials? "Joe's conspiracy theories"? What are you talking about, Bill? I have pointed out that fluoridation is a conspiracy. Fact, not theory. There's no question about it. Read Christopher Bryson's book "The Fluoride Deception". It's all there in black and white, in U.S. Government documents. I don't recall mentioning any other conspiracy, but if something is clearly a conspiracy I'll call it by its name. "No 'MMR proselytizer' has religious certainty about MMR. Scientists never say they are certain in a mathematical sense." Yes, but you and John keep on trying to hint that fluoridation is absolutely safe. Which is the assertion made by Judge Kenny in the High Court in 1963, and the Supreme Court (Cearbhall O Dalaigh et al) in 1964 in the Ryan case, the monumental legal blunder that gave the green light to fluoridation. But you never criticize those fellows for their blatant misunderstanding of the nature of science, do you, Bill? Bill wrote: "However, people like Joe, and probably most lay people, do not understand the concept of statistics, probability or proof." Bill, you're unmasking me! Obviously I must have cheated to get my Mathematics degree in UCD. Bill wrote about "the unproven claim that Vitamin C cures cancer, that sCAM cures disease and that fluoridation causes cancer." About vit C and cancer, see my post on 19/10/2005 11:16. What I wrote was very clear, reasonable, and supported by evidence, whereas you, Bill, claimed that "High doses of Vitamin C have been shown to cause cancer." Where's your evidence? About "sCAM cures disease", what unproven claim are you accusing me of? You'd need to be more specific, Bill. About "fluoridation causes cancer", there's a vast amount of evidence that fluoride is a carcinogen. While no one can say that any specific case of cancer was caused by fluoridation, the statistics have convinced many people. For example: "Everything causes cancer? Perhaps. Conceivably even a single electron at the other side of the universe. The real question is, how likely is any one particular cause? In point of fact, fluoride causes more human cancer death than any other chemical." -- Dean Burk, Chief Chemist Emeritus, U.S. National Cancer Institute (quoted in "Fluoride -- The Aging Factor" by Dr John Yiamouyiannis, p.72, Health Action Press, 1993) "The IDOF website has as its main claim..." You do IDOF an injustice, Bill. Sure, the website is crude and infrequently updated, but, as you know, they were simply highlighting that big news story about the Douglass-Bassin cover-up in Harvard, and we're still awaiting the results of the inquiry. IDOF know very well that there's a vast amount of evidence linking fluoride to cancer; they chose to highlight just one case. But it is a big important case, which is why it got vast media exposure in the U.S. Your attempt to play it down is disingenuous. The rest of what Bill wrote (22/12/2005 18:33) is just a litany of insults, which is informative about Bill and no one else. I note that he's still dodging my challenge to produce evidence that acupuncture and homeopathy don't work, and evidence that fluoridation is safe and effective. Bill, you wrote before about the great number of "studies which clearly show Acupuncture is useless". Are you going to point them out to us? If you, an Internet wiz, can't find them, what are we to make of all your claims about "untold numbers" of studies, and "overwhelming evidence"?

william (billyralph)  Posted: 27/12/2005 19:35

Just to be slightly pedantic for those who espouse so much knowledge about the 'scientific' method-science cannot prove anything,it can merely disprove-see the writings of Carl Popper.Its a bit embarassing when those science driven amoungst us try in patronising tones to educate the rest but miss this fundamental principle.

Mary  Posted: 03/01/2006 11:46

Joe it is worth noting that your oft-quotd Bill Bryson, is not a scientist, any more than Judge Kenny was.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 03/01/2006 16:47

Mary, you wrote: "it is worth noting that your oft-quotd Bill Bryson, is not a scientist". I never quoted Bill Bryson but I have often referred to Christopher (or Chris) Bryson, the distinguished investigative journalist and author of "The Fluoride Deception", available in the bookshops and shortly in paperback. If you're inclined to denigrate Chris Bryson, please find out a little bit about him first (try Google or Amazon.com), or, better still, read his book. Of course, unlike Judge Kenny, Bryson never had the power to force every member of the population to ingest unmeasured amounts of a deadly poison. Dentists are not scientists either, yet they are running the whole show as regards fluoridation. One thing you can be sure of: when the facts about fluoridation are brought fully into the public and political arena, those fluoridator dentists will throw up their hands and say: "How were we to know (about the health effects)? We're just dentists!"

Mary  Posted: 04/01/2006 10:59

So, you admit neitehr Bill Byson nor Christpher ryson are scientists. Dentists at least have medical training.

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 04/01/2006 22:38

In reply to Joe, who demands proof of the effectiveness and safety of flouridation of public water supplies and the effectiveness and safety of the MMR Vaccine. I get tired of repeating the same thing over and over but I will deal with flouridation first (the anti MMR propaganda is responsible for the deaths of 6 or 7 children in Ireland in the past few years so I will deal with that later). Flourides have been used in public water supplies in Ireland for over 40 years. In that time there has been extensive study of the procedure and it has been proven effective for what it was meant to do, prevent tooth decay, and no serious side-effects have been reported. I will not list the reputable scientific, medical, dental bodies from all over the world who have endorsed flouridation because it would take too long but I will quote a few sentences from Michael Martin when he launched an independent Report of the Flouridation of Public Water supplies. (Joe, this report is available on the Department of Health website -820KBs of it). Micael Martin (then Minister for Health) said this about the report. "It set out to examine scientific eveidence for and against flouridation. It set out to look at the best available scientific eveidence, not anecdotal evidence, and this has led to the primary conclusion of the report: that there are no adverse health effects of water flouridation at the maximum permitted level". The Minister went on to say that "the forum took a participatory and evidence-based approach, striving to ensure balance between participants from both sides of the debate on water flouridation, and it went out of its way to engage with those who oppose water flouridation" and "This forum has demanded scientific proof for every opinion expressed to it and as a result has produced a credible and valuable report". The department of Health in Ireland has run major studies almost every 10 years to keep an eye on flouridated water and every two years it runs studies on the effects on different age cohorts. Joe asks me to name some studies to support my position. Joe, download the dept of Health report and you will get hundreds of them. If that is not enough go into the WHO site and look up the report from the Expert Committee on Oral Health Status and Flouride Use and you will get hundreds more. After all that, Joe has the cheek to refer me to another of his wackey websites (rivi.net). Joe, who the hell is Darlene Sherrell from Grenada in the West Indies.

Bill  Posted: 05/01/2006 17:19

Very good post John. The problem with Joe is that he believes in conspiracy theories and “cover-ups” everywhere, except in his own back yard. This is Joe's "logic". The studies showing X to be safe are flawed because they are funded by Big pharma and carried out by those with a “vested interest”. The "studies" that show X is dangerous have been suppressed. You cannot win. Numerous MMR studies in several countries showing it to be safe that included hundreds of thousands of subjects are dismissed BUT a biased minor investigation by one Doctor , Wakefield,is held up as proof. I read a post on one of the fluoride threads where a dentist that debated with Joe for weeks gave up in frustration. Joe CANNOT progress because he has a religious dogmatic conviction that MMR, Fluoridated water and vaccines are dangerous and that Vitamin C, Homeopathy and other quackery are good. Joe is no different from the Jehovah’s Witnesses on the other thread who are certain that Evolution is wrong. NO amount of evidence, studies, logic or debate will shake this conviction. It’s as if they cannot hold all the argument in their head at the one time long enough to grasp the truth. Joe and the IDOF should publicly list the names of the 100 dentists or stop claiming it. If Fluoride is as dangerous as they claim then they have a moral obligation to sign their name to such a statement. No scientist said Fluoridation or MMR or anything is 100% absolutely safe. Nothing is 100% provable. Such a statement is logically absurd. What has been proved is that if it is dangerous then the danger is miniscule and that there are no proven dangers whatsoever. It has been proven that Fluoridate is beneficial. That is all science, logic and humans can do, pick the most likely and best outcomes. Joe, do you believe man landed on the Moon? Billy Ralph, Popper’s opinion is just that, an opinion.

Seán  Posted: 05/01/2006 20:19

Has anybody any view on the effectiveness of accupuncture as a treatment for alopecia?

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 06/01/2006 12:50

John Williams asked: "Who the hell is Darlene Sherrell?" Darlene Sherrell is the person who singlehandedly uncovererd arithmetical errors in the fluoride tolerance calculations used by the U.S. medical establishment. The author of the original errors, Harold C Hodge, a celebrated and influential toxicologist, corrected his errors in 1979, and so did some government agencies. However, the fluoride recommendations issued by the U.S. government retain the errors to this day. And the WHO follows suit (see http://tinyurl.com/b4bez). Sherrell has been researching and writing about this issue for the last 30 years. Sherrell collaborated with, among others, the great medical researcher George Waldbott. Her work is described in the recent books about fluoride by Christopher Bryson and Barry Groves. If you google '"Darlene Sherrell"+fluoride' you get 525 hits. It's not difficult to find out "who the hell is Darlene Sherrell". It seems that John has not read Sherrell's web page which I referred to (www.rvi.net/~fluoride/index.htm). If John is really interested in uncovering scientific fraud he will do something about the massive fraud which Sherrell's web page spells out in plain English and simple arithmetic. The other things that John wrote about fluoridation -- the Fluoridation Forum, Micheal Martin, etc. -- show that he is completely mistaken about the whole business. He needs to read www.fluoridealert.org/irish.forum-critique.htm, which has never been responded to by the Forum members or Micheal Martin.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 06/01/2006 17:40

John Williams asked: "Who the hell is Darlene Sherrell?" Darlene Sherrell is the person who singlehandedly uncovererd arithmetical errors in the fluoride tolerance calculations used by the U.S. medical establishment. The author of the original errors, Harold C Hodge, a celebrated and influential toxicologist, corrected his errors in 1979, and so did some government agencies. However, the fluoride recommendations issued by the U.S. government retain the errors to this day. And the WHO follows suit (see http://tinyurl.com/b4bez). Sherrell has been researching and writing about this issue for the last 30 years. Sherrell collaborated with, among others, the great medical researcher George Waldbott. Her work is described in the recent books about fluoride by Christopher Bryson and Barry Groves. If you google '"Darlene Sherrell"+fluoride' you get 525 hits. It's not difficult to find out "who the hell is Darlene Sherrell". It seems that John has not read Sherrell's web page which I referred to (www.rvi.net/~fluoride/index.htm). If John is really interested in uncovering scientific fraud he will do something about the massive fraud which Sherrell's web page spells out in plain English and simple arithmetic. The other things that John wrote about fluoridation -- the Fluoridation Forum, Micheal Martin, etc. -- show that he is completely mistaken about the whole business. He needs to read www.fluoridealert.org/irish.forum-critique.htm, which has never been responded to by the Forum members or Micheal Martin.

Bill  Posted: 06/01/2006 18:03

Sean, how could sticking small needles in your ears possible affect your hair? There is as much chance as sticking pins in voodoo dolls.

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 06/01/2006 23:00

Joe. I give you full marks for self-delusion. I give you a source of reputable web sites and medical trials and all you do is refer me to obvious 'oddball' web sites. I mentioned above that you dont seem to be internet 'savvy'. You treat all web sites as equal (although I dont see you quoting any of the mainstream medical sites). My question about Darlene Sherrell was sarcasm. You quoted her with approval and I visited her site. She has a bee in her bonnet and while it is a free world and people can set up a website if they want to, please dont quote this type of site for any factual evidence. You may not know Joe, but the Food and Drug Administration in the USA did a survey of health/medical web sites and found 12,000 with misleading information. You seem to be working your way through all of them.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 08/01/2006 00:44

Just a few comments here from someone in the USA who values both conventional and alternative medicine. 1) I note that some comments complain loudly about the big money drug companies. To those folks I would say: "Don't fool yourselves, there is plenty of big money behind alternative treatments and the people behind those treatments are no more interested in your personal wellbeing than those behind the big drup products." 2) On occasion I shop in health food stores but I do it with the knowledge that there is stuff being sold in those places that can make me sick or even kill me. 3) I have found that I can in general find a lot more useful information about supplements and herbs on .edu and .org websites than on .com websites. Never mistake marketing jibe for information. If they are selling something, they are not giving you information, they are giving you a sales pitch and you need to know the difference. The same is true when evaluating prescription drugs. The bottom line is that the docs in the medical schools, research centers and pharmacology institutions really care about you as an individual. The guy marketing a supplement or herb OR prescription medicine cares about getting his hands on your money. That is one problem I have with the hard sell drug company TV ads here in the US. People should not be going to there doctor requesting a certain drug simply because they have seen a persuasive ad for it. Now if they have carefully researched something on LEGITIMATE web sites, thats another story. 4) I really have a problem with people who somehow see their physician as their enemy. People really need to understand that their physician, with all of his or her human frailties, is a highly trained individual who can help them evaluate treatment options and who almost always has their best interests in mind in the process. If you are interested in an alternative therapy, I would suggest that you research it thoroughly on the web, ESPECIALLY looking for any potential toxicities or drug interactions. Also be very, very wary of things that are new and unfamiliar. If you search on the web and find nothing on a particular product, that is a red flag in my opinion. Once you have done your research, discuss your findings with your physician. This is especially important if you are already taking any sort of prescription medication. If he or she is really unreceptive, get a second opinion. But if the second doctor has the same concerns, be very afraid. I have found doctors in my area to be very reasonable about things like this. If they are highly skeptical about a particular treatment approach I would be skeptical too. 5) I know a lot of people who have apparently benefited greatly from alternative therapies, and I think that is all well and good. If it is working for you (assuming you have carefully checked it out first), that is all well and good. But use wisdom. I remember when I had problem with really severe shoulder pain. I went to a chiropracter and got a series of treatments. After a month or so I was still having the pain. The chiropracter insisted that I simply needed more treatments. At that point I made a decision. I made an appointment with a skilled orthopedist (I checked his credentials carefully first). He gave me one shot of cortisone and that was the end of my shoulder pain. So don't underestimate the capacity of a skilled professional with a carefully chosen prescription drug to eliminate your pain and suffering. I would have prefered to go the non drug approach, but when that obviously was not working, it was time to go with conventional medicine. I get amazed at how hard headed some folks are. You mention cortisone to them and you would think your were asking them to eat toxic waste. It can be abused and it can be misused, but in the hands of a skilled pro it can make you well. On the other hand, I have known people who were unable to find help from conventional medicine and chiropractic gave them their life back. Thats fine too, just don't be stubborn or naive.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 08/01/2006 19:41

The Irish Medical News columnist Dr Andrew Rynne has some pointed things to say about folic acid, fluoridation, and Micheal Martin: www.irishmedicalnews.ie/articles.asp?Category=PView&ArticleID=15218 In the same issue, columnist George Winter has some interesting observations on the rivalry or contrast between alternative medicine and orthodox medicine: www.irishmedicalnews.ie/articles.asp?Category=PView&ArticleID=15220 "If it is more important for sports medics to win the respect of the Royal Colleges than to venture beyond scientifically defined parameters, a valuable opportunity could be squandered," he says. Interesting to read George's piece about shoulder pain, the chiropractor, and cortisone. Years ago I had tennis elbow. Went to the doc and got the standard treatment -- sent for physiotherapy. Nice woman but it was useless for my elbow. Somewhat desperate, I accepted the only other thing the doc had to offer -- a cortisone injection. It dulled the pain but it was no cure. (Is it ever a cure, really?) Some months later I was attending a chiropractor who was working wonders on my very bad back (much worse than my elbow). One day, when my back was much better, I mentioned that I had tennis elbow. He examined it, manipulated it, and made a snapping movement. I FELT something snap (painlessly). He said it was adhesions on the tendons. On the next visit he did it again, and that was that. Tennis elbow cured. In two minutes flat. Like a miracle. I have never had tennis elbow since. I don't know how many chiropractors could do that; I guess I was lucky.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 09/01/2006 09:52

John Williams, about your post on 06/01/2006: Apart from a litany of insults ("self-delusion... oddball... not internet savvy... a bee in her bonnet..."), you gave us more inaccuracies. You suggested that I don't quote any of the mainstream medical sites. Actually I do, and have done, time and time again. I quote them when they give factual information, and I quote them to point out errors. I refer to PubMed again and again. Here's a recent example of me referring to mainstream sites: http://tinyurl.com/7qus8 John, you wrote: "please dont quote this type of site [Darlene Sherrell's] for any factual evidence." Can you find anything on that site that isn't factual? Sherrell is the woman who, apart from correcting major errors by the U.S. medical establishment, persuaded lawmakers in Michigan to repeal the mandatory statewide fluoridation law. Do you assume they were all deluded? Why do you dismiss what she writes, John? On the other hand, you accept at face value (according to your post on 04/01/2006) all the claims from Micheal Martin and his Fluoridation Forum. You said that you gave us "a source of reputable web sites and medical trials". Oh no you didn't. You wrote: "Flourides have been used in public water supplies in Ireland for over 40 years. In that time there has been extensive study of the procedure..." That's totally misleading! In that time, the ONLY research on the effects of fluoridation in Ireland has been that carried out by the dentists in UCC and TCD dental schools. NO ONE has researched the general health effects. Not only is that a shocking omission, it is showing contempt for the law, because the 1960 fluoridation law REQUIRES that such surveys of general health be carried out by the Minister for Health. Micheal Martin was legally bound to order proper health research on fluoridation. And what did he do? He set up a hand-picked Forum -- TO KEEP FLUORIDATION GOING. You wrote: "no serious side-effects have been reported". Well of course, since no serious side-effects have been looked for! If you never looked for them, how would you find them? You quote Micheal Martin saying: "... there are no adverse health effects of water flouridation at the maximum permitted level". [Apart from the fact that dental fluorosis IS an adverse health effect, other adverse health effects were not looked for.] The Minister went on to say that "the forum took a participatory and evidence-based approach, striving to ensure balance between participants from both sides of the debate on water flouridation, and it went out of its way to engage with those who oppose water flouridation." [That is absolutely untrue; the Forum was biased from the beginning. The Forum did invite comments from the public, and its report declared: "it is important that the public be reassured that their views do matter and are being taken into account by the Forum." 1050 people wrote to the Forum. 90% of them wanted an immediate end to fluoridation. They were completely ignored in the Forum's final recommendations.] and "This forum has demanded scientific proof for every opinion expressed to it and as a result has produced a credible and valuable report." [That is nonsense (see www.fluoridealert.org/irish.forum-critique.htm) and the Forum report is now discredited. Valuable? The report is 300 pages of mostly unreadable waffle. Try reading it yourself. I must be one of the few people who have read it, and it was painful reading.] John, you said the Forum report lists "hundreds" of studies that support your position, and that the WHO site has hundreds more. If those are the "science" you're relying on, you're deluded. None, and I mean NONE, of those reports provide *good* scientific evidence for the safety and efficacy of fluoridation. That was the conclusion of the York Review, even though it too was biased in favour of fluoridation (see Barry Groves' book, and see www.doctoryourself.com//fluoride_cancer.html). You, John, seem to take Micheal Martin's words as gospel truth. I notice you have nothing to say about the scientific critique of the Forum report. That alone poses a great many questions for Micheal Martin and his Forum, but I and others can pose many more questions that were not answered by the Forum. For example: Q. Why hasn't the fluoridation law been adhered to? Q. Why did the Forum not consult at least one toxicologist? Q. Why did the Forum not question (or even mention) the Director of Public Health in the Eastern Health Board/ERHA (which has been purchasing all the fluoride for Ireland)? Q. Why did that Director decide, just before the start of the Forum, to change the source of fluoride from fertilizer factory toxic waste to a similarly toxic "manufactured product"? (The answer is obvious: So that the Forum could blithely announce that "Ireland doesn't use nasty toxic waste fluoride." Of course the Forum report didn't mention that we WERE getting toxic waste fluoride for years.) Q. Does fluoridation cause delayed eruption of teeth, and hence more orthodontic problems? Q. Why did the Forum not seriously consider the fact that sugar is THE CAUSE of tooth decay? Q. Why was the last meeting (and possibly others too) of the Forum not minuted and documented on the Forum website? I believe there is considerable evidence that, since fluoridation started in 1964, there has been a significant increase in the incidence of hypothyroidism, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, hip fractures, joint problems, repetitive strain injury, cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, scleroderma, Alzheimer's, diabetes, orthodontic problems, and other diseases. Those are among the diseases you would expect to find as a result of over-exposure to fluoride. And those are the effects predicted since the 1950s by researchers such as Waldbott, Schatz, Sutton and Yiamouyiannis. If just 1% of the increase in incidence of those diseases is caused by fluoridation, then it's a health disaster. What if fluoridation has caused a 5% increase in those diseases? The Irish Times reported on 29 October 2001 that the Republic of Ireland is "an area of mild or borderline iodine deficiency". That is unexpected in a maritime nation; again, it could be linked to fluoride exposure. See: http://www.fluoridealert.org/health/thyroid/index.html http://bruha.com/pfpc/html/symptoms.html http://bruha.com/pfpc/html/thyroid_history.html Can the fluoridated taxpayers of Ireland (who paid dearly for the Forum) ever get answers? But John & Bill think everything is hunky-dory.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 09/01/2006 23:47

Comment to Joe: Sounds like your passage with the tennis elbow was a mirror image of my shoulder problem. Your chiropractic treatment worked for you and thats great. As one who has at times found help from 'alternative' medicine when none was forthcoming from 'conventional' medicine I can say that you did the right thing by not simply enduring the pain. I had a grandmother who was all but on her deathbed. Thanks to a chiropractor she lived many more years. As for the flouride thing, I am more concerned about chlorine. The stuff is really toxic, thats its purpose. But without chlorinated water, we would have other problems. Personally, I drink bottled water when possible and try to filter the additives out at the tap. But I do recognize the value of flouride in preventing decay. But I prefer to brush it on and spit it out. Actually, there are areas of the US where flouride is a naturally occuring substance in the well water. Thats how its dental benefits were discovered in the first place.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 12/01/2006 20:01

George wrote: "As for the flouride thing, I am more concerned about chlorine. The stuff is really toxic, thats its purpose. But without chlorinated water, we would have other problems." Yes, but we should be phasing out chlorination. Other disinfection methods, such as treatment with ozone or ultraviolet light, don't leave toxic compounds in the water. Those methods are being used in many water treatment plants in continental Europe. While chlorination cannot be stopped immediately, we should end it as soon as possible. Fluoridation, on the other hand, should be -- and can be -- stopped immediately. George, if you live in a large American city, you and everyone around you are probably being fluoridated, and I respectfully suggest that you should be very concerned about it. See www.fluoridealert.org/health/. As for Ireland, every city and town from Inishowen to Skibbereen is fluoridated.

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 13/01/2006 23:58

Joe re you post 09.01.06. I think Joe we are going around in circles. You seem to be an anti-fluoridation activist and what you are doing is completely unscientific. In the case of water fluoridation you have decided it is a 'bad thing' and you then scour the internet for ammunition to use to bolster your argument.The scientific method has to aim for the truth which is not available on the websites you quote. You quote sites like rivi.net, bruha.com,fluoride alert.net, doctoryourself.com etc. Joe these are not unbiased sites. I would not quote quackwatch.com as a source of unbiased information, it is a campaigning site (and a good one). You quote approvingly of two columnists in the Irish Medical News but that is what they are Joe with opinions the same as you or me. You dismiss the repoort of the Forum on Fluoridation which was set up to give unbiased information on fluoridation. One of the criticisms you have was that 90% of people who wrote in wanted a cessation of fluoridation and the Forum did not reflect this. The terms of the Forum as Micheal Martin said was to take on board all PROVEN SCIENTIFIC facts not opinions. I can quote from literally 100's of trials and reviews from all over the world on the efficacy and the safety of fluoridated drinking water. Scotland: In a survey, by the Dental Dept of the Royal Hospital, Glasgow, of two towns in Scotland, Stranraer(originally fluoridated but ceased in 1983) and Annan (never fluoridated) the incidence of dental caries was compared. While the water in Stranraer was fluoridated the incidence of dental caries was substantially lower than in Annan, but 6 years after ceasing to dose the water dental caries had increasded to the same level as Annan. Central Europe. In a paper on the Community Dental and Oral Epidemiology, which was a review of numerous scientific trials on water fluoridation Prof Horowitz reported 'the fluoridation of community water supplies fulfills the requirements of providing safe, effective protection against dental caries at reasonable cost. IRELAND: From the Oral Health and Dental Research Centre in UCC DM.O Mallane says in his review 'fluoridation of domestic water supplies has been effective in reducing the prevalence of dental caries in numerous studies conducted world wide over the last 50 years. ISRAEL:From the Envirinmental Epidemiology Unit, Public Health Service, Jerusalem, a review Fluoride Level in Water and Public Health in 2003 came to the following conclusion: 'water fluoridation is a safe effective and well proven way of preventing dental disease in the community. In spite of the legal difficulties raised by various activist groups the use of wtaer fluoridation is growing rapidly'. Now Joe before you head off into the internet to dig up more quotations, the interpretation of clinical trials is quite specialised and I am aware that the professional organisations of doctors, dentists, pharmacists, nurses and other medical workers run courses to help people reading reports, clincal trials, reviews, studies etc interpret the results correctly. It is ludicrous to suggest that there is a world wide conspiracy by medical professionals, university and hospital specialised units Departments of Health world-wide, research bodies, organisation of health professionals, politicians etc. to 'poison' the people of the planet with fluoride.

Sallie  Posted: 14/01/2006 05:55

As a Registered Nurse with 26 years experience in a broad field of nursing care in UK & Ireland, I too, found myself dismissing any form of treatment unless it entailed drugs and/or surgery. How daft is that? To think for example, that taking a pill for high blood pressure or reactive depression or indeed many other ailments would solve the problem alone without making changes in life style or taking responsibility for ones own health, or indeed, would somehow miraculously solve all ones problems. 2 points I would like to make that I think are key here. 1. The word 'Complimentary' and 2. The word 'Holistic'. If we treat a person from the holistic viewpoint and use complimentary therapies to suit the person, there would be a much better outcome. I, too, studied and now practice Reflexology and like some of the postings, was quite sceptical as to its use (after all, there was no pill popping involved and it all seemed rather a little simplistic to me, being an R.G.N.!) but much to my surprise, it works. Not just from a relaxation point of view (although having had my first treatment as a client having Reflexolgy, I realised that I couldn't remember when I had last relaxed to such a therapeutic level). It definately works, without a shadow of a doubt. If you are sceptical, or have never had it, try it before you make any judgements. Being treated by a sensible, well qualified Reflexologist will make you more aware of yourself and your overall health. But like any other form of treatment, conventional or complimentary, there are no treatments that are 'cure-alls' for everything, but we all know that prevention is better than cure. As stress is the no. 1 cause of disease/illness, then the alleviation of stress in whatever holistic form it takes can only be beneficial. Certainly if being treated with Complimentary Therapies relieves stress in someones life, isn't that a far better idea than taking medication?

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 14/01/2006 21:28

I have to start off by admitting that the concept of 'medicating' people 'en masse' by putting something in the water disturbs me. Having said that, I have to reinterate that here in the USA, fluoride is simply a naturally occuring substance in many water supplies and has been since long before the idea of 'fluoridation' was even conceived. It would be really puzzling for health problems specifically identified with fluoridation not to have occurred in those areas from many years back. But there is no such record of problems. There is a well-known problem of fluorosis that occurs from high levels of fluoride, but other than that, there is really no history of broad sweeping health problems associated with fluoride. One could then consider the issue of enriching foods or vacination of children. So, Joe, while I would agree with you in a civil liberties sense that you or anyone else should not be forced to be medicated, I can hardly see any significant hard evidence of damages from these public health policies, and I can see significant evidence of their benefits. In terms of fluoride, my own children have had zero cavities. I grew up in the pre-fluoride world and my teeth were riddled with cavities by the time I was their age. And they eat more sugar than I did. In terms of general health, my children have had a much healthier childhood than I or my peers did and I credit that to enriched food and immunizations. But don't get me wrong on this. This is not to say that I am not concerned about the issues of improper use and over use of everything from pesticides to antibiotics. There are definately two sides to this story, but I do indeed think you are paying too much attention to extremist sources of information when you should be spending your time dealing with the real health threats in our environment that are scientifically identifiable. Remember, all the things you are pointing out as being caused by fluoridation can just as easily be the result of known toxins that have been increasing in our global environment. So I really think you are wasting a lot of time tilting at windmills over the fluoridation issue.

Trish  Posted: 16/01/2006 09:56

William, I recently recieved some snippets of info on the effectiveness or otherwise of homeopathy: Here's the list presenting some studies that show effectiveness, as well as some that don't. --------------- Findings Vickers and Smith, 200234 Seven trials were included in the review (three prevention and four treatment trials); only two studies had sufficient information for complete data extraction. The homeopathic remedy oscillococcinum appears safe and effective in reducing the duration of influenza, but has no effect on prevention. ------------- Oberbaum et al., 200135 Randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial in 32 children; 30 completed the study. Traumeel S, a homeopathic skin cream, may significantly reduce the severity and length of pain and inflammation of the tissues lining the inside of the mouth from chemotherapy in children being treated with bone marrow transplantation. --------------------- Taylor et al., 200036 Randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial of 51 participants aged 17 years or older (50 completed the study). Team tested the hypothesis that homeopathy is a placebo by examining effects of an oral homeopathic preparation in patients with perennial allergic rhinitis. They found a "significant objective improvement in nasal airflow" compared with the placebo group. However, both groups reported subjective improvement in "nasal symptoms" (with no statistically significant difference between groups). Authors concluded that the objective evidence supports that "homeopathic dilutions differ from placebo." ------------------ Jacobs et al., 200037 Randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial of 126 children; 116 completed the study. Individualized homeopathic treatments improved digestive problems in children with acute childhood diarrhea. Results are consistent with findings of a previous study. ----------------- Weiser et al., 199841 Randomized, double-blinded, controlled trial of 119 people; 105 completed the study. The homeopathic treatment vertigoheel, and the standard treatment of betahistine, are equally effective in reducing the frequency, duration, and intensity of vertigo attacks. - These are just snippets, I can try and refernce the links if you like. T.

Bill  Posted: 16/01/2006 12:12

Trish, I appreciate that you put some effort into this but what do you think your effort is in comparison to a project set up last year by the Swiss government and published in the Lancet? The Swiss government appointed a scientist to do a comprehensive study of all studies and he unequivocally stated Homeopathy did not work and furthermore that those studies that showed evidence that it did were all flawed. You are making the same mistake many people make in thinking that all studies are equal. Many so called studies are carried out by those that should they prove Homeopathy wrong would be out of a job. That’s how biased they are. Some quoted studies were either not published or not published in a top research publication. Salie, I have very poor respect for many SRNs when it comes to their mixing up of their profession as Nurses with what is obviously totally outside their training and experience, Science. You as a trained nurse (and my wife is a nurse) are no more trained to make professional statements on medicine than the hospital porters. Nurses have a poor record in understanding the science behind sCAM. In fact many nurses in the UK had their children immunised using the 3 jabs instead of the normal MMR because of their lack of “a professional” understanding of that issue. You blithely make this statement, “If we treat a person from the holistic viewpoint and use complimentary therapies to suit the person, there would be a much better outcome.” How do you know? I would claim the exact opposite and science supports me. The fact is that the vast majority of ailments are reductionist in nature. ‘Flu, cancer, broken bones, most diseases, genetic defects etc. Reflexology is TOTAL nonsense. Reflexology claims that massaging different parts of the foot affects different organs. Garbage. Obviously garbage. Please explain, seen as you are claiming professional competence, how there is a connection between different parts of the sole of the foot with different organs.

Mary  Posted: 16/01/2006 12:53

Bill, I think to compare nurses, who are highly qualified with 4 years training and years of experience, to hospital porters is downright insulting.

Bill  Posted: 16/01/2006 13:49

The Saturday Marian Finucane show had an extensive piece on supplements and in particular 1hr and 8 minutes into it, Echinacea and its widespread use to try and prevent colds & ‘flues. Three doctors were interviewed, including one from Cork, Galway & the US. The doctor from the US made an interesting point. Echinacea was used by North American Indians as a cure for snakebite but never for colds & flues. In 1960 two individuals started selling it as a herbal cure and preventative for colds & flues BUT there never was any evidence to support this. It was a sCAM from the start. See Marian’s program here http://www.rte.ie/rams/radio/latest/Sat/rte-marianfinucane.smil

Bill  Posted: 16/01/2006 13:55

Mary, of course that is not what I did at all is it? I said “You as a trainednurse … are no more trained to make PROFESSIONAL STATEMENTS ON MEDICINE than the hospital porters” Nurses are not trained as Scientists, neither are hospital porters. That IS the point I made. Salie emphasised that her point was being made AS A qualified person. My point is she is NOT qualified in the relevant discipline, therefore she cannot claim expertise. In fact I can state that her erroneous statement on alternative medicine is proof that she is not qualified to make a professional/scientific call on this. PS Your comments are insulting to hospital porters who do a tough job, particularly in A&E.

fifi  Posted: 17/01/2006 13:17

Bill. You are so away with the fairies. How dare you compare nurses to porters? Nurses are intelligent highly trained professionals who spend four years doing a level 8 honours degree. I think they are qualified to speak on medicines. They do complete pharmacology in their training. Id love to know what job you do for a living that makes you think you can talk down to other people. (Ps Im not a nurse - Yet)

Bill  Posted: 17/01/2006 16:29

Fifi, you seem to misunderstand as well which is odd as I have now clarified my point. Let me put it this way. With a degree in Nursing has a nurse a professional opnion on Nuclear Engineering? No! Nor has she a PROFESSIONAL expertise on science. Salie, remember, is claiming that as a Nurse she is competent to make PROFESSIONAL statements in an area she has no training. Maybe Salie would explain what is known as "Scope of Practice".

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 17/01/2006 21:09

I am truly amazed as I survey the posts on this topic at how many people are willing to entrust their health to information placed on websites that have few real credentials and little if any accountability and on individual professionals who may or may not be ethical in terms of the advice they give. When I visit a health care professional, I carefully review that person's credentials first, and in any critical situation, I almost always request a second opinion from someone even more highly qualified. And their are plaenty of ways to check out doctors, One can go to the goverment regulatory agency in question. One can do a survey of peers. One can enquire as to accredation at area hospitals and more. But a lot of people seem to be more concerned about how they care for their car than they are about how they care for their bodies. As I have previously stated on this forum, I sometimes use alternative treatments. But when I do, I subject them to the same rigor as I would conventional medicine. For example, I recently happened to find an herb that provide me with great benefit. But the first thing I did after making that discovery, was to check bonafied main stream (non alternative) sites specializing in listing the toxicities of various substances. These would be sites operated by major medical centers and university medical schools. On most of these same sites, one can find what are the known drug interactions and herbal remedies and suppliments do cause drug interactions. Its not always wrong to take risks, but only the really stupid ignore risks. Next I did a lot of checking of PEER REVIEWED studies conducted a MAJOR RESEARCH institutions that touch on the efficacy and safety of this particular herb. I also discussed its use with my physician. And it is very important to me that the benefits provided by this herb are MEASURABLE by conventional medicine. They are not in the realm of "I feel better when I take it." Many people "feel better" after you give them a sugar pill and tell them it will make them better. Thats called a placebo. Thats the effect that echinacea had on many people. I took it myself a few times and then stopped because, to be honest, I never sensed any measurable results. Now, a defining study has been done, and I know that I wasted my money. Echinacea, of course, is harmless to everything but your wallet. But other substances are not. On another occasion, a loved one of mine developed cancer. Someone in church with all good intentions insisted that she should go to this 'wonderful clinic' in Mexico to get alternative care. My answer was "over my dead body". That person (that had the cancer) is alive and well today six years later because of the mercy of God and the skills, dedication, and tools of conventional practitioners. In this case, we questioned those doctors mercilessly and got second opinions and scoured the internet for information. We confronted the doctors. They listened to us and we listened to them and the result was a complete cure. Would I do it any differently today? Not on your life! Many, not all, but many alternative treatments are deeply flawed. Many are flawed to the point of being outright scams. They want your money and they will cause you to lose your life if necessary to get it. Don't be suckered into it. There is safety in a multitude of counsel. When you have a health crisis, get reliable counsel from people you can trust. Ask hard questions and be willing to deal with hard answers. If you choose an alternative treatment, ask the same hard questions. Don't be so naive as to let someone 'treat' your cancer by scraping some of your skin cells and injecting them back into you (this is just one of the stupid treatments ADVERTISED by alternative cancer clinics). If you need a miracle, go to the church and request prayer. It probably (one one hope) cost you nothing an it will probably be a lot more effectual that many of the so called miracle cures that are widely marketed.

Anonymous  Posted: 26/01/2006 08:42

Over recent years I have began to loose faith in conventional medicine...I will tell you why.. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer seven years ago.She had surgery, was given chemo and radiotherapy..sent home and told to hope for the best..She was told if she was lucky she would live for another five or ten years..Eh hello what kind of an attitude is that.. Firstly radiation burns and sears..then the operation removes the effect not the cause, which also leaves you weak and in shock. If you have survived this you are given chemo. You are ill because your body is full of toxins but now they are pouring more down your throat. Poison so drastic they sometimes have to stop treatment for a while so u can get stronger. Imagine a medicine so toxic they have to take u off it so you become stronger..The mind boggles.. My mother is alive today..but she isn't living she is only surviving..She has so many ailments since her treatment..ibs,chronic constipation,depression,insomnia, osteporosis,arthritis..the list goes in..I live in fear of a relapse..I think one of the main reasons so many people eventually die from secondary cancers is because their bodies are left highly toxic and their immune systems are only working at about 30% after all the treatment.. My mother was not offered any nutritional advice which i believe is key in terms of treating any illness nor was she told how to rebuild her immune system..nor was she told how to rehydrate her thymus gland which sits just above the breast bone The thymus gland is the seat of a persons immune system.... Their approach is not holistic. You must treat the mental,spiritual and physical in order to obtain perfect health.. What gives any doctor the right to say you have three months to live..When u take away someones hope u have nothing.. I am under no illusion there are qwaks and scams out there..Like anything you must do your research...but i do believe orthodox medicine needs to change its approach to treating disease... Will just give you an example of how alternative therapy helped me..For years I was dogged with irregular periods..chronic pms. The doctor could provide no answers..Just said I was unlucky and put me on the pill..I foolishly went on it..It caused me so many more problems..which i won't go in to..Again the pill helped my symptoms not the cause.. I am currently living in Oz and feel truly lucky to have met one of the most well respected naturopaths in the world..he is well respected by the medical profession and the alternative field..His knowledge of the human body never ceases to amaze me..He explained in full detail why i was not menstruating monthly etc etc..by following his program i am now regular and happy... So i do believe there is a place for both orthodox and conventional medicine..i do believe they should work together for the benefit of mankind..

Tina  Posted: 26/01/2006 12:56

People become ill with cancer not solely becuase their body is full of toxins but becuase of mutaiton of cells - this is what causes the tumour. The operation is intended to remove the tumour, just as chemo is intended to stop it progressing. Tell me more tho' about rehydrating the thymus gland? I's never hard of that. Surely it is th lymphatic suystem which plays central role in the immune system. Incidentally, I was on the pill for 10 years. It doesn't effect everyone the same way.

Bill  Posted: 26/01/2006 17:51

Anon of 26th 8:42. There is no need “to have faith in modern medicine”. Modern medicine cures disease and illness far better than medicine in any other era and is unequalled in keeping us alive and well into our old age. You seem to think medicine is like sCAM and is magic. Doctors never claim they can cure everything, maybe your expectations are wrong and that modern medicine is just what it is, the best way of getting cured of illness. The treatment for advanced cancer has serious side effects but those effects are far better than the alternative, dying slowly and painfully. However, anyone can choose to avoid chemo, few do. As medicine advances they will be able to target the tumours better, in fact in the last decade great progress has been made and the life expectancy for cancer patients is far better than it was. I doubt that any of these other conditions you mention, even if they actually exist are as a result of the cancer or the treatment, ..ibs, insomnia, osteporosis or arthritis. In fact depression is probably linked to the insomnia and the IBS. It seems to me that you are very ungrateful to modern medicine and you should appreciate what has been done and that the doctors have prolonged your mother’s life. The word “holistic” is a buzz word used by sCAM artists and new age nuts. Would you prefer the doctors to lie to your mother about her diagnosis? You are another person who thinks they can do “research” to avoid being scammed. You cannot, I can tell that by your illogical post that you are not trained to do “medical research”. Do what the doctors advise and leave the “research” to them. If you do the “research” by which I presume you mean read garbage and quack web sites you will in all probability be fooled and robbed of your money. Cancer patients have died in Ireland in recent years because they trusted quacks. “Naturopaths” are NOT respected by doctors or scientists, what makes you think they are? Tell us how did “he explained in full detail why i was not menstruating monthly”?

Sallie  Posted: 27/01/2006 01:55

Isn't it strange that people seem to think that because research produced by allopathic practitioners is any more reliable than any other research. Just check out the facts emerging now about the use of Metronidazole, being used since the early '80s to delay the onset of labour in pregnant women which they have now proved, does exactly the opposite and accelerates labour in a pregnant woman?? Also,and numerous research papers published in the lancet over the past few years which have now been proved to be bogus. This doesn't instill any more confidence in allopathic medicine than it does in any other type of medicine. All these trials but particularly the ones that promote use of man made drugs are funded by drug companies so as far as I am concerned they are totally useless. I would far rather take my changes on the most purest and most natural forms of treatments when possible than rely on chemicals to solve the problem. The key to me is to have an open mind. Some allopathic medicines are perfect for some conditions but not all, and some natural medicines are perfect for other ailments but again, not all. Isn't moderation, information and education the key here. No one form of treatment is any more effective than another in a lot of cases. Allopathic medicine is only effective when symptoms have actually occurred and then its all a process of elimination as to how they diagnose. Nobody knows exactly how chemotherapy works exactly as it works differently in every patient. Pure trial and error stuff so lets all have an open mind and faith in each individual to decide what they feel is the right form of treatment for them. There are pros and cons to all medicines if they are abused. Moderation, moderation and even more moderation to me is the key.

Mary  Posted: 27/01/2006 09:19

ibs, o which chronic constipation plays a part, may be down to the stress induced by cancer and it does not often have an organic (systemic) cause. depression and insomnia are closely related and again could be down to all she's been through. Afterall such a life threatening illnes could depress anyone. Many elderly people have arthritis due to wear and tear. The osteo could be related to the cancer treatment as its well recognised that a certain stags, paticula types of cancer medication can contribute to osteo. Bill, you say of these conditions "even if they actually exist" Are you sayign that this women is lying or that her mother is lying? You also say "It seems to me that you are very ungrateful to modern medicine and you should appreciate what has been done" - this I'm sad to ay makes you sound to me like nothing other than an arrogant parent attempting to chastise a child who as done nothing wrong and believe it or not there are naturopathic doctors who also practise mainstream medecine and are well respected in their field

Chana  Posted: 27/01/2006 10:45

Sallie, you mention allopathic when referrign to mainstream emdecine. Allopathic means to treat the symptioms now I don't know about you, but no Dr. or specialist I have ever been to has ever treated only my symptoms but always the root cause. You say you would rely on the most purest and most natural forms of treatments when possible than rely on chemicals. however, it is the pure ingredints which have been extracted and symthesised in chemical form where they can be standardised for potentcy the the active componenet can be isolated. I am astonised by the number of people who do not know this. The thmost purest and most natural forms - are not standardised for potency, and comntain an awful more besides the active componenet and thus you are leaving yourself open so all sorts of side effects from other componenets in for example, a herb.

Bill  Posted: 27/01/2006 15:47

Salie, there is virtually no research being done in other than conventional medicine. One exception has been Exeter Uni. Where the Prof in charge recently lambasted most CAM treatments including Homeopathy that he has tested. Any research on CAM has shown it to be useless and the entirety of CAM treatment, prayer, faith healing and the other nonsense is totally outside science. There is little difference between someone trying Homeopathy and Lourdes water, they both rely on magic. Picking a single or a couple of drugs used over the last 50 years that may not have worked out and then saying that this disproves conventional medicine is absurd. Conventional medicine is practised by humans who make mistakes, take bribes, lie cheat and everything else BUT the vast majority of treatments that have been tested are useful and safe. There are almost no sCAM treatments of use for any condition whatsoever, except the desire of foolish superstitious and badly educated people to throw away their money. This phrase is meaningless, “Moderation, moderation and even more moderation to me is the key.” The amount of a dose of a drug prescribed must be exactly what is required, there is no concept in medicine of “moderation” when it comes to prescription. You are obviously just making up these opinions of yours without any basis in reality, eithout any evidence or logic.

Chana  Posted: 30/01/2006 09:55

- the differnce being that the person who tries Lourdes water did not pay €50 for the priveledge (I hope) and does not expect a cure without going to a Dr.

Ferdinand  Posted: 03/02/2006 02:19

HERE'S SOME PLAIN ENGLISH: 1. The worldwide public at large having detected it's wholesale failure are moving away from the conventional medicine of their fathers and mothers and are continually & increasingly opting for natural alternatives. 2. The pharm companies with their finger on the pulse of public choice have been realising this over the last four years. 3.Faced with this public about face the large Pharmeceutical giants have been scrambling to lobby for & provoke the implementation of new regulations so they can include natural foods, vitamins, minerals and herbs in the realm of medicine. The pharm. companies previously had little or no interest in this area. 4.It is their apparent desperation to bully this legislation into place which makes their greed so conspicuous. Read all about it at http://www.alliance-natural-health.org/index.cfm. Watch the movie "WE BECOME SILENT" Narrated by Dame Judi Dench. It's about time Irish people stood up for themselves; our TD's are supposed to WORK for us. Phone yours and ask them what they think of the power that the IMB yields. You dont have to be an authority on medicine just ask THEM "what they think" Ask your T.D./ M.E.P. to watch "WE BECOME SILENT" and send themm a copy of the IMB definition of a medicine. or the link to it. http://www.imb.ie/uploads/publications/6342926_guidelines.pdf If you don't take the time to ask your T.D. / M.E.P to work for you. They will continue to do nothing. It will be your fault not theirs! We'll all get sicker, The Pharm. companies will get richer and a new generation of T.D.'s will be born tommorow to do it all over again. Soon it will be too late

Bill  Posted: 04/02/2006 10:23

Ferdinand, we speak plain English here so your opening comment is an insult. In fact your post contains many grammatical errors and spelling mistakes so maybe it is you who should speak plain English. The public are not “moving away from conventional medicine”. The number of doctors is increasing, the number of different medicines in use is increasing and the amount being taken is increasing every year and as a consequence we are getting healthier and living much longer. Your point number 1 is therefore completely inaccurate. (There is no apostrophe in it’s) Plain English score is 2/10 Every company in the world listens to what the public say, so you are only stating the obvious in point 2, although the phrase “the pulse of public choice” is hardly plain English. Score 5/10 You claim that the new legislation designed to protect the public from the multi-billion fraud that is the CAM industry was instigated by pharmaceutical companies. What evidence have you for this? You cannot start a sentence with “Faced with this….” You spelled “Pharmeceutical” wrong, it’s Pharmaceutical. Score 1/10 All companies need to make a profit and the more the merrier. Why is this referred to as greed when it is carried out by companies that in your fantasy you see as part of a conspiracy? Why mention a well known “actress” when trying to argue what is a scientific & medical matter. Are you suggesting the winning of acting awards leads more credence to her non technical opinion? Would you allow this fine actress to design a bridge or an aircraft? No, then why pay attention to her opinion on medical matters? The foremost concern of TDs is to protect the public. They should be doing far more to protect the public from the con artists selling them dangerous, untested, useless, expensive magic potions. The word “natural” appears three times in your post. This is a well known weasel word and is used by the sCAM industry to try and convince people that an untested, unmeasured cocktail of chemicals whose origins are in plants is better than a tested, measured, purified, chemical whose origins is in a lab. Your last paragraph contains several invalid sentences and shows a lack of understanding on your part of full stops. “tommorow” should be “tomorrow”. We all make the odd spelling mistake and misuse words but to open your post by demanding plain English and then make so many mistakes in English indicates that your grasp of medicine, science and sCAM is as poor as your English. To demand plain English and then not even check your spelling and grammar shows very sloppy and lazy thinking and frankly indicates that your opinion on anything would be suspect.

william (billyralph)  Posted: 04/02/2006 20:03

That was a pretty patronising reply to poor Ferdinand. As for your comments about the pharmaceutical industry making a profit ,and the more the merrier.A profit that is made irrespective of the damage done by their products,damage that was foreseen in many incidents but because of the possible costs to the company at the late stage of developement of their products they would rather make their multimillion pounds profit for a few years and then batten down the hatches and fight the legal battles later-an example of a cynical accounting exercise.The drug companies undoubtably produce important products but their bottom line is profit not health.And as for your statement about we live longer because of modern medicne,we actually live longer despite modern medicine and the medicalisation of our lives.Trends in longevity correlate well with major social and public health changes ie housing,sanitation,clean water and of course vaccinations in childhood.Medicne has its place but its not as major a one as you think William.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 05/02/2006 01:39

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I have a great deal of confidence in conventional medicine and a great deal of skepticism toward alternative and complementary medicine. In fact, I believe that conventional medicine is 'conventional' because in most cases it just works. It is defined by both a scientific approach and ongoing peer review, not to mention a complex system of built in checks and balances with an intricate network of specialists, stakeholders and regulators. Having said that, there are times when conventional medicine fails. One famous example is the case of Louis Pasteur. He was on to something very big, but because he was a chemist and not a doctor, and more importantly because his discovery flew in the face of the logic of conventional medicine in his day, he was all but burned at the stake. Many adherants of conventional medicine have a certain arrogance (notice the tone of some of the posts on this forum) and that is one of conventional medicines great achilles heels. The fact of the matter is that there are Louis Pasteur's around today. And they are being pilloried just as vilely as the original Pasteur. A recent example would be the Austalian team that discovered that ulcers are caused by a bacteria. There are still doctors around that haven't come to grips with that one. From the 'bad air' of Pasteur's day to the 'excessive worry' of our day, things haven't changed a whole lot. There are some great ideas out there that have authentic and impressive scientific evidence behind them, but they are being ignored because they cross some established theorim of conventional medicine. Conventional practitioners tend to take one look at them and the next words are 'but we know' and you can forget about any honest scientific enquiry, its 'case closed' and written off on the spot as heresy. Many posters make a big thing of the terms 'natural' 'organic' 'synthetic' etc. The bottom line is that there are many man made substances that are highly beneficial for appropriate uses AND many natural organic substances that are very beneficial for appropriate uses. To write something off simply because it is synthetic OR natural is insane. On the other hand there are man made substances that are very dangerous AND natural organic substances that are very dangerous (downright toxic as a matter of fact). To assume something is safe on the basis of it being either man made or natural is equally ridiculous. So why all the extreme rhetoric on this forum? Why do some posters extoll the pharmaceutical companies like they are next to infallible and others assume that their only reason for existance is to keep people sick (and addicted to their potions)? I find neither argument convincing. Pharmaceutical companies exist to make a profit. In the process they do much good, but they are also capable of a certain amount of evil because their interests don't line up exactly with those of the patients. One need only look at the example of Viox. People were dying from heart problems caused by Viox and the pharmaceutical company in question KNEW IT and did nothing. On the other hand, one could argue that pulling that drug off the market was equally rash. The fact is, its a good drug. As long as the physician is aware of the adverse side effects there should be few problems. But in the end, as is often unfortunately the case, the extremists prevailed. My point in the case of Viox is that in medicine there are no easy answers. Those who post in this forum with pat perfect answers are deluding themselves. EVERYTHING needs to be subjected to state of the art scientific scrutiny and then either applied or thrown out. Conventional practitioners need to be open to alternative theorapies BUT adherants of alternative medicine need to get off their high horse and heed the warnings of conventional practitioners who have seen the damage that many of these theorapies have caused. Only carefully controlled PEER REVIEWED studies can validate or invalidate a given theorapy. The risks are just too great to trust your health to unproven claims made by those who are trying to profit from your health concerns whether they be giant pharmacuetical companies are neighborhood alternative providers.

Ferdinand  Posted: 05/02/2006 02:24

HERE'S SOME PLAIN ENGLISH AGAIN: 1. The worldwide public at large having detected it's wholesale failure are moving away from the conventional medicine of their fathers and mothers and are continually & increasingly opting for natural alternatives. 2. The pharm companies with their finger on the pulse of public choice have been realising this over the last four years. 3.Faced with this public about face the large Pharmeceutical giants have been scrambling to lobby for & provoke the implementation of new regulations so they can include natural foods, vitamins, minerals and herbs in the realm of medicine. The pharm. companies previously had little or no interest in this area. 4.It is their apparent desperation to bully this legislation into place which makes their greed so conspicuous. Read all about it at http://www.alliance-natural-health.org/index.cfm. Watch the movie "WE BECOME SILENT" Narrated by Dame Judi Dench. It's about time Irish people stood up for themselves; our TD's are supposed to WORK for us. Phone yours and ask them what they think of the power that the IMB yields. You dont have to be an authority on medicine just ask THEM "what they think" Ask your T.D./ M.E.P. to watch "WE BECOME SILENT" and send themm a copy of the IMB definition of a medicine. or the link to it. http://www.imb.ie/uploads/publications/6342926_guidelines.pdf If you don't take the time to ask your T.D. / M.E.P to work for you. They will continue to do nothing. It will be your fault not theirs! We'll all get sicker, The Pharm. companies will get richer and a new generation of T.D.'s will be born tommorow to do it all over again. Soon it will be too late

Emmy  Posted: 05/02/2006 02:51

Oh Bill..what a narrowminded patronising condescending person you are...To be honest I am surprised your comments were even posted..! I think anyone who even tries to argue with you is simply wasting their time... God forbid but the day may come when you or someone close to you is struck down by an illness or debilitating disease..If orthodox medicine fails you in this instance you may just look for an alternative/natural treatment.?? Or then again you may be so stubborn that you would rather die than seek help should orthodox medicine fail you. I am a great believer in some "alternative methods" yet I too believe that there is a place for conventional medicine..They each have an important role to play in society..I would like to see them work together rather than one constantly trying to dimiss the other.. Its all about having balance and an open mind..

Bill  Posted: 05/02/2006 12:51

I disagree with Emmy and Billy Ralph. Ferdinand opened his post by demanding plain English and therefore he was a legitimate target on that front. I almost never refer to people’s bad grammar and poor spelling which ARE a pointer to intelligence, education, reading habits and whether they are too lazy to write understandable posts. The reason my comments were posted was because Ferdinand raised the subject of plain English and then demolished it. Ferdinand would be advised to start asking questions and learn before swallowing all that internet based rubbish he has read. For Emmy to say I am narrow minded is plain wrong. I read on such matters as Quantum Mechanics, String Theory, Astronomy, Cosmology, Religion, sCAM, Evolution, Science in general. I read biographies, humour, plays, novels and Science Fiction. I also watch soccer & rugby. I play snooker & pool, listen to music, attend gigs, travel extensively and can hold a conversation on many subjects. That makes me the exact opposite to narrow minded. To actively oppose fraud in medicine does not make you narrow minded. Someone has to do it. Whether or not I fall ill or not will not an iota to whether or not sCAM works. I can assure you I am very unlikely to be taken in by a con artist; I can spot them at a kilometre. I am glad Emmy thinks that “there is a place for conventional medicine”. If she needs cancer treatment or a bypass this will become abundantly clear. sCAM has no role whatsoever to play except to enrich the chancers that practice it. To quote a cliché; do not have such an open mind that your brains fall out.

Ferdinand  Posted: 05/02/2006 14:25

HERE'S SOME PLAIN ENGLISH YET AGAIN: 1. The worldwide public at large having detected it's wholesale failure are moving away from the conventional medicine of their fathers and mothers and are continually & increasingly opting for natural alternatives. 2. The pharm companies with their finger on the pulse of public choice have been realising this over the last four years. 3.Faced with this public about face the large Pharmeceutical giants have been scrambling to lobby for & provoke the implementation of new regulations so they can include natural foods, vitamins, minerals and herbs in the realm of medicine. The pharm. companies previously had little or no interest in this area. 4.It is their apparent desperation to bully this legislation into place which makes their greed so conspicuous. Read all about it at http://www.alliance-natural-health.org/index.cfm. Watch the movie "WE BECOME SILENT" Narrated by Dame Judi Dench. It's about time Irish people stood up for themselves; our TD's are supposed to WORK for us. Phone yours and ask them what they think of the power that the IMB yields. You dont have to be an authority on medicine just ask THEM "what they think" Ask your T.D./ M.E.P. to watch "WE BECOME SILENT" and send themm a copy of the IMB definition of a medicine. or the link to it. http://www.imb.ie/uploads/publications/6342926_guidelines.pdf If you don't take the time to ask your T.D. / M.E.P to work for you. They will continue to do nothing. It will be your fault not theirs! We'll all get sicker, The Pharm. companies will get richer and a new generation of T.D.'s will be born tommorow to do it all over again. Soon it will be too late

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 05/02/2006 22:29

Bill, talking of misspellings, could you explain to us why you misspelled, no less than five times, the name of Sallie who wrote here twice last month? I could understand it if you wrote "Sally", but "Salie"?? Is it just carelessness?

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 06/02/2006 00:23

Errr ... Ferdinand ... What you are doing on this forum is commonly referred to as SPAMMING. Its not held in very high esteem in most parts and certainly is not advancing your arguments. You said what you had to say. We have all read your posts, so either at least rephrase your comments or have the courtesy to at least consider the comments of others.

Mary  Posted: 06/02/2006 09:18

Bill, nowadays people’s bad grammar and poor spelling are merely a pointer to their ability to click a button which performs a spellcheck function rather than any indication of intelligence, reading habits or laziness. Incidentally, surelt an increasing consumption of medecine is an indication that were are frquently sicker - not more healthy.

Bill  Posted: 06/02/2006 10:58

Joe, you really are scraping the bottom of the barrel. There are two people with similar names posting, Sallie and Sally. Names are very individual things and can be spelled however a person wishes. So it’s not possible to determine how someone correctly spells their name. I wear glasses and I saw the two “l”'s together as one. In fact I am due to make an appointment to get a new pair of glasses. I am at that age where one needs ones glasses changed more regularly. I did actually notice that the spelling was unusual as the normal spelling is “Sally”. People do spell Sally as Sallie or Salie or even Sali. Therefore I could argue that any of these spelling is correct. There are people posting from all over the world here and I am hardly going to object to how they spell their name or pay that much attention to it. Furthermore in my post I pointed out that we all make typos and spelling errors and some times the spelling checkers can replace a word with the wrong word, however this does not take in the slightest from my point. Someone who demands plain English and then makes so many grammatical and spelling errors cannot be taken seriously. It’s as if he claimed to be a mathematician and then made an excessive number of adding mistakes.

Bill  Posted: 06/02/2006 12:54

Mary, are you seriously suggesting that Ferdinand’s post has anything to do with spelling checkers? I could write a 10 page document on your second point but think about this; 1. People 1000 years ago didn’t have medicines, so yes we take more 2. People 50 years ago didn’t have as many, so yes we take more 3. People in the past died of their illnesses so were not around to take medicines for the next lot of illnesses they got, so yes we take more 4. People suffered from illnesses and various conditions, we do not we take medicines, so yes we take more. 5 In future people will take more medicines then they do today

Mary  Posted: 06/02/2006 14:41

That is not what I said. If you read my post again, I pointed out that nowadays peoples bad grammar and poor spelling are merely a pointer to their ability to click a button which performs a spellcheck function rather than any indication of intelligence, reading habits or laziness.

Bill  Posted: 06/02/2006 16:22

Mary, I understand that your point is that people, generally, can have their spelling errors corrected by clicking on a spell checker. Are you also suggesting that the appalling English in Ferdinand’s post would be OK if he clicked on a spell checker? If so please tell me what amazing spell checker you know does this. If you cannot construct basic sentences it does indicate that you are not well read or well educated. Sloppy sentences also indicate mental laziness which is why a lot of people believe in rubbish. It is much easier to swallow a silly article in a rubbish newspaper or website than to critically analyse it. You will often hear people repeat an urban myth or pass on some silly CAM medical advice when even a modicum of thought would show that they are daft. The sCAM artist depends on this.

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 06/02/2006 21:57

Listen to this! (It is taken from flyers pushed in letter boxes and also on display in some shops). I have copied it exactly including bad grammar and upper case letters. WISDOM TEACHINGS! "Tony Ta-Khu is an International Spiritual Teacher and Channel. He is a Reiki and Seichem Master and he is Grand Master of the 'Egyptian Breath Of Life - The Breath of God', Healing and Transformation System. He leads Spiritual Workshops that transmit heart centred transformation and enlightenment. His Gatherings can be a life-changing event for every attendee. His teachings reveals the path to iniversal healing that holds the Vibrational frequencies of joyous spiritual awakenging". What on earth does that gibberish mean? What I know it means,is that some gullible people are going to be parted from their hard earned cash. This what alternative means - it means nothing but words.

Ferdinand  Posted: 06/02/2006 23:49

HERE'S SOME PLAIN ENGLISH: 1. The worldwide public at large having detected it's wholesale failure are moving away from the conventional medicine of their fathers and mothers and are continually & increasingly opting for natural alternatives. 2. The pharm companies with their finger on the pulse of public choice have been realising this over the last four years. 3.Faced with this public about face the large Pharmeceutical giants have been scrambling to lobby for & provoke the implementation of new regulations so they can include natural foods, vitamins, minerals and herbs in the realm of medicine. The pharm. companies previously had little or no interest in this area. 4.It is their apparent desperation to bully this legislation into place which makes their greed so conspicuous. Read all about it at http://www.alliance-natural-health.org/index.cfm. Watch the movie "WE BECOME SILENT" Narrated by Dame Judi Dench. It's about time Irish people stood up for themselves; our TD's are supposed to WORK for us. Phone yours and ask them what they think of the power that the IMB yields. You dont have to be an authority on medicine just ask THEM "what they think" Ask your T.D./ M.E.P. to watch "WE BECOME SILENT" and send themm a copy of the IMB definition of a medicine. or the link to it. http://www.imb.ie/uploads/publications/6342926_guidelines.pdf If you don't take the time to ask your T.D. / M.E.P to work for you. They will continue to do nothing. It will be your fault not theirs! We'll all get sicker, The Pharm. companies will get richer and a new generation of T.D.'s will be born tommorow to do it all over again. Soon it will be too late

Xy  Posted: 07/02/2006 15:46

Ferdinand. You are SPAMMING this niether lends support to your cause (quite the opposite in fact) nor helps people on this discussion.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 07/02/2006 16:07

What's happened to the irishhealth.com editors? Are they so overloaded that they're not watching what's coming in?

Ferdinand  Posted: 07/02/2006 21:11

Read the plain english, PLAIN ENGLISH!

Ferdinand  Posted: 07/02/2006 21:18

H E R E ' S S O M E M O R E!. Plain Englis That is :: The IMB is an organisagion who are destined to self destruct. They sense the winds of change and are getting very unnerved. Irish people will not allow themselves to be downtrodden by corporate greed. A peruvian plant called Maca (lepidium meyenni) which has been eaten in Peru for thousands of years is now the subject of an attempt of being classed as a medicine which means that it would need IMB authorisation to be sold here. Many doctors in the U.S. have recently been reccomending Maca in place of HRT. For those of you who dont know; HRT was recently reclassified by the WHO from a possible carcinogen to a carcinogen. The United Nations in a report on nutrition in South America cited Maca as one of the indigenous crops that natives should reinstate in their diets as a source of supernutririon. Maca is a food not a medicine. it is an amazingly nutritious root vegetable. It can help as a source of basic nutrition and seems to enhance many aspects of physical wellbeing. The IMB, worried that it may actually replace some medicines are trying to use their powers of classification to stop the lossses to their corporate sponsors. The IMB, now faced with the possibility of Irish people using their inalienable right to free choice of what to eat are using their power to end that right. It's about time Irish people stood up for themselves; our TD's / MEP's are supposed to WORK for us. Phone yours and ask them what they think of the power that the IMB yields. You dont have to be an authority on medicine just ask THEM "what they think" encourage your friends to write these letters also. Ask them it they are aware that if a food is discovered that is as nutritious as Maca and may actually help the nations health with no side effects and at a low cost. (about the price of a carrot) The IMB can actually reclassify it as a medicine. If you don't take the time to ask your T.D. / MEP to work for you. They will continue to do nothing. It will be your fault not theirs! We'll all get sicker, The Pharm companies will get richer and a new generation of T.D.'s will be born tommorow to do it all over again. Read all about it at the Alliance for Natural Health website http://www.alliance-natural-health.org/ Watch the movie narrated by Dame Judi Dench "We become silent".

Mary  Posted: 08/02/2006 08:58

I see your point bill. In fact I ran spell checker on Ferdinands last post and it found 10 spelling grammar mistakes. Actually, the grammar checker in Word (Office 97) used to try to recontruct sentences to make them more reader friendly. I don't know if it still does this. Ferdinand. I know 7 women off-hand on HRT and all say it has totally changed their lives and they are their old selves again. You must remember that the hormone only replaces what the body is no longer capable of producing. Like a diabetic takinf insulin. I am quite puzzled that HRT, which contains much lower levels of hormone than the pill, should be regarded as carcinogenic while the pill (contraceptive pill) is not. Could you direct me to the FDA report which has reclassified HRT and doEs this refer to all forms of it?

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 08/02/2006 18:33

Mary, I am surprised that you are taking Ferdinand seriously. If you have the stomach to sit down and read his posts they are meaningless.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 08/02/2006 20:47

Ferdinand, I think you are overreacting on this issue. Can you give any recent examples of 'foods' that have been 'reclassified' as 'medicines'? I can't think of that happening here in the US, thats for sure. Now there have been substances (like ephedra) that have been outrightly banned because they were killing too many people, but nothing I can think of that has been reclassified as a 'medicine'. Actually, here in the US a number of prescription medicines have been released for over the counter sale recently which has resulted in lower prices due to increased competition. And doctors here commonly 'prescribe' foods for treatment of disease. Many doctors here are admonishing their patients to make use of the Dash Diet (dashdiet.org) which is totally nutrition based. Also, a large group of doctors here is PUBLICLY complaining about the big drug companies giving gifts to doctors for prescibing their drugs. One large HMO has gone so far as to ban such gifts outright. So I think you are giving the big drug companies far too much credit. They are really not nearly as powerful as you suggest. They have a number of enemies in high places. One of the very real problems is the fact that here in the US they single handedly fund so much of the medical research. This means that beneficial foods and herbs get far too little attention when it comes to research. As for HRT, the fact of the matter is this, estrogen, even natural estrogen produced within the body itself, is a risk factor for certain types of cancer for certain women. It IS NOT a carcinogen. As for maca, there is a lot of peer reviewed research going on on it presently and it looks very promising and it is fairly well established that it doesn't have any great amount of toxicity. Hopefully the research will continue and doctors will start recommending it more to people. But that doesn't mean its going to be declared a drug. My own doctor told me to take vitamin E for an ailment and there is simply no indication at all that anyone is going to declare vitamin E to be a 'medicine' or drug. Are the big drug companies happy about the discovery of foods with high degrees of health benefits? Probably not since they have a vested interest in selling their high margin prescription drugs. And for sure they will probably do all in their power to stonewall such discoveries. But they won't stop progress, I can guarantee that. Look at the money they made off of ulcer treatments until the Aussie researches discovered they were caused by a virus and could be cleaned up with one antibiotic treatment. Do you think they were happy about that? But in the long term they didn't stop it. And they won't stop foods like maca. Eventually doctors will probably be recommending it to certain people just like they recommend fruits and veggies today.

Bill  Posted: 09/02/2006 10:44

Ferdinand do you mind me asking you what age you are? Why do you keep mentioning the actress Dame Judi Dench? Would you have her design a ‘plane or a bridge?

Ferdinand  Posted: 09/02/2006 21:48

For more Plain English Please go to this page http://www.irishhealth.com/discussion/message.html?dis=2&topic=6301

Chana  Posted: 10/02/2006 12:22

The link Ferdinand has supplied (cross posting) contains pretty much the same blurb as he has posted here and makes just as little sense, in my view.

Bill  Posted: 10/02/2006 18:10

F. CAn you undersatnd dis plane english sentence? "Why do you keep mentioning the actress Dame Judi Dench?"

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 11/02/2006 01:47

Ferdinand, when doctors recommend a particular remedy to their patients, they are concerned with three primary things. 1) They want to be sure that the substance contains what it claims to contain and nothing else. That is why most medications are actually tested by third party labs to make sure they are accurately labled. Here in the US we are familiar with the term 'USP' (usp.org). The United States Pharmacopeial Convention Inc. is a respected verifier of medications AND supplements. And once a 'food' is enhanced and packaged in pill form, it is really no longer a 'food'. It becomes a defacto remedy because thats why people take these things. In any case the first step the alternative medicine /'health food' industry needs to do is to get their formulations standardized and independently verified by USP. Doing that will gain them respect among traditional doctors who actually CARE as to what their patients are actually ingesting. 2) The second major concern of doctors is 'Is it safe?'. And I think that is a very reasonable question. Once a substance is verified in terms of ingredients and consistancy, its safety needs to be assured, either in terms of having ingredients known to be safe or in terms of being submitted for appropriate research. 3) Doctors also care as to whether a given substance is effective and appropriate for the situation at hand. Here again these things need to be researched. All three of the above are reasonable expectations and unfortunately most of the purveyors of alternative treatments refuse to submit to third party verification and testing and choose instead to try to wage a sort of guerilla war against conventional medicine. I, for one don't find this approach very helpful in dealing with the medical crisis we are all facing. Actually, a little less PLAIN ENGLISH and a little more OLD FASHIONED INTEGRITY would be refreshing. None of the medical doctors I know make their money selling medicine, but I've noticed an aweful lot of alternative providers are making lots of money of off the snake oil they market. So if your looking for dirt, don't stop with the big drug companies, the alternative medicine racket is loaded with it.

Anonymous  Posted: 15/02/2006 07:01

I thought this was a genuine message about alternative medicine. then, I saw it was from John Williams. It is so repetitive what you are saying it must be 4 years ago I first saw your name knocking alternative medicne. Did you have a bad experience or do you have a bee in your bonnet about lots of things.

Bill  Posted: 15/02/2006 10:25

What does this mean, “I thought this was a genuine message about alternative medicine”? Did you mean to say that we should just discuss sCAM uncritically? Whether or not sCAM works has nothing to do with John Williams, his bees in his bonnet or his experiences. It either works or it doesn’t. Throwing in irrelevant comments is part of sloppy illogical thinking which is the sort of thing leads people to believe in sCAM in the first place.

Anonymous  Posted: 15/02/2006 11:53

Doesn't take form the fact that many people all over hte country get better while using it and so swear by many of the methods.

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 14/03/2006 22:26

I see a report in today's Irish Times Health Supplement (14-03-06) that one of the sCAM industry's pet theories has been disproved ie. B vitamins cut the risks of heart attack and strokes. The large studies were carried out in Norway and Canada. According to the report 'the findings are the latest in a series of recent studies that have found vitamins and other dietary supplements fail to have the health benefits for which they are touted'. 'nough said.

Bill  Posted: 15/03/2006 12:57

Anon of the 15th of Feb says “that many people all over hte country get better while using SCAM and so swear by many of the methods.” People do NOT get better using sCAM, they just THINK they do. People get better all the time, naturally, and if they have just taken some magic potion they often think that the magic potion cured them. That is WHY people get conned so easily. That is why they then “swear” by the “cure” and convince other illogical people to try it.

Anonymous  Posted: 15/03/2006 15:58

If people could "get better naturally" so easily, then why bother going to doctors @ €50 a go for three minutes and a scribbled perscription at all

Too Much  Posted: 15/03/2006 17:09

In response to William Grogan's comentary dated 06/04/2005. Please checkout the following two sites: Both my mother and brother (a priest) are quite religious. I have seen the effects of their faith. My mother has suffered with pain (rheumatoid and osteo arthritis) for over 30 years and is still not wheel chair bound. She has been through every painkiller and steroid known. He immune system is depleted and the docs are suprised she continues with the strength she does. My brother has battled cancer for over 6 years now. It has gone metastatic and as he says himself he has gone way past his due date according to the specialists. They are shocked at his survival considering he has turned down whatever treatment options they have offered for quality of life. He has cleaned up his diet even more avoiding processed foods for fresh, organic fruit and veg. He detoxes with a aloe vera based drink he makes himself and every so often he uses essiac for self treatment. To look at him he is the picture of health. But it is his faith that keeps him going and this is how he explains it to others. His diet is secondary. And who am I to question? (I am not a religious person at all but a scientist). I hope this answers in some way your "Point 10" query.

Bill  Posted: 15/03/2006 18:58

Slight difference. Much of what doctors prescribe DOES cure you or at least alleviates the symptoms. Furthermore it is a visit to your GP that may result in spotting a serious illness. A visit to a quack will not. You could go to a doctor with a cough, he decides to do a test and maybe refer you to a consultant who diagnoses lung cancer. If that is done in time there is a chance that you may be cured. On the other hand you call into a quack who prescribes knat’s piss which you waste a few weeks taking until you are then diagnosed with inoperable cancer. In fact most cancers can be cured if caught in time. The skill and experience of your GP can make the difference between life and death and maybe add another 30 years to your life. What’s €50 when compared to your health? What value is a tiny €10 bottle of plain water sold as a Homeopathy remedy? What value are weekly €50 Acupuncture treatments that stick needles in non-existent “energy channels”? If I’m going to be charged €50 (and my doctor charges €35 btw) I’d rather it was an overcharge from a professional than a lesser amount but a total con.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 15/03/2006 22:31

While there are certainly plenty of scamsters pushing alternative cures, I think that those who label CAM as sCAM have got their collective heads in the sand. Unfortunately that includes some doctors who are so biased against anything that doesn't originate in a pharmaceutical lab that they are without hope. So what if B vitamins don't offer protection against heart disease as some claim. People make all kinds of claims about various substances and all of those claims should indeed be viewed with suspicion, but not the kind of suspicion that just writes them off as some sort of medical heresy. Rather the kind of suspicion that seeks to find the truth. I salute the folks that did the vitamin B study and debunked the myth of cardiological benefits. That is one rabbit trail eliminated. But such is not always the outcome. With many CAM substances the benefits can be verified by scientific study. One example is a recent study on the benefits of dark chocolate reported in the Scientific American. ( http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=000D0AA3-40AA-1403-80AA83414B7F0000 ). People need to be informed of these beneficial AND safe products so that they can avoid costly and often dangerous conventional remedies. Doctors, whose whole purpose is to deliver healing, fail in their mission when they cease to be objective and operate on the basis of bias against anything regarded as non-conventional. They fall into the same trap as those who persecuted people like Lister and Pastuer whose unconventional approaches to disease have resulted in better health for us all.

Chana  Posted: 16/03/2006 11:07

But there are people who claim alternative medecine DOES actually cure them. Also, JAMA comfirmed recently the benefits of acupuncture in treating back pain.

Bill  Posted: 16/03/2006 11:18

George, your only example in support of sCAM is chocolate? Chocolate isn't a sCAM. Are you serious?

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 16/03/2006 17:07

Bill, what I am saying is beware of using such a broad brush. I am glad to hear that you agree that chocolate is not a "sCAM". But many on this forum have given the impression that anything not originating from a pharmaceutical company IS a "sCAM". And my point is that such is simply not true. Research archives are full of promising data on stuff that is making the rounds in CAM circles. To point out a few: CoQ10, fish oil, aloe vera (internal), noni, and I could go on forever. Some, like fish oil, have been shown to be very safe and are now being adopted by conventional practitioners, but I has been promoted by those branded "sCAM artists" for as long as I can remember. Others like noni carry risks that would not be present if their use was guided by a competent medical professional, but since it as branded as "sCAM" EVEN THOUGH mainstream peer reviewed research has demonstrated its benefits, people have to resort to using it in secret and taking unnessary risks. My gripe with conventional medicine is NOT that it requires these things to be tested, my gripe rather is that many very promising products simply don't get the research attention they deserve because conventional medicine focuses on those products with lots of marketing money behind them and that is a major disservice to patients who would benefit greatly from CAM cures that would be proven effective if only they got the research dollars they deserved. The bottom line is that people are going to health food stores and pharmacies and ingesting all kinds of stuff, including stuff that is benefitting them, stuff that is simply draining their pockets and unfortunately, stuff that is worsening their conditions or even poisoning them. Because of the sheer number of people at risk, this should be veiwed as a public health issue of the first order and enough public money should be made available to thoroughly test all of these substances, starting with the most popular ones, with willing volunteers AND the cooperation of the health food industry and promote what works, require warnings on what doesn't, and ban whats dangerous. It is past time for a rational measured approach to this issue and simply getting on boards like this one and casting flaimbait back and forth with the CAM extremists benefits no one. It is time for medical professionals and CAM promoters to work together to find out what works and what doesn't, and those who refuse to cooperate on that task should be sent to go sit in the corner until they get their attitude adjusted.

Bill  Posted: 16/03/2006 17:08

People claim to see ghosts, Holy Mary on the side of churches, UFOs, aliens etc….. So claiming something proves absolutely nothing. People generally do not actually claim that sCAM cured them. They will say something like, “I had a pain and took daffodil sap and the pain went away”. That may be a statement of fact. What is not a fact is that there is a connection between taking the magic potion and the improvement in the condition. See here for a review of these studies http://tinyurl.com/zles7 which says, “Conclusions. Because this systematic review did not clearly indicate that acupuncture is effective in the management of back pain, the authors would not recommend acupuncture as a regular treatment for patients with low back pain”. I remember reading that recent study you refer to and if you read it properly you will see that the study does NOT claim acupuncture is any use, in fact it stated that sham acupuncture was just as good. Read the study properly.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 17/03/2006 11:47

This discussion is about Alternative Medicine, also known as complementary medicine, also known as CAM. These are well-known terms, clearly defined in any good dictionary. Bill and John Williams have been referring to "sCAM", something that they haven't defined. It would help this discussion if they would talk about the same things that other people are talking about. Of course they can call something a "scam" or a "fraud" if they want, but they would do better if they could come up with evidence, or reasoning. Calling acupuncture, for instance, a "scam" does not make it a scam. I asked Bill & John many months ago to produce evidence and name just a few of the "untold number of scientific studies" supporting their stance on acupuncture, homeopathy and fluoridation. They failed. So why do they display such religious certainty all the time?

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 17/03/2006 21:32

George. You claim that the recent study of Vit B has eliminated another rabbit trail. I wish. I can guarantee you that if you go into any 'health food (sic) shop' tomorrow someone will try and sell you Vit B 'for your heart'. Vitamin B is one of the most studied vitamins in the entire vitamin spectrum and any cardiovascular effects would have surfaced by now. But that wont stop the sCAM merchants from flogging it for all sorts of spurious purposes. Unfortunately the gullible public buy it.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 18/03/2006 00:38

John, I absolutely agree with you on that one. In many cases in the health food realm it is a matter of the blind leading the blind and the health food manufacturers go laughing all the way to the bank. Certainly the health food industry has not done the best job of being self regulating. And I think that is really too bad because they produce some really good stuff. I had heart palpitations that were driving me nuts and my doctor prescribed metoprolol which wasn't much help and was unable to come up with anything else. The palpitations went on for five years and became really severe and annoying. Then I happened to take aloe vera for a stomach ailment and the palpitations immediately went away. I stopped the aloe, the palpitations came back, restarted the aloe and they went away again. I have discussed it breifly with a researcher and he was certain it had something to do with the aloe eliminating some sort of inflamation that was causing the palpitations. He was a bit annoyed that I hadn't had a before and after check on my CRP levels. I have since discovered that there are peer reviewed studies crediting aloe with benefits for the heart but the health food industry ignores that and instead peddles things like vitamin B to people with heart problems. I just really don't understand. I don't understand why the health food purveyers refuse to examine REAL clinical research before making their recommendations just like I don't understand why the drug industry continues to sell drugs when they know they have problems without having the integrity to issue appropriate warnings. Quite honestly, I have to admire the docs. Most of the ones I have met are straight up people who really care about their patients and are really frustrated with all the crap they have to put up with in order to try to do their job.

Bill  Posted: 18/03/2006 11:53

Joe, saying that we have not come up with studies does not mean that we have not. Joe jumps at the tiniest “evidence” from an unpublished student study (via the laughingly called Irish Dentists against Fluoridation (100 members but no names) ) to support his position and then ignores the vast body of scientific evidence that condemns his position, e.g. MMR v Autism. A sort of studies myopia. The Homeopathy meta study conducted in Switzerland recently is another example. The fact the there is not even a suggestion as to how we could do Quality Control on Homeopathy clearly shows how weak Joe’s position is. Another example is that he ignores the fact that there are no “Energy Channels” which knocks Acupuncture on the head. Joe is incapable of differentiation between bad studies and good studies. The Swiss meta study actually showed that there was a correlation between how bad the study was carried out and whether it showed evidence for Homeopathy. That was a damming conclusion. As John said, no matter what evidence or studies are put forward badly read, gullible and illogical people will continue to buy sCAM products. That is why they are going to be banned under the new CODEX rules. Stupid people DO have to be protected from themselves. Definition of sCAM: The monetary fraud associated with the selling of health related potions, supplements and treatments that have no known benefit or scientific backing which involves the deception of the public by the spreading of lies, exaggerations and medical sounding pseudo science. Any further amendments to the above definition? Joe is right we do need a definition of sCAM.

T (Trish)  Posted: 20/03/2006 10:39

I haven't posted in a while - ust to note, the various colleges of homeopathy I contacted quite soem time ago, still have provided any evidence as to the quality contol methods used in homeopatjy. In fact, they have (all 19 as I recall) provided no response whatsoever. Interestingly I was at a famiuly function on Thursday night and I developed a headache (suspect it wasa rension headache), my mother gave me a solpedeine, my aunt gave me 3 drops of 'Bach rescue flower remedy' and I also hada strong coffee. Which one do you think eased the symptoms of my headache?

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 20/03/2006 20:34

Bill, your mixed-up post (18/03/2006) is essentially the old argument ad hominem. Since most of it is time-wasting and red herrings, I'll deal with it as succinctly as possible: You said: "saying that we have not come up with studies does not mean that we have not." Well, you haven't. "Joe jumps at the tiniest 'evidence'..." No, I don't jump. That "unpublished student study" is being published now and the attempted suppression of it has caused ructions in the U.S. medical establishment, not to mention reports in many major U.S. and British newspapers, TV stations, etc. I dealt with your jibes about "the laughingly called Irish Dentists against Fluoridation (100 members but no names)" repeatedly in the past (17/05/2005, 14/12/2005, 23/12/2005). You demean yourself by repeating them. And the name is Irish Dentists Opposing Fluoridation (www.idof.net). Bill, you're the one who "ignores the vast body of scientific evidence that condemns his position". You're the one who cannot come up with scientific evidence to support your convictions. "The Homeopathy meta study conducted in Switzerland" is one study. I asked you to name nine others, and you failed. Why should I suggest how you could do "Quality Control on Homeopathy"? You're the one who has a problem with it. Your failure to come up with evidence clearly shows how weak YOUR position is. You're claiming that there are no "Energy Channels", and that that "knocks Acupuncture on the head." It's up to you to prove that claim; it's nothing to do with me. While you're proving that, you should explain to us how Chinese doctors carry out surgery using acupuncture instead of anaesthetics. Are you claiming it's all placebo effect? If so, you need to define and explain a lot more than you have been doing. "Joe is incapable of differentiation between bad studies and good studies." Prove it. "The Swiss meta study actually showed that there was a correlation between how bad the study was carried out and whether it showed evidence for Homeopathy. That was a damming conclusion." The Swiss study is interesting and is being discussed -- and criticized. I note that you don't object to the many unpublished studies used by the Swiss study. I said a long time ago that I would admit it as one study that seems to support the case against homeopathy. We still have a long way to go. "As John said, no matter what evidence or studies are put forward badly read, gullible and illogical people will continue to buy sCAM products." How about you and John putting forward some GOOD EVIDENCE. That's what I challenged you to do many months ago. "Stupid people DO have to be protected from themselves." Sounds like fascism to me. "Definition of sCAM: The monetary fraud... Any further amendments to the above definition?" Well, for a start, it's very woolly and imprecise. I note that you mention supplements. I'm guessing you mean you want to outlaw all vitamin supplements, except on prescription. Consider just one of them -- vitamin C. It has been known for many years that vitamin C in very high doses fights at least 30 (thirty) major diseases. With no risk to health. It's totally safe; if you overdose you get diarrhoea, that's all. Vitamin C is also easy to produce and very cheap. Bill, why would you want to stop us getting our hands on it? The medical literature is replete with scientific studies showing major health benefits from use of vitamin supplements. It is almost impossible to find a report of a death from vitamin overdosing. The last such report was years ago. Are you aware of this, Bill?

Bill  Posted: 21/03/2006 00:02

Strictly speaking we don't know. Even if the headache went away none of the 3 "remedies" may have been responsible. If one was we don't know which one. I suspect that a glass of water would have done the trick. Watch out for the S., its adictive. I admire your attempt to get the sCAM artists to come up with an answer. Please post all 19 names jsut to embarass them. Maybe Dr Billy Ralph can help as he surley can. Can the so called Homepathic Hospital not offer a suggestion as to QC?

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 21/03/2006 03:32

Bill, the problem of studying acupuncture with human subjects is the difficulty involved with ruling out placebo effects. But the intriguing factor is the achievement of positive results in veterinary medicine. To argue against those studies, one would have to argue that animals experience placebo relief that is directly measurable with medical instruments and that seems like a real long shot. Example (one of many): Effect of acupuncture on intraocular pressure in normal dogs. Kim MS, Seo KM, Nam TC. Department of Veterinary Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine,Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea. The effect of acupuncture on intraocular pressure (IOP) was evaluated in normal dogs. After determination of baseline pressure, acupuncture was applied at 3 acupoints (LI-4, LIV-3 and GB-37) for 20 min. After acupuncture treatment, IOP were significantly lowered 2.7 +/- 0.1 in left eye, 1.7 +/- 0.7 in right eye, respectively (p

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 21/03/2006 09:52

The Irish Medical News this week has an article entitled "Towards the validation of complementary medicine", discussing some of the scientific evidence in favour of CAM: www.irishmedicalnews.ie/articles.asp?Category=PView&ArticleID=15764

T (Trish)  Posted: 21/03/2006 15:08

Injesting higher doses than 1000mg of vit c per day, can cause cause the Birth control pill to malabsorb. I don't know about you, Bill, but I'd call unintended pregnancy a pretty huge side effect myself. Actually, I am concerned about how they do Quality Control on homeopathic substances. Not that I injest any, but how on earth do you expect me to trust them when there is no Quality control done or evidence of Quality Control. Actually, Bill, a glas of water would not have done the trick, I reckon as it was a tension headache rather than a dehydration headache. I recognise the difference in symptoms and I drink about 2 and half to three litres of water every day. Am unlikely to get addicted to Solpadiene as I only ever take it when I have a headache which isn't often but thanks for the warning. Incidentally the caffeine is also addicted but I think it's too late for me now. Will try to root out the 19 names I contacted. Make take some time but if I don't come back to you feel free to give me a verbal nudge. T.

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 21/03/2006 23:05

An intersting article in today's (20th March 06) New York Times on the impediments to the final push to eliminate polio worldwide. One of the main impediments was the belief among muslims in Nigeria that the polio vaccine was a Western plot to sterilise muslim girls. The northern states of Nigeria halted the vaccination programme because of the hysteria. Within a couple of years 18 once polio-free countries had outbreaks traceable to Nigeria. In 2001, there were fewer than 500 confirmed cases of polio paralysis worldwide. In 2005, this number had jumped to 1900. So, a serious disease like polio was within shouting distance of being eliminated, but has spread again in such a way that its final eradication has been put back by years. There is a lesson for us in Ireland. The hysteria in Nigeria (and to a lesser extent in India) was caused by rumours which were based on distortion of the facts, amplified by an alarmist media (does this ring a bell with the hysteria and lies surrounding the MMR vaccine in this country). If we want to eliminate life threatening and disfiguring diseases such as measles we have to ignore the 'alternative' witchdoctors and make sure that every child is protected.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 22/03/2006 21:07

I want to whole-heartedly second what johnwilliams stated regarding childhood vaccinations. I view the vaccination issue far differently than the fluoride issue. Lack of flouride can cause a child to lose his or her teeth. Lack of a vaccination can cause death. While all vaccinations can cause side effects, neglecting them is simply far more dangerous. I grew up in a world without vaccinations and I saw children die from measels and polio. I have seen people die from hepatitis B and as a result of that experience I had my own children vaccinated as soon as the vaccine became available. People who fear side effects from vaccinations are literally straining at a gnat and swallowing a fly. They are trading an extremely small risk for an inordinately large one. So to Ireland (and the rest of the world) I would say: Do the right thing, make sure your children get their shots. You will stand a better chance of winning the lottery than of ever regretting it.

Mary  Posted: 23/03/2006 10:00

John , that's horrendous to thisnk that propaganda - combined with either naeivity or ignornace can actually kill.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 23/03/2006 13:51

George, I'm sure you mean well but you're way off the mark in relation to vaccinations and fluoridation. You wrote: "Lack of flouride can cause a child to lose his or her teeth." That is absolutely false. I showed above (20/07/2005) that no one needs fluoride -- ever. If you don't trust the U.S. Government authorities, how about the U.K. Government: "No essential function exists for fluoride in the diet." (DHSS Subject Report No 41 1996-1998) In any case, you should acquaint yourself with the latest from the NAS National Research Council in Washington: "4 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water -- does not protect against adverse health effects [from fluoride]." (www4.nationalacademies.org/news.nsf/isbn/030910128X?OpenDocument) And we're supposed to believe that 1 mg/l is safe! As if some people don't drink four times as much tap-water as others... The UK government-commissioned York Review showed a linear relationship between fluorosis and water fluoride level. According to the Centers for Disease Control in Washington, 32% of American children now have some form of dental fluorosis, with 2 to 4% of children having the moderate to severe stages. (CDC 2005) "Dental fluorosis is extensively described by toxicologists as 'the first visible sign of chronic fluoride poisoning'." -- Taber, CW. Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, F.A. Davis Co., Philadelphia, PA, 1994 To summarize: Fluoride is not a nutrient; it is a poison. Nobody needs fluoride, ever, under any circumstances. There is no such thing as "fluoride-deficient drinking water". Tooth decay is caused by sugar, not by lack of fluoride. George, are you arguing for forced fluoridation? (Ireland is the only democracy with mandatory fluoridation of water.) As for vaccinations... You wrote: "People who fear side effects from vaccinations are literally straining at a gnat and swallowing a fly. They are trading an extremely small risk for an inordinately large one." Playing down vaccination side-effects as you did is an insult to the enormous number of people who have suffered. The side-effects are extensively documented in the medical literature, though some would say that's only the tip of an iceberg of vaccine damage. In the western world, we don't fear polio. Why? Because we have clean water and sewerage systems, not because of vaccination. In southern countries 25,000 people die EVERY DAY because of contaminated water supplies (and western governments are trying to give them vaccination rather than clean water). And if we fear measles it is only because of scare stories from the "health" authorities and from people like John Williams. How many healthy children die from measles? We need to get things in perspective. This demonizing of parents who don't vaccinate their children must stop. As if they're some threat! To whom? To the children who are vaccinated? (What's the threat?) To themselves? The parents have accepted the responsibility, so what's the problem? I know many children who are unvaccinated, and are going to remain so. They are all perfectly healthy. They get measles, mumps, etc., are a little bit sick for a little while, and recover. No problem. Their parents know what's what, and they don't need your advice, George.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 23/03/2006 13:53

Trish, you wrote that "Injesting higher doses than 1000mg of vit c per day, can cause cause the Birth control pill to malabsorb." I can't find evidence for this; perhaps you could track it down. There are a few known drug interactions with megadoses of vitamin C, one of them being the contraceptive pill, but the effect I have seen documented is that the pill reduces the blood plasma level of vitamin C. I guess people have to make their own judgement on the question -- which is more important for their health, the vitamin or the pill?

Trish  Posted: 23/03/2006 17:07

I know unvaccinated children who got measls mumps and rubella in one case who are brain amaged, blind, have heart defects and in the case of rubella, the pegnant mother who came in contact wiht the children, had stillborn twins as a result of geting infected. Joe, considering I can get my vit c, roma couple of fresh oranges, a few glasssesof orange juoice and a nice bit of broccoli, I think 'll risk not going for your mega-supplement as agains the risk of a medically contra-indicated pregnancy, ill-health, hospital stay, surgery, scarring, aneasthetic risks and a horendours effect on my life in general.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 23/03/2006 23:51

Joe, I am not for "mandatory fluoridation" and I am not for "mandatory vaccination", but I am very much against ignorance and your claim that polio and measles come from contaminated water demonstrates just how scientifically ignorant a person can be. I grew up here in the US with polio all around me and we all had clean, chlorinated water. The real and obvious reason that people live free of polio today is because that they live amongst largely innoculated populations that are immune to the disease as a result and ditto for measles. You like to think of yourselves as the enlightend ones, but in reality you are no more enlightened than the medical professionals of years gone by who insisted that disease was the result of 'bad air'. So no one is going to stop you from singing 'Ring around the roses', but just remember the last line of that old refrain is 'ashes, ashes, all fall down'. Do you know what that was referring to?

Bill  Posted: 24/03/2006 11:11

Here is a website devoted to research into victims of Chiropratic. http://www.chirovictims.org.uk/ It also has a link to the anti-quackery webring.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 26/03/2006 12:13

George, I know the old refrain. It is interesting to consider the history of these diseases. Whether you meant it or not, you seemed to imply that polio doesn't come from contaminated water. (I didn't make any such claim about measles.) I don't think anyone is disputing where polio comes from. I think this is the consensus opinion: http://microbiology.columbia.edu/pico/Chapters/Epidemiology.html "Poliovirus is spread by the "fecal-oral" route, which, despite its unsavory name, is a common route of microbial infection. The virus can be isolated from human feces and sewage. In areas where raw sewage enters a watershed without treatment, polio can be found in rivers, lakes, and streams. When a susceptible person drinks water from one of these sources (possibly from the kitchen tap when local water supplies are not treated properly), the virus enters his digestive tract." About the polio vaccines: http://www.accessexcellence.org/AE/AEC/CC/polio.html "But, there was a problem with the original Salk vaccine. The vaccine actually induced 260 cases of poliomyelitis, including 10 deaths. The problem was traced to incomplete inactivation of some virus particles, which was soon corrected. Since then the vaccine has been highly effective, with a 70 - 90% protection rate." Highly effective? 70 - 90% doesn't sound great to me... And the other polio vaccine, the Sabin one: "However, a major disadvantage is that it cannot be used for patients with compromised immune systems because it is a live virus and can cause disease in these patients. It also cannot be used by those in close contact with immunocompromised patients because the live virus in the vaccine can be shed in the feces of those who ingest it, and can possibly be transmitted to the immunocompromised patient. Another disadvantage of the Sabin oral vaccine is that those who have an enterovirus infection of the gastrointestinal tract when taking the oral vaccine may not develop the immune response." Quite a few cases of polio have been caused by the Sabin vaccine, in America and elsewhere. Now consider what happened with polio and other diseases in American during the 20th century. The general pattern is that epidemics and major outbreaks had gone into decline BEFORE vaccination started: "According to New York City Department of Health director Dr. Morris Greenberg, polio fatalities decreased by nearly 90 percent from 1915 to 1955, before the polio vaccine was available to the public in 1955 (Howard Hillemann, in Clinical Physiology 2:2, 1960). How can we truly say, then, that vaccination got rid of polio?" (http://www.doctoryourself.com/vaccin_2.html) In any case, we should consider what was happening before the 20th century: "Babies were frequently exposed to polioviruses. These infants did not contract the disease because their mothers' antibodies were passed on to them through breast feeding." (www.accessexcellence.org/AE/AEC/CC/polio.html) George, I wonder what you make of the approach of Dr Andrew Saul: http://www.doctoryourself.com/vaccination.html I believe the graphs on this page present true mortality figures: http://www.vaclib.org/intro/present/index.htm#8 "90% of Contagious Disease Mortality Disappeared Before Vaccination" Am I not reasonable in doubting the notion that vaccination is the great saviour of public health? Why hasn't life expectancy increased significantly since vaccination was introduced? Why are so many people sick, putting an enormous strain on health services? Why have incidences of so many diseases increased since the 1950s? (I think those are all obvious questions.)

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 27/03/2006 19:40

Joe, thank you for the link on polio. While I have no quibble regarding the information found on this web page, I do take issue with the interpretation you apply to it. I would first of all assert that "fecal-oral route" implies more than just contaminated water can pose a risk. While that may be the primary means of transmission, contaminated food could also conceivably be a problem as well. With all the great sanitation we have these days in terms of food and water, we are still struggling to keep stupid diseases like hepatitis A under control. Imagine having to deal with polio as well. I also find it interesting that this authoritative web page you cite implicitly endorses childhood polio vacination based on the same factors you cite in opposition to it. It also, contrary to your opinion, credits vacination with eradicating the disease. What is wrong with this picture? I suggest that it is your faulty interpretation of the data presented and that the website correctly interprets the data it presents. The second website you list goes on to state: " The discovery and use of polio vaccines has all but eliminated polio in the Americas." You ignore this conclusion and instead fixate on the inperfections of the vaccines. You also cite Dr. Andrew Saul. The fact is that Dr. Saul is a biologist with a PhD, not a medical doctor with an MD. The last website you provide is simply a blatantly anti-vaccination website. And they are simply wrong. Joe, I am not opposed to alternative approaches and I don't discount the value of nutritional theorapies, but neither can I discount the tremendous value of proven conventional approaches to the treatment of disease.

ssj  Posted: 28/03/2006 10:33

Why Alternative medicine has its own identity? The creator of the nature has created 2 types of living kingdoms, plants and animals. The balance of the universe is well maintained by the proper utilization of the knowledge of the usefullness of plants for the animals and animals for the plants. Plants give-up oxygen which is taken by the humans and vice-versa is also true. It is now proved that humans have longer & healthier life if pure vegetarian. Plants grow better when the excreta of the animals is used as manures. If diet containing exessive pungent item is consumed, the ano-rectal area burns on the next day while passing the bowel. Therefore it is easy to establish the relation of burning with the intake of earlier day's food. There are some plants/ herbs the provide long term effects on various systems in the body, but we are not able to establish the relation. Scientists worked on such aspects and could establish some concrete data. That is how the evolution of Alternative medicine took place. Herbal medicines are made of plant based products like corrinder, turmeric, asafoetida which are used in day-to-day food items. Unless having some therapeutic values, their recommendation would not have appeared. It is essential to study more and explain the effecacy in modern way rather than discarding them. This will be a rational approach.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 28/03/2006 14:46

More good publicity for megadoses of vitamin C: In the Independent today: http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/health_medical/article354063.ece Research backs theory that vitamin C shrinks tumours "Three cancer patients who were given large intravenous doses over a period of several months had their lives extended and their tumours shrunk, doctors reported yesterday." "The latest study, published in the Canadian Association's Medical Journal, could trigger renewed interest in Dr Linus Pauling's claims." There's also a general article about alternative medicine: http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/health_medical/article354149.ece And Dr John Fleetwood in the Irish Medical News recently: www.irishmedicalnews.ie/articles.asp?Category=Pview&ArticleID=15724 "A high vitamin C intake protects against developing rheumatoid disease (Annals of Rheumatic Diseases)." "Vitamin C and E in big alternative mega doses offer protection against Alzheimer’s disease (Archives of Neurology)."

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 28/03/2006 18:12

Joe, check out the following studies: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=14669249&query_hl=1&itool=pubmed_docsum http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=14739620&query_hl=1&itool=pubmed_docsum http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=15298088&query_hl=1&itool=pubmed_docsum

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 28/03/2006 22:15

I have two additional comments on Joe's recent post regarding vitamin C and vitamin E. First of all, the article he linked is really fascinating. There is certainly no doubt as to whether Linux Pauling was "on to something", he most certainly was. The problems come with the attempts to apply the knowledge. Which leads me to my second point. Taking "mega-doses" of anything for a sustained period of time is simply not wise. Even beneficial substances can have uninvited side effects, even dangerous side effects when taken at high enough doses. I would argue that people should try to take a reasonable amount of multiple substances, such as vitamins C and E, appropriate minerals, herbs such as aloe vera, garlic, and maca, and other beneficial substances such as CoQ10, fish oil and dark chocolate, rather than "ODing" on a select few. But clearly MUCH more research is needed on substances like vitamin C and clearly public health agencies need to step up to the plate because clearly research these promising substances are is not going to be funded by the big drug companies.

Trish (T)  Posted: 29/03/2006 08:41

Trials of “universally poor quality” have failed to show that spinal manipulation relieves acute or chronic back pain, with any improvements disappearing within three months, according to the authoritative, evidence-based website Bandolier (www.jr2.ox.ac.uk/Bandolier/) There is little evidence that consuming soy products is effective in managing hot flushes. Research suggesting that soya consumption may contribute to both male and female infertility has been published over the last two years. There is still room for scepticism over what happens during acupuncture. While the osteoarthritis trial found that acupuncture needles, applied to specific points on the leg, provide great pain relief and improved function, the migraine trial was less conclusive. While sufferers treated with acupuncture needles had around half the number of migraines compared to before treatment, so did those treated with sham needles – suggesting that it’s the expectation of success that works. Henry McQuay, professor of pain relief at Oxford University, says: “The great bulk of randomised controlled trials to date do not provide convincing evidence of pain relief over placebo.” A statistical analysis of 110 homeopathy trials, published in The Lancet in August 2005, reported no benefits beyond the placebo effect, warning that one favourable study by the World Health Organisation was “little more than pro-homeopathy propaganda”. The Lancet concluded that doctors should be: “Bold and honest with their patients about homeopathy’s lack of benefit, and with themselves about the failings of modern medicine to address patients’ needs for personalised care.” - All from the same article Joe.

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 29/03/2006 22:07

At least Joe is brave. To support his theory that Vit C 'cures' cancer he refers us to a report in the Independent newspaper (the British one). Of course when you look up the report you read the screaming headlines 'Research backs theory that Vit C shrinks tumours' but then you read the body of the report which explains that three (yes 3!) people were given the vitamin and that there was no attempt at a clinical trial. It was a typical 'alternative trial'. The article quotes 'researchers', but there was no research involved. I am afraid Joe that I wouldn't hold out much hope for a 'cure' for cancer from mega doses of Vit C based on that report.

Bill  Posted: 30/03/2006 08:43

Joe is there any chance whatsoever that you will ever READ these so called studies critically? Do you even understand what I mean by that sentence? You literally have never quoted a study that is of any significance whatsoever. Quoting a “study” concerning just THREE people over a 10 year period is utterly ridiculous, The newspaper article that you refer to concerns THREE individuals and provides not a shred of evidence linking their vitamin C intake to their health improvement. THREE people do not a STUDY make. In my opinion the UK Independent has gone seriously downhill since O’Reilly took it over. I heard in the news this morning that someone in Cork is offering an €18,000 a pop unauthorised "treatment" for MS.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 30/03/2006 20:29

The real news with regard to vitamin C and cancer is found at the end of the article where reference is made to two forthcoming studies, one in Montreal. This is really a followup on other studies wherein the three referenced cases were really just a footnote. Despite the claims of John and Bill to the contrary, the research at issue is really quite conventional and very much ongoing. References: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=15068981&query_hl=4&itool=pubmed_docsum http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=16567755&query_hl=4&itool=pubmed_docsum

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 31/03/2006 10:41

Thanks for all the responses to my post the other day. I find myself in agreement with George (28/03/2006 22:15). John & Bill tried to rubbish the study about vitamin C and cancer (Padayatty et al) published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. The study wasn't rubbish. It was peer-reviewed; it followed the guidelines of the US National Cancer Institute. John said: "It was a typical 'alternative trial'." John, perhaps you could explain what you mean by that. Bill asked: "Joe is there any chance whatsoever that you will ever READ these so called studies critically? Do you even understand what I mean by that sentence? You literally have never quoted a study that is of any significance whatsoever." Bill, I did read the study, and you can read it too -- here: http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/content/full/174/7/937 The CMAJ also has a commentary which discusses the limitations of the study: http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/content/full/174/7/956 The study reinforces what I wrote above on 19/10/2005 about previous research (also referred to by the CMAJ commentary).

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 31/03/2006 10:46

Talking of vaccinations, did anyone notice the following horror story reported this week? www.irishhealth.com/index.html?level=4&id=9220 "Infants needed surgery after BCG" "The research reveals that 58 children, mostly from the Dublin area, presented at Crumlin and Temple Street children's hospital from July 2002 to August 2004 with severe localised complications from the BCG vaccine... A total of 26 infants had to have surgery during the period of the study to treat their complications." I wonder if this was widely reported, and if not why not? That was just Dublin, and just one vaccine. (George, would you still say, as you stated above, that "People who fear side effects from vaccinations are literally straining at a gnat and swallowing a fly"?) Apart from side effects, there are numerous reports of the BCG vaccination being ineffective.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 03/04/2006 20:20

Joe, the problem is that TB MUST be eliminated because it is becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics and is still very much a problem. Vaccination is one way in which TB can be stopped and if we don't stop it before it stops the antibiotics, we will all be in serious trouble. So while these complications from vaccination are indeed very disturbing, they have to be viewed in the whole context and one must also remember that we are talking about a 1 in 1000 chance of even having a problem. And that problem will likely be much easier to treat than a case of TB. So sorry, even in this case, until you can show me another proven route to eliminating the disease, I remain on the side of immunization.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 03/04/2006 20:49

One thing people really need to keep in mind is that the abuses pointed out in this forum do not invalidate all forms of alternative approaches just as the abuses of conventional medicine do not invalidate the conventional approach to health management. And for those who would question the presence of abuses in the conventional realm, I will supply you with just one of many potential examples: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2112710,00.html

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 04/04/2006 15:48

George, you said: "... until you can show me another proven route to eliminating the disease..." Is it not obvious that vaccination is NOT a proven route to eliminating tuberculosis? Consider this report: http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,1745006,00.html Professor Roger Bouillon -- "one of the world's leading specialists on vitamin D" -- says people are not getting enough vitamin D: 'We already know that insufficient vitamin D increases the risk for osteoporosis, falls and fractures, but there is new evidence that even a mild deficiency can be associated with more tuberculosis, and some studies also suggest an increased risk for colon, breast and prostate cancer,' he said. That bears out the approach of people like Andrew Saul. (So what if he isn't a medical doctor? He has the ideas, the experience, and public acceptance.) Another in that camp is Max Gerson. Other more or less related approaches would be those of homeopathy and the anthroposophical medical movement (first developed by Rudolf Steiner) which rejects vaccination. See the various references to tuberculosis here: www.doctoryourself.com/prison.html www.doctoryourself.com/mccormick1951.html www.doctoryourself.com/vitamin_disease.html In other words, if people are looking after themselves well and getting plenty of vitamins, they're unlikely to contract tuberculosis, polio, cancer, and so on.

jal  Posted: 06/04/2006 11:37

I am having 2-3 small papilomas. Not troubling nor paining. Am afraid if they grow more and more. Is there any cure in alternative medicine?

Mary B  Posted: 06/04/2006 15:32

Jal, with papilomas - you need proper recognised medical attention, from an appropriaely qualified medical practitioner, strting prhaps with your GP an dyou need to act on this extremely promptly.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 07/04/2006 20:00

Well, after reading this little tid bit just off the press - http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,190977,00.html - I have to change my neutral position regarding fluoridation of public water. I now think it should be suspended until the issues surrounding its safety are resolved. As the article suggests, fluoride can easily be delivered to the teeth topically as opposed to systemically. Until the potential risks are fully quantified we as a society must err on the side of safety when lives are potetially at stake. It is unfortunate that it took a bombshell like this to wake us all up to the problem, but it is not the time to stonewall, its time to take action to protect our children.

Bill  Posted: 08/04/2006 12:48

George and Joe suffer from the same problem. Reading too much into single studies. Simply reading about a study proves nothing. One study done by a college student for her exams based on data that was not collected for the purpose that she used it for is a very weak indicator of anything. If your opinion on things was based on the last study published on that matter, your grasp on reality would zig zag about all over the place and at the very least you would conclude that absolutely everything causes cancer.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 08/04/2006 21:12

Good on you, George. We Irish people have to wonder when our minister for health is going to do some research like you have done, or just listen to a voice of reason. Remember, fluoridation is mandatory throughout the Republic of Ireland, uniquely in the world. See also www.irishhealth.com/index.html?level=4&id=9223&ss=fluoride (Note the quote from Mary Harney.)

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 09/04/2006 05:44

Bill, one thing that troubles me is this religious devotion to fluoridation. I would agree that fluoridation is useful, but there are just too many other ways to achieve the same results. For example, sealants and periodic fluoride applications in the dentist's office have been shown to be very effective in the case of children and yet they are very neglected, at least here in the US they are. Children should be brought in bus loads from the schools to get their teeth treated. The savings further on in life would more than cover the cost of the preventitive care. Instead, the easy route of pumping fluoride into the water is taken. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me, especially when there are doubts about its safety, and yes I agree there needs to be more studies, but fluoride levels could at least be lowered while this issue is sorted out. I find it fascinating that this study even went so far as to tie the rate of cancer to the level of fluoridation. That is getting pretty granular. Hopefully you guys don't stonewall on it to the end like the drug companies have done on drugs like Viox, or like the tobacco industry has done on the toxicity of tobacco. How many people have to die before the red flags get follow up and the true believers finally let go of their fetish?

Bill  Posted: 10/04/2006 09:25

Joe's post where he congratulates George is very funny. Apparently George has "done some research" which Joe recommends the Minister do as well. The “research” that George has done by googling the internet’s looney websites is so so distant in meaning from the sort of research scientists and medical people do that to use the same word is ridiculous. Could people not stop and think that googling websites that distort the truth, lie, exaggerate and publish nonsense is not “research”. There are far more daft websites than factual ones. Any old eejit can set up a website and publish any rubbish he likes on it. For some non scientific type to then read this nonsense and claim that he has carried out “research” is laughable. If you want to understand science then study it first. Ireland had the choice to introduce Fluoridation nationally or leave it up to the local councils. They decided to do it centrally which makes sense in such a small country. Furthermore for Ireland’s small local councils to duplicate the work of introducing Fluoridation would have been daft.

Chana  Posted: 10/04/2006 10:23

I really am surpriesed at someone believing anythign they see on the Fox News network.

Bill  Posted: 10/04/2006 13:48

I do not have a “religious devotion to fluoridation” or to brushing my teeth for that matter, Joe and his conspiracy theory ilk have a religious anti-fluoridation devotion that no facts will shake. Fluoridation exists and is safe. The vast majority of doctors, dentists and scientists attest to this, as do their professional organisations. Just because Joe + co oppose fluoridation are we supposed to abandon it? There is no actual problem here. It’s all in Joe’s head. The problem is when someone like Joe posts on a website he easily fools people like yourself (with all due respect.) This is why I and others waste our time opposing him. It would be ridiculous that a good thing like fluoridation was stopped because of the spread of misinformation by quack websites. This has already happened to Nuclear Power. Because the anti-Nuclear lobby worked so hard and spread so much nonsense NP is not being pursued in most countries as it should be. However this may be about to change. Notwithstanding the example of appalling journalism in the anti-nuclear rant in Saturday’s Irish Times. Phrases like “pumping fluoride” show that you are exaggerating. They only put in about 1/100,000th the weight of water as fluoride, hardly “pumping it in” is it? There are no doubts about the safety of fluoride by ANY reputable body. Try and find one. Only quacks oppose fluoridation. You cannot lower fluoride to zero as it occurs naturally anyway. Did you know that? It was doctors and scientists that discovered the problems with Tobacco and not quacks like Joe. There are in fact quack websites that claim tobacco doesn’t cause cancer.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 11/04/2006 02:08

Bill, perhaps you could point out just one 'looney' website that I have googled? And for your information, I didn't 'google' the Fox news article, I do read the news regularly and I just happened on it while doing that. I actually find it humorous that anything that is 'mainstream' like fluoridation requires much evidence to question, while anything that is 'alternative' can be 'debunked' by one anecdotal referrence. But what is mainstream today may not be mainstream tomorrow, and what is alternative today may be very much mainstream tomorrow. You mention nuclear power. When I was growing up years ago, nuclear power was the rosetta stone of the future and anyone daring to criticize it was branded as daft. Nowadays here in the US, few politicians dare to support nuclear power, it is political suicide in most locales. And there is a reason for this. There were a number of very near catastrophes here in the US such as the Three Mile Island failure and then when Chernobyl happened, that was the end. So now, here in the US, even with the arch converative Republicans in power, supporters of nuclear power are considered quackos in most quarters, so it is really just a matter of perspective as to who the quacks are since you like to throw that smear word around. And in case you think that is likely to change a whole lot, it very much looks like the conservatives are on their way out over here and the even more anti-nuke Demos are on the way in.

Mary  Posted: 11/04/2006 10:10

The idea that the Republicans in the USA as they stand could find anyone quacko, givne their own history is most amusing. Tell me, yesterday I read my horoscope on the web. Not a shred of evidence to support anythignin it but should I believe it anyway??

Bill  Posted: 11/04/2006 11:20

George are you now saying that your opposition to Fluoridation is based on one right wing TV station's news article? Joe’s comment about “research” was wrong then? Anti-fluoridation doesn’t need “much evidence”. Any reputable evidence will do, there isn’t any. This means nothing, “But what is mainstream today may not be mainstream tomorrow, and what is alternative today may be very much mainstream tomorrow.” In Science there is evidence, logic and things are either proved or disproved. Alternative” means *believed in* WITHOUT any evidence. Are the French “daft” to generate 78% of their Electricity by NP? Are the Finnish “daft” to be building a new NP station WITH the support of the Green Party? I have already stated that NP has got such a bad name that most people DO think that it is silly to build any more, but they are wrong. They have been misinformed. Three Mile Island killed, nor as far as I can remember, even injured anybody. Chernobyl killed less than 50. It may have given as many as 1,600 people Thyroid disease (all bar about 9 were cured) but that was totally un-necessary and caused by not giving out Iodine tablets which would have protected people and not evacuating the local population because the communists wanted to keep the accident a secret. Three weddings went ahead the day after the accident in the locality. That was criminal on the part of the authorities. The communist party member set up to investigate Chernobyl blamed Communism for the accident and it’s after effects. So in 50 years of NP production less than 50 people killed. In that time approximately 100,000 coal miners have been killed at work! In one accident alone in the North Sea on an oil rig, around 1975, over 100 people were killed, more than Chernobyl. How many have died from the pollution that burning oil causes? How many have got asthma? How many miners died prematurely from Black Lung? Most countries in the world are now planning to build new NP stations or will shortly. Even in the US. I might add that NOT building NP stations and continuing to spew millions of tomes of CO2 into the atmosphere in denial of Global Warming as you Americans are doing is a disgrace. I also add that the Irish government’s actions are actually worse. Although there are signs of a renewed interest in NP even here in sanctimonious & hypocritical Ireland. We have this nonsensical notion of the unspoilt GM free green green grass of old Eire while we are the worst offenders under the Kyoto agreement in the world. You didn’t address any other point I made can we accept that you agree with the rest of my last post then? Read my last post again and THINK.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 11/04/2006 17:53

"George are you now saying that your opposition to Fluoridation is based on one right wing TV station's news article?" Bill, I am saying that my opposition to fluoridation is based on the research that was reported by a right wing TV network. Would you prefer a report of the same in a left wing publication? Have at it: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/12/AR2005071201277.html Unlike you I read stuff from both sides and I listen to legitimate researches whether or not I personally agree with their conclusions. "Anti-fluoridation doesn’t need “much evidence”. Any reputable evidence will do, there isn’t any." Well there wasn't until now, that's why I stated that I had changed my position (for the first time since fluoridation became common), I have previously vocally defended fluoridation until this story broke. No I have doubts and I think those doubts are scientifically justified. As for nuclear power, how close do you live to a nuclear power plant Bill? I live within a few miles from one. It was shut down many years ago due to safety concerns but is still brimming with toxic nuclear waste and the people in charge admit that they have no idea what to do with it. In the mean time it is producing nothing and costing millions of dollars to try to safeguard from terrorists and potential natural calamities. And you want one of these things in your back yard? Have at it.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 11/04/2006 18:08

Bill, I assure you that there is going to be an in depth investigation into fluoridation in the US before all this is over with ( http://news.bostonherald.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=133828 ) and if it results in fluoridation being vindicated I will welcome that every bit as much as if problems are found. The difference between you and me is that I prefer not to hide my head in the sand, but to find answers to the questions. At this point I am not convinced either way on the issue, but prefer to err on the side of safety rather than on the side of conventional wisdom.

Bill  Posted: 11/04/2006 19:00

If you read the Fox News report carefully you will see that there is no substance in the report. It's all "ifs". The only relevant "study" was a thesis by a student which I read before and it contains lots of "ifs and maybes". It even says that the conclusions it draws are possibly invalid. The data that was used was not gathered for the purpose that it was used for. The Prof in charge of the student said there was no corolation so why do you think there is? This is one student's study exaggerated for the purpose of selling news. Numerous other studies and meta studies show no link. You cannot take any single study as relevant unless its repeated by a reputable group. If you examine any pile of data you can draw stats from it that show almost anything. There is some town in Ireland where the Lotto has been won more often than any other. Go to that town and you can produce so called stats that will show that the "chances of it winning so many Lottos are 1000/1" or whatever. Proves nothing. You obviously do not understand the nature of studies, or science or stats. The relevant professional bodies do and you should trust them. As for NP. What plant do u live near? I will see if what you say is true. And no I wouldn't mind living near an NP other than it would be an eyesore. But a lot less of an eyesore than the 5,000 100ft windmills that it replaces.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 11/04/2006 22:19

Joe, I have just been reviewing a number of reputable studies exploring the relationship between fluoride and cancer. And what you discover when you roll out all of these investigations is that fluoride is known to induce a number of rare cancers. The problem is that fluoride is also known to prevent several of the more common cancers. And the net result is that fluoride has been unequivically shown to prevent more cancers than it causes. So Bill does have a point here. But the problem is that people like Bill, instead of expressing concern over these findings, instead try to silence anyone who asks questions with cheap put downs. The fact that major corporations with heavy investments in fuoride do the same is troubling because there really is an ethical question here that is not being addressed. What is crying out to be identified is how do we identify and protect those who may be uniquely at risk from fluoridated water, because most of the population actually benefits from fluoridated water when it comes to cancer risk.

Tiffy  Posted: 12/04/2006 08:46

At least windmaills are safe. I have yet to year of a windmill causing thyrotoxic damage

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 12/04/2006 18:34

Bill, there are other studies implicating fluoride in bone and other cancers. There are also studies which indicate that some people are unable to properly metabolize fluoride which results in a very large buildup of fluoride in there bones which is also associated with bone cancer itself. And so I believe that by discounting this study you are overlooking and trivializing something important. As for the nuke, it is Humboldt Bay Nuclear plant in California. There have been a number of battles as to who gets to pay for the cleanup and there has been one delay after another in the removal of the spent fuel and associated contamination. Our area is now producing large amounts of power commercially through cogeneration, solar panels are appearing on roofs everywhere, and there is now a major project to harness power from the waves and tides by building huge pumps that will pump seawater up a cliff and then generate power as it drops back into the ocean. These are the power sources of the future and they don't leave behind any toxic legacy. It is interesting that while you claim Finland is moving in the direction of nuclear power, here our local electrical utility is building a state of the art conventional fossil fuel plant the produces very low emmisions and is extremely efficient ... and is being designed by Finnish engineers.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 15/04/2006 23:33

Bill has led us off topic in relation to Chernobyl and nuclear power (11/04/2006 11:20), but he has also tried to mislead us, and since the whole world can read this discussion it is important to set the record straight: About Chernobyl and the human casualties, here's the conservative estimate: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4216102.stm "Experts have estimated that around 4,000 people will die from the effects of the 1986 accident at Chernobyl. ...The figure, in the report by the Chernobyl Forum, is much lower than other estimates." The main BBC report says: "It is estimated that five million people were exposed to dangerous levels of radiation. Ukraine's health ministry has estimated that 3.5 million people have suffered some illness as a result of the contamination, and the Ukraine Radiological Institute suggest that there were 2,500 deaths. A group representing those who worked in the relief operations following the accident estimate the number of deaths at 15,000." (www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A2922103) See: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4028729.stm (Swedish cancers) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4485003.stm (suffering in Belarus) Recent BBC news reports: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4843316.stm http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4875194.stm This recent report in The Independent gives an idea of how serious the Chernobyl accident was: http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/article351153.ece "375 farms in Britain, with 200,000 sheep, are still contaminated by fallout from Chernobyl", and those are official UK Department of Health figures. There is no reasonable doubt that people all over Europe are contracting cancer because of Chernobyl, and Belarus is suffering the most. Another way of seeing it: in terms of casualties, suffering and expense, Chernobyl was a much bigger tragedy than the September 11th terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Bill also said that Finland is "building a new NP station WITH the support of the Green Party." Absolutely wrong! The Finnish Parliament, following a dirty-tricks campaign by the pro-nuclear lobby, voted narrowly in favour of a new nuclear power station. The Greens, who had been coalition partners, thereupon resigned from the government. Greens ALWAYS oppose nuclear power. The Finnish Green MEP Satu Hassi, who had been Minister for Environment in the Finnish Government, tells the story here: www.satuhassi.net/puheet/kyoto181005.htm According to Ms Hassi: "In May 24th 2002 the Parliament voted and ratified the permission of the 5th nuclear power station, with 107 yes votes out of 200. The Greens decided to leave the government coalition." Here's the latest news on the "likelihood" of new nuclear power stations: http://politics.guardian.co.uk/labour/story/0,,1753952,00.html Bill also tried to mislead us about fluoridation (which is actually connected to nuclear power) but that is not off topic so I'll deal with it separately.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 16/04/2006 19:36

About fluoridation, Bill says (10/04/2006): "There are no doubts about the safety of fluoride by ANY reputable body. Try and find one." Where to start? In December 1961, Sweden's Supreme Administrative Court unanimously agreed that "the possibility cannot be precluded that fluoridation will involve certain risks or disadvantages to the health of those who are constrained to make use of this water." The Swedish people have never been fluoridated. By the way, their teeth are better than ours. As for the scientists... Last month the highest scientific authority in the U.S., the National Academy of Sciences, released a 500-page report about the hazard of fluoride in drinking water (http://www.nap.edu/catalog/11571.html). The report says bluntly that water with 4 parts per million fluoride (i.e. 4 milligrams per litre) will do serious health damage, and it calls on the EPA to lower that "safety limit" they set years ago. Fluoridation means adding fluoride to the level of 1 ppm. If 4 ppm is unsafe, how could 1 ppm be safe? Don't some people drink four times as much water as others? Where's the safety margin? With drugs there's supposed to be a safety factor of hundreds. No wonder fluoride is known as "the protected pollutant". The reason the NAS isn't shouting "Stop Fluoridation Immediately" seems to be that the U.S. Surgeon General won't allow the EPA to set an enforceable regulation that goes against the interests of Corporate America. See the commentary by fluoride expert Darlene Sherrell: www.rvi.net/~fluoride/s03.htm You can read the shocking history of fluoridation, based on official U.S. Government documents, in Christopher Bryson's book "The Fluoride Deception", which came out in paperback a few days ago. Some of the twelve scientists who authored the NAS report have been discussing it in public: 'NAS panel member Kathy Thiessen, a former senior scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory who has studied fluoride for the EPA, said the report showed "the potential is there" that water fluoridation is unhealthy. As for the studies finding that higher levels damage children's IQ, she said it's possible water fluoridation levels may have a similar, albeit reduced effect. She said in her personal opinion the research suggests "most people should minimize their fluoride intake" -- which includes avoiding fluoridated water. "I think you can look at most chapters of this report and say, &#8216;Whoa,&#8217; " she said. "We have made major strides from previous (looks) at this topic." 'NAS panel member Robert Isaacson, a distinguished professor of neurobehavioral science at the State University of New York in Binghamton, agreed, saying that the possible effects on endocrines and hormones from water-fluoridation are "something that I wouldn't want to happen to me if I had any say in the matter." 'The report "should be a wake-up call," he added.' (www.portlandtribune.com/archview.cgi?id=34527) A third member of the NAS panel, Hardy Limeback, Prof of Preventive Dentistry, Univ of Toronto (www.fluoridealert.org/limeback.htm), says: "Unless the FDA starts to require clear fluoride labeling on foods, consumers should be limiting their choices to the safest beverages containing fluoride for their children to consume. "These are 1. milk (human breast milk, un-concentrated cow's milk), 2. pollution-free rain water (preferably filtered and germ-free), or bottled spring water (rain water that has been naturally filtered through the ground without picking up too much fluoride ....e.g. less than < 0.1 ppm fluoride), 3. purified tap water (reverse osmosis, distillation, some ion-exchange columns) and 4. any fluoride-free foodstuff made with liquids in 1, 2 or 3 above. "...The above is the opinion of the author, who just completed three years of studying fluoride toxicology with the National Academy of Sciences." -- Dr. Hardy Limeback BSc PhD DDS About the Bassin study on fluoridation and bone cancer (which Bill tried to rubbish), the NAS report says (page 280) that "the higher ORs [odds ratios] for males than for females, and the highest ORs at ages 6 to 8, during what the author describes as the 'mid-childhood growth spurt for boys,' are consistent with some previous ecologic or semiecologic studies (Hoover et al. 1991; Cohn 1992) and with a hypothesis of fluoride as an osteosarcoma risk factor operating during these ages." Do I need to add that all that applies just as much to Ireland as to America? Can anyone name an Irish medical doctor who's willing to publicly defend fluoridation. So why are the Irish people being fluoridated?

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 17/04/2006 05:55

Joe, while I find myself very much in agreement with your position on nuclear power, I must once again take issue with your position on fluoridation. You cite the NAS publication. Good for you! They are indeed a reputable authority on matters such as this. But the point of their study is not to critique the fluoridation of water for dental purposes, rather it is to critique the EPA rules regarding the maximum levels of NATURAL fluoride found in public water supplies (read the summary). Here in the US fluoride occurs naturally in certain well water sources. In some cases those levels are indeed toxic. Much is known about fluoride here in the US simply because of that phenomenon. And you also have to deal with all the studies (and there are a lot of them) that demonstrate health benefits (including cancer prevention) as a result of fluoridation. But all of that does not mean that fluoridation is not without problems, and that is what these recent studies are pointing out. Bill commented that ALL water contains fluoride. That is patently false. Naturally occurring fluoride levels vary widely between different sources. And some people are apparently adversely affected by even low levels of fluoride. These people need to be identified and protected. I challenge you (and others) to go to the studies themselves. Don't succumb to the temptation to listen to self appointed authorities who make broad statements but never cite authoritative sources (hello Bill?). The researchers are generally honest but the same cannot be said of those who attempt to interpret (twist) the studies to back their own positions. Be very cautious as to who you trust.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 17/04/2006 22:22

George, you're off the mark in a few of your statements. I didn't say the NAS report's point was "to critique the fluoridation of water for dental purposes". I am saying that any suggestion you cannot extrapolate pointers about artificially fluoridated water from the NAS report is illogical and foolish. Note also that the fluoride used for fluoridation (fluosilicic acid) is actually much more toxic than naturally occurring fluoride (calcium fluoride, aka fluorspar). Talking of "natural fluoride found in public water supplies" is just a little misleading since there is now so much contamination of ground water from agrichemicals and industry. Most agrichemicals are very high in fluoride, and as for industry, see www.fluoridealert.org/f-pollution.htm All water does contain some fluoride, wherever it comes from. Bill was right here and you were wrong. The point is that most water used to be very low in fluoride. In Ireland, nearly all water had less than 0.1 ppm fluoride before fluoridation started. There have never been adverse effects reported at that low level. Unfortunately we didn't keep the fluoride at that level. If anyone is wondering why the NAS panel didn't put two and two together and issue an explicit warning about artificially fluoridated water (as the three members of the panel I quoted above did), you need look no further than the chairman John Doull and member Charles Poole (see www.fluoridealert.org/nrc-membership.htm). They are associated with the industry-funded American Council on Science & Health, which views fluoridation like this: www.acsh.org/healthissues/newsID.724/healthissue_detail.asp ("essential trace element" my foot!). You say I "have to deal with all the studies (and there are a lot of them) that demonstrate health benefits (including cancer prevention) as a result of fluoridation." Firstly, George, you have to name them. I'm telling you they don't exist. Did you not notice that I've been asking Bill and John Williams for many months now (in this discussion and elsewhere) to name such studies? In vain. Maybe you can do better. As for "cancer prevention", you must be joking. Is that something you read on April 1st? Fluoride is a proven carcinogen. I've been researching the issue for ten years and I never before heard any suggestion of "cancer prevention". (And I've heard a lot of outrageous claims...)

Mary  Posted: 18/04/2006 11:46

Joe, you state "In Ireland, nearly all water had less than 0.1 ppm fluoride before fluoridation started. There have never been adverse effects reported at that low level" - Are you joking? In the 1950's here hundreds, thousands, possibly tens of thousands of children going around with caries in their adult teeth before they hit their teens. And these were children who ate far less sweets than children do today.

Bill  Posted: 18/04/2006 11:56

Joe always highjacks every discussion thread to bring it around to Fluoridation. There are threads for this on Irish Health and the issue has been discussed ad nauseum. I suggest that George reads these other threads first. Furthermore Joe is well aware of a meta study of all studies on fluoridation that shows no cancer or other health risk. Recent reports by several governments including our own list many studies. Joe is aware of these.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 18/04/2006 16:46

Joe, you certainly gave the impression that the NAS report was addressing water fluoridation when it was in fact addressing naturally occurring fluoride. And assuming that anybody on the NAS panel would be 'unbiased' would be a stretch. The fact is we are ALL biased as much as we might try to be unbiased. Those researchers you cite also have their biases, so own up to that. As for the specific type of fluoride involved, you certainly might have a point with that. I have noticed that many of the studies attributing safety to fluoridation are based on naturally occurring fluoride. The whole move toward fluoridation here in the US was based mainly on observations of the effects of naturally occurring fluoride. On the other hand many of the studies indicating danger from fluoride deal with artificially fluoridated water. And there are some pretty impressive ones: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=11512573&query_hl=1&itool=pubmed_docsum and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=9002384&query_hl=1&itool=pubmed_docsum Other troubling factors include studies with negative findings never satisfactorily followed up and too easily explained away. And while meta studies can have value, they are very easily controlled by people with ulterior motives. The whole purpose of a meta study can be to erase doubt and guide research in the direction the sponsor of the meta study wants things to go. So while I value the concept of meta studies, I don't trust the people who oversee them. And as long as there are as many studies out there as there are linking fluoride with cancer which have not been DIRECTLY refuted, I will continue to be convinced that this question remains open.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 18/04/2006 17:53

Mary, you seem to have bought into the myth of "fluoride deficiency". Nobody needs fluoride -- ever. (If you need convincing, see my paper at http://tinyurl.com/b4bez) The cause of caries is sugar. Before sugar arrived in Ireland caries was not a problem. Bill, I presume the "meta study" you refer to is the York Review, and once again, for the third time, you're misrepresenting it. I corrected you on this point nearly a year ago in this discussion (see 09/05/2005 15:31). Is that your idea of discussing it "ad nauseam"? What "recent reports by several governments" are you referring to? George, you didn't respond to my question about "cancer prevention". Should we forget about it?

Bill  Posted: 18/04/2006 18:41

George, all questions remain open. There's even a law that proved that. It's a question of balance. Balance is what is missing from people who are unrealistically afraid of that which carries very remote risks.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 18/04/2006 19:29

Bill, I would suggest that the recent Harvard study is particularly damning for the case for fluoridation and more than one level. First of all, a student discovered a statistical link. You immediately discount that based on the fact that this was a 'student'. But the fact is that much very valuable research is done by students, in this case, a doctoral student. So here we have a study establishing a statistical link. Next, we have the students teacher reporting the study and very specifically stating that it showed 'no statistical link'. That was a lie. There is no other word to describe it. We then discover that a company with a very deep interest in the results of the study had provided the funding. Perhaps, Bill, they were paying for the 'right' answer? Hello. I remember countless studies and meta studies rolled out in the sixties and seventies that revealed no significant risks from the use of tobacco products. In fact, every study raising questions about cigarette smoking etc was followed by deep pocketed research to refute it. And who was funding all of this expensive research? You guess. I have really deep questions about the validity and credibility of research in cases where the 'wrong' conclusions can mean loss of funding or even loss of one's job. There is a major problem with today's research model is largely funded by organizations with huge vested interests in the results of that research. It is an open invitation to corruption of the worst kind. There are no need for 'conspiracy theories' here. The evidence is all too apparent. Follow the money.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 20/04/2006 07:28

Joe, regarding fluoride and cancer prevention, here's one: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=12435073&query_hl=1&itool=pubmed_docsum The problem is that this study deals with naturally occurring fluoride, not the forms that are added to drinking water in the process of fluoridation. I am convinced that there needs to be a study comparing cancer rates occurring in areas with natural fluoride at 'optimum' levels with those of the two common forms of fluoridation. It has long been assumed that all three forms have the same effects envivo. I think that should be verified. If natural fluoride actually prevents cancer, then artificial fluoridation could actually be more carcenogenic than the studies are indicating, since the areas of naturally occurring fluoride could skew the study results if they are included. For you fluoridation is evil and for Bill it is beyond questioning, but for me, each of these studies just brings more questions, questions that need to be answered.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 20/04/2006 23:47

George, thanks for the reference to the "cancer prevention" paper -- by a certain GG Steiner. I got a good laugh out of that and all the stuff it led me to. This other paper by Steiner shows that he's a complete chancer: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=15082094&query_hl=2&itool=pubmed_docsum GG Steiner is apparently the main man in a Hawaii-based company, Steiner Laboratories (www.steinerlabs.com), which sells, guess what, fluoride products! Such as FLUORIGEN (TM patent pending) for bones, and ESSENTIAL F (TM) ("Fluoride- Essential for Health"). On that website we find absurd "arguments" like this: "The great Diaspora of human migration occurred approximately 100,000 years ago when early man left eastern Africa and migrated throughout the world. After spending his entire evolutionary history consuming large amounts of fluoride man now migrated to lands deficient in fluoride. This lack of adequate of fluoride intake has resulted in the development of dental caries and likely other diseases." (www.steinerlabs.com/fluoride-cancer.htm) Nobody with a smattering of knowledge about fluoride would take that writer seriously. More reason to dismiss the "research". The website is replete with distortion, inaccuracies and downright lies about fluoride. Talk about quacks! The U.S. medical establishment has repeatedly made clear that fluoride is neither essential nor a nutrient. (See the first part of my paper at http://tinyurl.com/b4bez) The U.K. government takes the exact same line: "No essential function exists for fluoride in the diet." (DHSS Subject Report No 41 1996-1998) To put it simply, fluoride plays no useful role in human metabolism or nutrition. Nobody has found any evidence for it, and GG Steiner's pronouncements are wishful thinking. On the other hand, fluoride is extremely destructive in the human body (see www.fluoridealert.org/health). Even the leading pro-fluoridation dentists admit that the cause of caries is sugar, though they try to insinuate that "lack" of fluoride is also a cause. And if there was any plausibility in Steiner's research, those pro-fluoridation people would have latched on to it and we'd have heard about it. As for Steiner's references to other research findings indicating fluoride as a treatment for cancer or osteoporosis, those studies are not significant enough to impress the medical establishment in any way. The osteoporosis "treatment" is illogical because fluoride damages bones, and you have to suspect the motivation and funding behind such studies. One thing you can be sure of: There's big money in fluoride.

Mary  Posted: 21/04/2006 09:45

Joe, children in Ireland in the pre-flouride days ate very little sugar and certainly less sweets that children do now and yet then there were far more denal caries than inthe average child today. If you doubt that, look at the evidence from the minoan civilization. Their diet as rich in foods sweetened with honey (a natural sugar), yet becuase they lived in an area where the water was very hihh in natural fluride, their skeletal remains showed very few dental caries (in adults) as comapred with remona sfor other peoples at that time.

Bill  Posted: 22/04/2006 09:02

At long last Joe understands that some websites are con jobs!

Sean (GYV37616)  Posted: 22/04/2006 15:39

Has any body come a cross a product called Master gland and do they rate it?

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 22/04/2006 17:40

Sorry Joe, but I think you have the same problem Bill does. You simply dismiss any studies that you disagree with as being 'quack science'. Once you start doing that, you don't have much left to work from other that your own pre-conceived ideology and the selected research which seems to support it. Personally, I think there are some real problems with fluoridation, but it is not time to throw the baby out with the bath water. Over all, it is obvious to me the fluoridation has done far more good than harm and the chances are dying from a fluoridation induced illness are probably less than the chance of striking it rich in the lottery. Your argument about sugar causing cavities is a little bit lame. Cavities are caused by bacteria that feed on sugar, duh? But it is a bit impractical to remove all sugar from one's diet. As for me, I think I'll risk a little fluoride instead. The bottom line is that it becomes a public health issue in which people as a society determine whats to be done. Water gets fluoridated, milk gets fortified with vitamin D, bread gets fortified with niacin, and the list could go on and on. What I really want to see is more research so that the minor problems that exist with fluoridation that indeed do have the potential of killing some people can be resolved and public health gets improved as a result. The bottom line is that various additives, preservatives, and medications will always carry risk and some people will die from them. What you don't seem to understand, flower child (and I don't mean this in a derogatory fashion), is that lack of these things would produce a far greater death toll. But I can assure you that your wish dream is just another myth that gets too much air time in modern society. If only the solution to our ills were so simple. I can assure you its not.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 23/04/2006 09:56

Mary, you obviously don't believe a word I say. But it's not just me saying it. Please check out the evidence. Natural honey doesn't cause caries. Maybe honey from bees fed with sugar (as is usual in Ireland now) is different. If the Minoans' water was very high in fluoride, then they probably learned to use low-fluoride water, such as rainwater, or else they suffered. Going back even before the Minoans, the only people who got tooth decay were the privileged people who ate sugar. There is any amount of evidence, from hundreds of years back, from explorers, missionaries, etc., that "primitive" people, no matter how poor, didn't have tooth decay. And many of them did have honey. The so-called evidence that high fluoride intake is associated with low caries rates just doesn't stand up. Fluoridated children exhibit less decay only because the fluoride delays tooth eruption. The decay is just delayed. Tooth decay is out of control in all American cities, despite decades of fluoridation; Dublin, Cork and Limerick are much the same. Here's the most recent of many similar reports, this one featuring Chicago: www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chicago/chi-0603260216mar26,1,2524789.story 'Despite the expansion of dental coverage for children, 32 percent of 3rd-graders in Chicago had untreated dental decay, according to the latest statewide survey, completed in 2004. The figure was 38 percent in suburban Cook County and 37 percent in rural areas... '"This is an enormous public health crisis," said Dr. Lee Francis of Erie Family Health Center, which recently started a new dental clinic with a $900,000 grant from the state. 'In the communities Erie Family Health serves... poor Hispanics have been neglected. A recent survey showed that only 38 percent of residents had seen a dentist in the last year, about 56 percent of adults were missing teeth and 63 percent had untreated cavities.' Virtually all those people have been drinking fluoridated water for decades. Americans have less chance of seeing a dentist than Irish people have, but caries rates are not much different. Mary, what do *you* think causes all that tooth decay? Britain's best-known pro-fluoridation dentist, Prof Liz Kay, says: "Tooth decay is caused by sugar in the diet; there is no question about that." -- London Assembly, Health Committee, 9 Sep 2003 (www.london.gov.uk/assembly/health/2003/healthsep09/minutes/healthsep09minsappa.pdf) Ireland's best-known pro-fluoridation dentists, Prof Denis O'Mullane and Dr Helen Whelton, say: "In the absence of those sugars [simple sugars such as sucrose] in foods and drinks dental caries will not be a public health problem." -- M A Lennon, H Whelton, D O&#8217;Mullane, J Ekstrand, WHO Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality, World Health Organization, September 2004 (www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/dwq/nutfluoride/en/) Mary, did you know that breast milk contains fluoride at about 7 parts per billion? That's 150 times less than formula milk made up with fluoridated water (1 part per million in the water, and there's extra fluoride in the formula). Do you still believe in "fluoride deficiency"?

Anonymous  Posted: 24/04/2006 11:04

I started to get a red small patch on my hands and it was itchie and i didnt know what it was went to the docter and he started to tell me that it was ezema and then he started to tell me that i would never get rid of it well my nerves were gone like from not having anything wrong with me for years and not knowing much about exzema i got even more stressed out so within a week i had it in my scalp back of my kneck behiend my ears etc...went back to doc. he gave me creams etc...used them on me and got a very bad reaction wont even go there anyway he made me worse this docter and i told him this and i was very upset so told him i would not be back. Went to a new docter and well to be honoust had no such joy really there either like they should give you some hop..so i decided that i must research this myself so i did and you know what i dont even have to go to a docter any more as i use no creams at all no protopic noting...i will tell you what i did... As from the research i read books and came up with this...when the kidneys get week and comes out in your skin and your hair and there are lots of foods then strenghten these cells so i decided to change my diet to a very very healthy one and you know what it has all gone i cant believe it myself and that docter told me that i would never get rid of it...now of course i know that it could flare up a small bit but has not since i started to change my diet... the flax seeds in the health shop are great i take two spoonfulls a day eat lot s of veg, fruit and nuts, quinoa and millet and coscaus and drink lots of hearble tea nettle and dandilion etc... i hope this will be helpful to other people as where i work i was speaking to a girl who told me that 3 years ago she had arthritus ok and again she went to the docter and he told her x, w and z so her mother told the docter my daughter will be ok and told him she was not going on steroids so the mother changed her whole died and she is working now driving away where as she could not do this before and its all down to her diet she says so i dont know i will leave it up to you to decide but i personally think that your diet has a lot to do with your health and that is why i make sure that i eat these foods + other foods but have a varied diet...i just wanted to make the point that in my case i decided i did not want to be using those creams as from the research that i did that they cure it for a while and then it pops back up i just thought to myself you have to cure the inside out first...

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 25/04/2006 22:02

Anonymous of 24-04-06. Did you ever think of taking up writing? You could be the next James Joyce.

BrayLady  Posted: 26/04/2006 09:47

John Willimas - are you referring to the 'stream of consciousness' style?

Bill  Posted: 26/04/2006 10:09

stream of UNconsciousness maybe?

Niamh  Posted: 26/04/2006 14:26

I have given homeopathy the benefit of my doubt for the last few years, and gone to three different homepaths, each experience has been more unsatisfactory and unprofessional than the previous one. The last homepath I went to was recommended to me, so I thought this time it will work. On my third appointment, the homepath said she would post the remedy to me, as she needed to take time to decide which one was the most appropriate. I have never received the remedy. I left several phone messages, even spoke to the homepath, and never heard back. A few months later I wrote her a letter, and didn’t get any response. A few months after this I wrote to the Irish Society of Homepaths, who she is registered with. Again I did not receive any response. I phoned them 4 weeks after sending my letter to follow it up. They admitted to having the same problem as me, in not being able to get in contact with the homepath. Nearly three months after my letter to the Society I eventually got an unfinished letter from the homeopath, not even signed. I contacted the Society again and their response was that the homepath has a good reputation, and my experience was a one-off and therefore they would not look into it any further. I find this whole experience totally unprofessional from start to finish. From taking on a client and dropping them during their treatment, not responding to my numerous phone messages and letter, and the Society not responding nor investigating if any other of the homeapths clients have had the same experience. How do they know this is a one-off? The Society only know about my experience because I wrote to them and persistently followed it up with several phone calls in order to get a response. How many other people has this homeopath treated in this irresponsible and unethical way, people who did not follow it up her or the Irish Society of Homepaths? It has taken one year from my last appointment with this homeopath to get a response. I am amazed how the Society regards this as professional! I have spoken to a lot of people about my experience, and not one person can say they have had a positive experience with homepaths.

Bill  Posted: 26/04/2006 16:38

Professional Homopath? Is that like a professional wizard or druid? It's amazing that journalists regularly attack real professions and completly ignore the hocus pocus ones. When was the last time you heard of an expose into Chiropracters, Herbal Remedy hucksters or Acupuncturists?

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 26/04/2006 17:23

Niamh, I once had a shoulder problem. I went to a chiropractor and after several weeks of treatment, there were little if any results. He told me that the problem was that I just needed more treatments. So I decided that in fact, I should get another treatment. But this time I went to an orthopaedist. With one treatment with a steroid, I was a new man. I have never had a recurrence of the problem. I suggest you think about that. The problem is not the PEOPLE you are seeing, the problem is that you need to select someone from another profession. Someone who is really trained to help you with the problems you are experiencing. In the end the orthopaedist cost me a lot less than the chiropractor. Unlike Bill, I have a certain amount of respect for chiropractors, but no way I would try three different ones and end up with a string of failures like that. Be very afraid when people try to get you hooked on coming back and coming back when you are getting no results. And be very afraid of people without MDs or DOs who try to give you medical advice, including warning you against conventional medical treatments. There is something wrong when people are more concerned about the training of their car mechanic than they are about the person they entrust their bodies to.

Bill  Posted: 26/04/2006 19:35

It's quite common here for people to give anecdotal evidence. But such stories offer no support for or against any treatment. Your shoulder may simply have got better WHILE you were attending the 2nd "doctor". The steroid "cure" may have been a coincidence. Just because you get better WHILE taking something or doing something proves nothing.

con  Posted: 26/04/2006 23:56

hi..can anyone tell me if st.john's worth is a help for depression and is it safe..

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 28/04/2006 16:55

Bill, I know a lot of people who are struggling with the same old problems and seeing the same old doctor over and over. They never seem to encounter those happy 'coincidences' that I have encountered on many occasions. I really can't count all the things I have been able to find quick medical solutions to by trying several different approaches in sequence. And I know a lot of people whose lives have been saved because they changed doctors when things weren't going well. So keep grinding away on your tired old hyper conventional approach that trusts that certain doctors know everything about everything and other practitioners know nothing about nothing. The fact is the realm of human health is just too large for anyone individual or profession to grasp in its entirety. When you have a practitioner who just keeps hard headedly trying and trying with no results or tells you that there is no hope of improving your condition, it is time to find another doctor. On the other hand, if you have a primary practitioner who is willing to send you on to someone else when nothing seems to work, value them like gold.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 28/04/2006 17:02

con, there is a great website with information on st johns wort here: http://nccam.nih.gov/health/stjohnswort/

Bill  Posted: 01/05/2006 11:04

St. John's Wort is illegal or at least cannot be used without a doctor's prescription (which most of them would not provide) in Ireland. This is because it is dangerous. Furthermore it is a cocktail of chemicals whose effects are not understood. There are plenty of safe and well researched medicines available that a doctor will prescribe IF you need them. Self diagnosis & self medication are not advisable. George, your post of the 28th is mainly a rant. From your statement that you “can't count all the things I have been able to find quick medical solutions to by trying several different approaches in sequence”, is either a gross exaggeration or you are a very ill individual indeed. I suspect that you are either exaggerating or you are a hypochondriac. Hypochondriacs are the sCAM artist’s bread and butter. Nor do I believe for a second the following statement you made, “..and I know a lot of people *whose lives have been saved* because they changed doctors when things weren't going well”. What’s the opposite to “hyper conventional”? Illogical? Wrong? If by “other practitioners” you mean sCAM artists, well yes, they do know nothing as there is nothing to know about the sCAMs they arte involved in. For example, you cannot “train” on Homeopathy because it is 100% nonsense. Almost remember sCAM artists are con artists. They fact that they conned you is why you think as you do.

Bill  Posted: 01/05/2006 11:12

Con, read this carefully and then tell me you would consider St John's Wort. http://tinyurl.com/2scsp

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 01/05/2006 19:35

Well Bill let me provide you with another example. For many years I had a medical problem that required surgical procedures every 6 to 12 months. This required constant treatment with antibiotics and was taking its toll on my overall health. I was told by doctor after doctor and specialist after specialist that there was no final cure for the condition. But I didn't give up. I kept trying new doctors. I finally encountered a young doctor who asked me why I was putting up with this. I told him I had been offerred no alternatives. He answered me "nonsense" and slipped me the name of yet another specialist. I saw this specialist and made a quick appoinment for surgery at Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco CA USA in 1984 and the problem was solved for the next 18 years. You are simply very wrong in your deeply prejudiced opinions. The fact is that doctors, like anyone else, no matter how highly trained and how highly skilled, make mistakes and sometimes those mistakes result in suboptimal care and sometimes they result in the unfortunate deaths of their patients. Most of them do the best they can with what they've got to work with, but they fall far short of perfection. As for examples, I can give you many more, as for example when my wife was diagnosed with cancer and scheduled for surgery. I took her to another specialist who was actually a specialist in the very type of cancer she was diagnosed with. That doctor told me that the surgery being advised was unnecessary and extremely dangerous. We canceled the surgery and with followup, the growth in question proved not to be malignant and has in fact shrunk on its own over the past five years. And I do in fact know those who have died at the hands of legitimate MDs just because they didn't check around. More and more insurance companies here in the US are REQUIRING second opinions on all surgical proceedures for just this reason. I certainly hope that you are not representative of the medical profession in Ireland, because you sound like you are from out of the dark ages.

boo  Posted: 03/05/2006 03:00

Great post ..Anonymous on the 24th of April..I am glad your skin cleared up by changing your diet..You are dead right..everything that appears on the skin is a direct result of what is happening internally so creams will never work....Check out this link..www.snyderhealth.com..... Dr Robert Young wrote the Ph miracle..He is a huge advocate of healthy eating..There are countless testimonials of people on there who were cured of many problems by simply changing their diets.....

Bill  Posted: 03/05/2006 18:22

"testimonials" are the main way sCAM artists separate their marks from their money. They are completely worthless.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 04/05/2006 16:38

The value of testimonials can really be based on the integrity of the person providing them. So while it is quite true that anonymous testimonials (including my own on this very forum) are quite worthless, the testimonials of those I know personally can have great value. This is especially true in medicine. When looking for a medical professional, I always ask questions of other doctors. For example "What do you think of Dr. X?" "Would you refer a loved one to Dr. X if you were in my situation?" etc. You would be amazed at some of the 'off the record' answers I have gotten. So, please, don't listen to me. Just talk to the people you know and trust. And above all, don't listen to websites that are trying to sell you something or recruit you for some crusade. Get your information only from authoritative web sites run by government health authorities and reputable medical schools. There are a lot of these sites out there and they are loaded with valuable information, even information you can trust on supplements and alternative methods. Talk to the people you know and love. If you don't know some nurses personally, ask around, because somebody you know probably knows a nurse. You would be amazed what they could tell you about doctors (who you should trust and who you shouldn't). And don't just go by one person. But when you talk to three nurses in the area and their stories line up, pay attention.

Bill  Posted: 04/05/2006 18:30

I wouldn't pay a lot of attention to the opinion of Nurses. Their training has little to do with diagnosis or treatment. You might as well ask a brick layer his opinion on the merits of one building engineering aspect over another. Many websites, especially from the US, look professional and are made so on purpose to con people. Many fancy sounding "organisations" in the US are just con jobs. "Universities" & "Colleges" often are nothing but rented houses and run by con artists.

michael (modonoghue)  Posted: 04/05/2006 18:41

Does anyone out there tried low dose naltrexone and has it worked?

Bill  Posted: 04/05/2006 21:51

Read this http://www.quackwatch.org/00AboutQuackwatch/altseek.html

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 04/05/2006 23:11

Michael. What are you using low dose naltrexone for?

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 04/05/2006 23:13

Bill, your comment is so very humorous. I make it a point to ask the 'bricklayers' when I need a contractor or engineer. I have found that they KNOW who the crooks are. And, while most professionals are honest, there are plenty around who are not. We recently had a situation where doctors at a leading regional hospital here in the US were performing heart bypasses on perfectly healthy people and killed a number of them in the process. This happened not far from where I live and devastated a number of lives. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/24/AR2005072400969.html One of my own family members was in need of an angiogram at the time and fortunately we avoided this operation because we consulted non affiliated cardiologist first. Never walk blindly into a proceedure. Trust but verify.

Chana  Posted: 05/05/2006 10:25

low dose naltrexone - for what? George wasn't talking about asking a nurss opinion on a treatment - but if you read the post you will see he was referring to a nurses opinion of dR. AND LETS FACE IT THEY SEE THE dR'S ATTITUDE AND DEMEANOUR WITH MANY PATIENTS ON A DAILY BASIS And so are in an excellent position to give an opinion.

Bill  Posted: 05/05/2006 11:24

If a Nurse were to give her opinion on medical matters outside her training and competance or to voice her opinion on a doctor she would be in breach of her ethics. Of course there are crooked doctors but they are a tiny minority.

Mary  Posted: 05/05/2006 14:13

How would voicing a personal opinion of a dr. be in breach of a nurses ethics?

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 05/05/2006 21:15

Bill, I think you have ethics confused with employee loyalty. Ethics has to do with providing competent care and that includes directing patients to those that provide competent care. But your view is very much in line with the common view in business that everything about their 'product' or 'service' is their proprietary property, therefore anyone commenting negatively on that product or service is guilty of some sort of crime. One reason it took years to put that scamming hospital out of business was that doctor after doctor covered for the crooks. But a number of people were spared because some nurses were talking. So in my book they are heroes Bill. You can accuse them of violated their 'ethics' or whatever, but in my book they are heroes and those doctors that stymied the investigations should have had to face criminal charges. Unfortunately they probably won't.

michael (modonoghue)  Posted: 06/05/2006 13:44

My wife has been put on low dose naltrexone to boost her immune system,has anyone found it helps ? Michael

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 07/05/2006 14:55

Bill often posts references to pages from the Quackwatch website. That site is run by retired psychiatrist Stephen Barrett, an "expert in medical communications". Barrett is also involved in the American Council on Science & Health (www.acsh.org), which is funded by big industry. As Bill himself says, "Many websites, especially from the US, look professional and are made so on purpose to con people. Many fancy sounding 'organisations' in the US are just con jobs." We need to be wary and sceptical about our sources of information. I notice that Bill has no scepticism about the public health measures promoted by Quackwatch, such as fluoridation and vaccination. And when Bill tries to make us believe that Chernobyl was a minor incident (see his post on 11/04/2006 11:20), I have to question his motives.

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 07/05/2006 18:36

Michael. As far as I know there is no evidence that low dose naltrexone boosts the immune system. Certainly the Irish Medicines Board does not sanction it for that purpose. The problem with many suggested fringe treatments is, they are often recommended for something like 'boosting the immune system'. Something that cannot be proven.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 08/05/2006 17:52

John Williams, if you're really concerned about medicines and proof, why don't you object to fluoridation? The Irish Medicines Board doesn't regulate the fluoride added to our water to treat us (for tooth decay, supposedly), it has never been tested for safety, no medical doctor is willing to defend it in public, and as for "proof"... John, you're not the only one who can't find proof that fluoridation is safe or effective. There IS NO PROOF. So why are you happy to go on drinking that uncontrolled drug in unmeasured amounts?

Mary  Posted: 09/05/2006 08:34

Oh no, please don't let this debate be taken over by an anti-flouride rant - AGAIN. Incidrntally, if I change one thing about my diet / lifestyle and I then get half as many virrii and infections in the year. I then chenge my lifestyle back to what it used to be and the number of virii and infections again doubles, this is what a lot of people would consider immune-boosting.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 09/05/2006 18:52

Joe, the issue of fluoridation will be resolved with further investigation and there is now significant public pressure in the US for more investigation into the surrounding issues. A number of studies are either underway or being initiated. Here is one recent example: http://go.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=healthNews&storyID=12084097&src=rss/healthNews

Sallie  Posted: 20/06/2006 15:46

I haven't posted for a while. Amazed at Chana & Bill. Where in my posting did I mention Homeopathy? No-where as I am not in a postition to make any claims or detract from something I know nothing about. Although I know it works for some but not for all. So does Chemotherapy - works for some but not for all. As for the claim from Bill I think, that his allopathic carers have never just treated the symptoms but always treat the root problem. I hope you never present with eg. IBS then as I would be interested to know how they would treat the root cause of that or indeed high blood pressure. What I meant by gentle, natural treatments was Complimentary Therapies (of which I poo poo'd myself for years) but found to my great surprise worked wonderfully for me without my ever having to put a man-made pill in my mouth. Also, I have seen them work time and time again and they never even cost as much per treatment as a visit to my G.P.

Bill  Posted: 20/06/2006 18:40

Sallie says, “.. Homeopathy… I am not in a position to make any claims … that I know nothing about…” AND then she says “I know it works for some”. I agree that you know nothing about Homeopathy and therefore you CANNOT make a statement like “I know it works for some”. If you know nothing about it then you cannot make any claims. I DO know something about Homeopathy and I can assure you it is completely useless. Homeopathy does not “work” for anyone because it is 100% nonsense. Homeopathy is based on magic and magic does not actually work…. for anyone. Chemo DOES work. Like most medical treatments it works to a certain probability of success, e.g. if given too late the chances of it working are less. You cannot compare Chemo to Homeopathy. Chemo is a very valuable tool for doctors, Homeopathy is a straight up con. I have serious doubts any actual illness exists called IBS. It belongs to a class of “illnesses” that are mainly related to mental health and mild depression. These class of “illnesses” are the main stay of the sCAM industry. The fact that sCAM artists may sometimes charge less than qualified doctors is irrelevant. Nonsense and hocus pocus are worth ZERO and to pay anything more than nothing for treatment from sCAM artist is a rip off.

Chana  Posted: 21/06/2006 10:12

Bill, I PERSONALLY KNOW THREE PEOPLE WITH ibs AND IF YOU EVEN HAD THE remotest CLUE ABOUT IT AT ALL, YOU WOULD NOT HAVE THE BLATANT AUDACITY to sneer and say it is not a "real illness"

Sallie  Posted: 21/06/2006 12:39

Well, Bill, there you go ranting again. I know people who say that Homeopathy worked/works for them. If it works for them then thats fine by me. What is Chemotherapy Bill? Its a word to use a mixture of drugs. Nothing more. I have worked in this field for years and let me tell you, it works for some but not for all. It is very much trial and error as to what drugs are chosen to treat each patient and what is usually the right choice for that individual patient is also dictated by cost?? If a particular drug is thought to be the right one it is often not used because it is too expensive. Do you call that good practice? Wake up Bill, you don't have all the answers. We are living in a country that promotes breast screening for women over 50 but its not available in the West. Doesn't that say a lot about our medical system.

Bill  Posted: 21/06/2006 13:28

You know 3 people who "think" they have IBS.

LifeHandle  Posted: 21/06/2006 14:56

IBS can also be caused by food intolerance e.g. for bread, milk etc. An alergy test would help determine if food is the cause of your IBS.

Bill  Posted: 21/06/2006 19:46

Allergies are greatly exaggerated. "Allergy testing" is very often another sCAM. Never get such testing done by anyone except a medically trained person, otherwise you may be told that you have an allergy that you do not have. You will then avoid some food that you is perfectly good for you.

Sallie  Posted: 21/06/2006 22:39

Bill, If IBS is not an illness why do GP's constantly prescribe medication for it? Also, Bill, Could you answer Mary's question dated 05/05/06 "How would voicing a personal opinion of a doctor be in breach of a nurses ethics"?

Chana  Posted: 22/06/2006 15:05

Bill, I know three people wiht MEDICALLY DIAGNOSED IBS. Unless of course you imagine you know more not only than GPs but more than gastroenterologists.

Bill  Posted: 22/06/2006 18:54

Nurse's ethics forbid them from voicing a medical opinion on any matter that they are not formally trained in. A nurse therefore cannot give an accurate medical opinion on a doctor, his diagnosis, treatment or otherwise. Nurses are not trained as doctors are. I personally know nurses that hold daft, unscientific and silly opinions. Nurses are not scientifically trained. One of the reasons you get a doctor to recommend a consultant is that they are trained to do this, nurses are not. IBS is just a catch all to describe the symptoms that people, mainly women describe to doctors. There is no known cause and all sorts of symptoms get lumped in. It’s clear if you read up on it that it is associated with stress, anxiety, mild depression, and then these in turn cause a feedback that exacerbates the problem. For example one might start taking too much laxative and then that causes a problem. Not going to the loo when you should or the opposite going to often. etc.. etc.. The best way to get rid of IBS is to stop taking anything to cure it, eat properly (i.e. less junk food, more fibre, proper diet etc), eat regularly, exercise and most of all stop worrying. Maybe the reason some doctors diagnose IBS is that it is an easy way to get rid of the patient rather then try and convince them that it’s mainly in their mind. Doctors don’t normally get stuck in an argument with patients as to whether their illness is in their heads. Presumably for such a relatively trivial matter they don’t refer to a psychiatrist either. It’s much more common in women and women seem to be more prone to hypochondria are more superstitious and more faddy.

Chana  Posted: 23/06/2006 09:44

Two of the three IBS sufferers are men and the sytmtoms are not "catch-all", thy are very clearly medically defined. In all threr ases there is a very definite causes - none of which have anythign to do with strss, anxiety, deptression or bowel motiosn and beleive my they could eat organic diets and xercise forever and it wouldn't go away. Incidentally, it's not in their mind - it's in their BOWEL, that's what it's called IBS. It's strage tho', lookinfg at your theory, that these people have been referred to gastroenteroligists rather than psychiatrists. Clearly you are mixing this up with colitis, which is stress related. iNCIDENTALLY, I would love to see you with IBS, and then hear you call it trivial. If you had even the remotest idea what it was like, believe me, you wouldn't. I've never yet met women who's a hypchondriac but plenty of men (mainly older and middle aged) who think every cold is pneumonia and every hadache is brain tumor. Don't know many superstitious people in general. As for "faddy", I know a couple of toddlers who are described as "faddy eaters" but i assume this is not what you are referring to.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 24/06/2006 00:03

Bill mentioned one thing that is REALLY important for sufferers of IBS. FIBER. Try to get lots of it. It is really easy to get these days. There are all sorts of products. Onet that comes to mind are these tablets known as 'Fibercon'. Part of the problem with IBS is probably the fact that the bowel is not getting enough stimulation and the stool is too soft and sticky and too difficult for the bowel to move down the tract. Everyone I've known who has increased their fiber intake significantly has found it VERY effective in relieving IBS. Also Aloe Vera softgels might prove useful since Aloe Vera inhibits bradykinin which mediates smooth muscle inflammation. I've been taking two of them a day for well over a year now and one of their effects has been to relieve a lot of gut pain. But what do I know? I am not a doctor. I just read a lot of research reports and try stuff and find out what works for me. And if I can't find a solution, I see my doctor for some real medicine and professional advice (and I am not being sarcastic, I really do value professional medicine, and so should all of you).

Sallie  Posted: 24/06/2006 00:06

Bill, that is just absolute tosh! Nurses can and do give advice/recommendations to patients all the time. They are not gagged or 'forbidden' in any way. You are so pedantic you are almost amusing. As for the IBS issue. There is a case for it being psychosomatic in origin but when one has a severe pain in ones abdomen, one has a severe pain in ones abdomen! It needs treatment & is treated regularly by G.P.'s with a variety of medications. Presumably using your analogy, these G.P.'s are defrauding a great deal by giving treatments for something that doesn't exist!

waxie  Posted: 26/06/2006 17:38

I practice T.M...so does my son who has aspergers. In the year he has learned his school work and concentration has improved drastically from bottom of the class to being top now. He is 8. I had I.B.S when i was 20, suffered for years, discovered ayurveda, now ive no I.B.S am healthy and happy at 35, i look 25. Five of my friends learned T.M lately and have been shocked at how simple it is and the profound effect it has had on them. To the people who are getting all caught up by this williams character, dont be to bothered by these people...your not going to educate them. Life experience means nothing to them, only figures on paper. How boring to live life by numbers. These poor people probably need to take blood tests on themselves to check their blood sugar levels to make sure that they are really hungry and that its not just all in their minds! All the evidence is out there for T.M if you want to trawl through it all...but what will be missing in the evidence is peoples experiences. It's experience that is the ultimate science...scientists discover this to their peril..remember thalidomide? Ayurveda and T.M has been practised and it's effects documented for the last 5000 years in the east. Modern science cant match its knowledge.

Bill  Posted: 27/06/2006 08:52

Eating tablets instead of food with fibre is daft. We do NOT need tablets with fibre, eat some nice brown bread. Give up the cornflakes and white bread. This is typical faulty logic that causes people to become victims of the con artists that sell supplements, most of which will end up banned shortly under the new CODEX rules. I am quite confident that George’s tablet Aloe Vera is simply a waste of his money. Taking tablets not prescribed by your doctor simply makes you the mark of the advertising industry and big sCAM. You are being conned George. Nurses most certainly are forbidden to give advice outside their training; it’s called “Scope of Practice”. I see that Sallie agrees with me re IBS, “is a case for it being psychosomatic in origin”. Pains can be caused by stress as well. As I’ve already said the “treatment” of IBS may actually cause problems. Taking too many laxatives certainly will cause a problem. I know one man who takes dozens of useless “supplement” tablets per day, that cannot be good for you. Waxie is obviously a card carrying new age hippie. All nonsense is equally valid to her. This is common, you often find people who because of their lack of the ability to critically analyse matters swallow any quackery. TM is utter nonsense and a way for sCAM artists to make money from foolish people. TM cannot help your son in class work. I might add that those suffering from Asperger’s often are quite clever and mathematical, your son may do well despite TM. TM is based on magic and magic doesn’t work. Can u levitate Waxie, as those running TM claim they can? If not do you believe THEY can? If not then why believe any lies they tell? My “character” is not relevant, what I say is either right or wrong. I object to waxie’s comment re “educating me”. It is a lack of education that leads people to be conned by those peddling snake oil. “Life experience” is another sCAM buzz word and Waxie’s post is full of them, the usual false logic, anecdotal evidence and insults that form the basis of the rationale used by the followers of the New Age religions. Waxie says that “experience means nothing (to me), only figures on paper”, Can I ask Waxie would she fly in a plane not designed by “figures on paper”. If not then why should medicine or biology be exempt from “figures on paper”. All science is based on “figures on paper” and that sentence alone shows Waxie’s total lack of understanding of the Scientific Method which applies to all aspects of reality. To dump science, statistics and research in favour of “life experience” is obviously main stream quackery. Those that peddle sham treatments and medicine constantly make claims such as this otherwise it would be difficult to con people. What has Thalidomide got to do with anything? All medicine carries the risk that it will cause unforeseen damage. Today that risk is very small as testing (using figures on paper) is far more extensive then it was in the 50’s. I might add that many so called Ayurvedic “medicines” contain toxic levels of lead and mercury and should never be used. Modern Science that put man on the Moon, gives us heart transplants, computers, jet aircraft and an understanding of the origins of the Universe cannot match the religions of 5,000 years ago? Are you serious? No religion without exception has ever offered man anything except contradictions, abuse, slavery, indoctrination, hatred and childish nonsense such as devils, gods and hell.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 27/06/2006 17:43

Bill, Fibercon tablets WERE in fact recommended to me by several doctors (MDs). Doctors OFTEN recommend fiber laxitives to their patients. And of course one should get plenty of fiber in their food, but sometimes even that is not enough. If food itself were the solution, doctors would not have to prescribe any kind of pill. As for the aloe, it is not in tablet form, but in soft gell form, and the major reason I am taking them is for heart palpitations (PVCs). My doctor (MD) IS aware that I am taking them and has advised me to continue taking them since they have proven far more effective than Metoprolol in controlling the palpitations. Herbal substances are not useless as you allege. Many of them have very powerful effects on the body and can, in fact, be dangerous if used carelessly. The heart palpitation benefit I am receiving from aloe probably has some connection with the way it interacts with aldosterone. There are prescription meds that would acheive the same end, but they are extremely expensive and for now the aloe is doing the job and doing it well. AND it also cleared up my gut problem in the process.

Chana  Posted: 27/06/2006 17:56

Bill, take a look at: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/536012 "Transcendental Meditation May Improve Blood Pressure and Insulin Resistance"

Sallie  Posted: 27/06/2006 22:58

Bill, All QUALIFIED nurses are professionals in their own right. They are free to give any information of a medical nature to patients provided it is in the interest of those patients. Also, if, as a nurse (in a hospital setting) a patient is precribed a drug by a doctor, I (as a nurse)am not obliged by ANY law to give it if I feel it is not appropriate for that patient. My only responsibility is to discuss why I am not happy giving it with the doctor who precribed it. If, perchance it was a mistaken prescription on the part of the doctor and I had given the drug, I would be liable, not the doctor. If nurses were as gagged as you think they are how on earth do you think Public Health Nurses function? Also, IBS is a condition that is not linked solely to the intake of fibre. Like most medical conditions it can be very much exacerbated by stress. You talk about marketing in connection to supplement use/sales. How do you think G.P.'s know about what drugs are on the market? Why do you think a huge proportion of this country is on seroxat? Only today I read in a newspaper that Prosac is now considered safe for children?? Who in their right mind would even think, let alone suggest that a child should be put on prosac? Of course we all need main stream medicine but we also have to look at the broader picture. Main stream medicine can only treat symptoms and is certainly not holistic in any way. Holistic care is far more beneficial to everybody and beats pill popping for the sake of it!

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 28/06/2006 05:07

So why would TM lower blood pressure (and provide a number of other health benefits? Perhaps because a number of health problems these days result from stress. Constant stress results in excessive amounts of substances like epinephrine and aldosterone in the blood. Adosterone increases plasma levels of PAI-1, which causes blood to clot more readily. This is a natural process. Under stress the body prepares via epinephrine to be prepared to fight or flee. In addition the aldosterone process prepares the body for possible injury, in which case blood would clot more readily preventing excessive loss of blood. When this happens chronically as a result of continual mental stress, great damage is done to the body. The core of the body is unnecessarily and repeatedly starved for adequate blood supply, and the blood stream is polluted with a clot promoting chemistry that is a recipe for heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, hypertension and a number of other ailments. TM is a form of mental exercise that tends to limit these damaging events. It is not a matter of magic, rather it is a matter of science. It doesn't require TM, any form of mental relaxation will do. I am convinced that this pre-metabolic syndrome is rampant and unrecognized in this modern world and is the underlying cause of significant amounts of disease and premature death.

Bill  Posted: 28/06/2006 08:27

George I simply do not believe what you say in your post. “Several doctors”, i.e. 3 or more have recommended Fibercon to you? You certainly seem to visit a lot of doctors and that in itself tells us something. I did not say “food is the solution… to everything”. Certainly much of modern illness is related to food, smoking and a lack of exercise but the solution is not tablets. The taking of laxatives over the long term would almost certainly be bad for you. What your doctor(s) may have said and what you think you heard may not be the same thing. Perhaps your doctor thinks you are a crackpot and that the taking of these substances keeps you happy, deluded maybe but happy. (I’m not saying that you are a crackpot, I’m simply suggesting that that is what your doctor may think. Doctors are faced daily with silly patients taking all sorts of useless “remedies” and they probably couldn’t care less that their patients are being conned.) So Aloe Vera (a well known sCAM wonder drug) cures your palpitations AND your IBS. It’s amazing how sellers of snake oil claim they cure almost everything. One of the first indications that a substance is useless is when claims are made that it cures hundreds of ailments. There are no such substances either in main stream medicine or quackery. There are hundreds of quack “natural” wonder drugs on the sCAM market and different people swear to different ones. They are all being conned. There are almost no “powerful” herbal remedies. Almost all herbal remedies are completely useless, they neither help nor injure the taker except for his wallet. The reason people THINK they are useful is lying advertisements by those making a killing selling cheap rubbish (all the Irish media are guilty of this), uneducated people googling quack web sites, gossip amongst hypochondriacs and downright stupidity. Chana, the one that says this, “In a randomized study, transcendental meditation may be a novel therapeutic target for the treatment of CHD, ***but researchers are cautious because of the small sample size and short duration, patient population not representative of the general CHD population; use of an indirect measure of insulin resistance; lack of ambulatory blood pressure monitoring or waist circumference data; use of self-reported psychosocial stress measures; and insufficient power for subgroup analyses..***” One off, badly carried out studies are bordering on useless. Furthermore the effect reported was marginal. Anyone doing a TM study knows they are doing it and the placebo effect comes into action. They THINK they are doing something that may help them so some they THINK that it has. Most people (the general public and not scientifically trained persons) who have been conned by one quack or another misunderstand “studies” There are a huge number of published studies. Some are published in non peer reviewed low quality publications, some are held with too few subjects, some are very badly designed, some are biased and carried out by those with a vested interest in a positive outcome, some are just medical students learning their trade, others have statistical weaknesses and most have no corroborating high quality studies to support them. Studies NOT showing an effect are generally NOT published. If you do enough simple low quality studies sooner or later one of them MUST statistically speaking indicate an effect where there is none. In fact to counteract this many top quality publications now demand that the study is reported to them BEFORE it begins so negative outcomes can be published. Wakefield’s “study” linking MMR with Autism published in The Lancet is an obvious example. Do not read too much into a single study OR you WILL draw false conclusions.

Maggie  Posted: 28/06/2006 14:07

Sallie, mainstream medecine does not just treat symptoms, if it did we would never be cured of any underlying illness. Bill, the fact that George needs to attend a lot of Dr's tell us only that he is unfortunate enough to require rather more medical care than you. So Bill you are now saying that George's Dr's is effecively prscribing plaebo's and lying - in addition to being uncaring (any Dr. who is hat uncariung, in my opinion, does not belong where is)? This surely is tantamount to fraud.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 28/06/2006 18:42

Bill, if you think the nurses are hard on you, you would be shocked at some of the things that researchers (including editors of some prominent medical journals) have to say about some doctors. They include terms such as stubborn and unteachable and interested only in the goodies they can get from the pharmaceutical companies (not in anyway connected with their support for certain prescription drugs of course). Of course, in return, the docs lambast them as loonies. Such facinating professional behavior!

Sallie  Posted: 28/06/2006 21:35

Maggie, I am not knocking mainstream medicine but if you go to your Doctor with no symptoms how will he treat you? He simply cannot treat something if there are no symptoms?

Maggie  Posted: 30/06/2006 08:57

Sallie, unless it was for health screening or birth control, if I had no symptoms, why on earth would I be going to the Dr. in the first place??

Niall  Posted: 30/06/2006 14:28

Alternative medicine is fine. People have free will , and it's up to them what they put into their own bodies. "research" is meaningless unless it's good research. Most studies into the effectiveness of complementary therapies don't fall into this bracket. They are small, poorly planned trials. The public don't understand them, and accept their conclusions because it's "research". Conventional medicines are what i'd choose to take any day. Perhaps it's because I'm a doctor. Perhaps it's becasue they have, by and large, being subjected to large scale randomised controlled trials. That's my choice. Conventional medicine doesn't have all the answers. But at least we know what we do have the answers to. Most alternative therapies work on a placebo basis. If you go to a homeopathist with a chronic disease he'll tell you he can cure you, or relive your symptoms.Therefore whatever he gives you will make you fell better. Your doctor shouldn't do this. He can suggest treatments which may of may not work. he should advise you of any significant side effcts. Your alternative practitioner doesn't have to do this. Your conventional doctor has to report side effects to a central agency who monitor drug safety. Your homeopathist does not. However, I'm a great believer in people doing what they want. You pay your money and you take your chances. It's all about freedom of choice. However, I do get annoyed by the alternative medicine lobby claiming efficacy on the basis of no proof, or scant evidence.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 30/06/2006 18:17

Niall, you are exactly the kind of MD that I would recommend to anyone without hesitation. You are exactly correct in warning people to be skeptical when it comes to alternative medicine. It is indeed fraught with danger in terms of lack of oversight. However, there are cases that are exceptions. I would argue, for example, a case for aloe. It has been around for years. For the non-laxitive form, there are no indications of any significant side effects or interactions. There is one study that indicates near miraculous effects on angina. There is another study that documents improvements in cholesterol and blood sugar numbers. I take it, my doctor is seeing those same improvements in blood chemistry numbers. Its dirt cheap. That in and of itself is good enough for me. Same with CoQ10. There are a number of studies in a number of countries. All of them are positive. There are no safety concerns. The potential benefits are legion. I am perfectly willing to spend the money and take the tiny risk. To me its a no brainer. On the other hand, I felt like I was getting significant side effects from metoprolol and lisinopril. I looked at the research. I confronted my doctor on the issue and requested that he move me to losartan. He assured me that he was in total agreement and was even considering it himself. I now feel much better and am doing fine. Its great to have a doctor like that!

Bill  Posted: 30/06/2006 20:08

Niall do people have a "right" to be conned?

Sallie  Posted: 30/06/2006 20:58

Maggie, Yep, your right. Mea Culpa! My comment was left hanging without any explanation. Apologies. What I meant was that for the purpose of a diagnosis, the symptoms have to exist. (I was replying to the posting about IBS). Taking tablets in most cases for the symptoms of such conditions does not cure the underlying condition & sometimes even makes things worse. In saying that, I am not against conventional medicine but I feel that to treat patients in a holistic way, they can very often benefit from Complimentary Therapies. Niall, The use of the term Alternative Therapies scares me as I feel they can't be 'alternatives'. Professional Complimentary Therapists work alongside conventional medicine and certainly do not make any claims. Reflexology is used in a lot of hospitals in conjunction with conventional treatments to great effect. There have been plenty of studies carried out & indeed it is a Doctor of (Conventional) Medicine who developed Reflexology into what it is today as he seen its effects with his own patients.

Bill  Posted: 03/07/2006 11:17

The problem with your line of reasoning George is that it is the same for all sCAM remedies. You happen to be a fan of a couple of them but other people are fans of all the thousands of others. You claim to be skeptical but so does everyone! No one claims to be gullible but MOST people are. You are. One of the most common opening sentences when sCAM remedies are being touted is, “I used to be skeptical but now ….”. How can you possibly claim to be skeptical and dismiss say 99% of sCAM and yet by an amazing coincidence your favourite sCAM actually works? [As an aside but logically connected: When any member of particular religion or sect understands why he isn’t a member of every another religion why can’t he understand whey he shouldn’t be a member of his particular religion?] My sister in law took Echinacea to ward off colds and had solid arguments (all false unfortunately) to support her belief. After I sent her various reports, studies and comments she eventually gave up. I have a client who takes hundreds of supplement tablets per week and he swears by them all! He is being conned. I can fully understand how a small bit of “research” via goggle, a need for a solution, a suspension of disbelief and the antics of those making a killing will convince even the most intelligent of individuals to try these cures. They are ALL useless or at the very best unreliable and there are better fully tested and proven main stream medicines. One of the most common problems with sCAM remedies is the dosage. Any investigation I have read clearly shows that they vary dramatically from what is written on the label and because there are no PROPER clinical studies there is no known dosage anyway. Neither is there a causative link for most of them. Furthermore many herbal cures contain a vast array of chemicals and the potential “active” ingredient isn’t even known. Do not forget that there are doctors that are complete idiots and chancers. Doctors are not taught properly the scientific method and many are not scientifically inclined. To become a doctor does not entail any scientific bent. You can amass the necessary points from Home Economics, English, Spanish, Economics, etc with some science subjects. A little bit of knowledge mixed with a lack of a rigorous scientific and logical mind can result is seriously daft conclusions.

Bill  Posted: 03/07/2006 12:43

Sallie your last post gets 0/10 for logic. “I am not against conventional medicine”. There are people who are? I would love to see how many people after a car crash would skip A & E and head to their Reflexologist! A major sCAM buzzword is “holistic treatment”. What exactly can this mean? Does it mean (as in Homeopathy) that people with red hair get a different treatment? I might add that one way sCAM fools people is by using terminology that is undefined and meaningless. Religion does the same. “Professional” cannot be used alongside sCAM. There is no recognised “Profession” of fraud. Doing some Micky Mouse, con artist run, part time “course” in magic does not make one a “professional”. Some Reflexologists have conned their way into some hospitals, often under the guise of massage, but this does not give it an imprimatur or indicate and actual use or benefit. To say that Reflexology has been used, “ to great effect” is a lie. It is a common lie and typical of posts praising sCAM. It is an unsupported, meaningless, undocumented, uncorroborated, anecdotal phrase. Reflexology is useless or at best no more use than any massage. As I said in a previous post there are many nutcases who are also doctors and being a doctor does not confer any ability to change the laws of physics, chemistry or biology. The concept behind Reflexology is totally ABSURD. The notion that there are parts of the foot’s soul that connect to all organs and that massaging them cures illness in these organs is so obviously stupid that it is amazing that someone who has the ability to talk and write a letter can actually believe it. Do you REALLY think that massaging say the ball of your foot can cure heart disease or massaging the big toe cures cancer of the liver?

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 03/07/2006 19:36

Bill, people have a right to make INFORMED DECISIONS. Obviously, you do not agree with this and instead believe that people are to be treated as children by self appointed experts such as yourself. Thankfully, practitioners like you are in the minority. A recent study indicated that people who see older doctors have significantly less success in getting their problems solved as compared to those who see younger doctors. This certainly does not surprise me as younger doctors are far more open minded than their older peers. When it comes to medicine, I am interested in solutions that work. I am not interested in knowing all of the fancy science behind the cure, just in the cure itself. I have no idea what it is in aloe vera that stopped my palpitations. I only know that it did the job in 24 hours and it did the job completely. I subsequently stopped and restarted the aloe multiple times and the palpitations were turned on and off like a switch. There is no doubt as to its effectiveness for me. If its a placebo effect, it is certainly very impressive and effective and I am avoiding a surgical procedure because of it. I know that it won't work for everybody and I wouldn't recommend it to everybody. I would tell someone with palpitations to take it for a few days and by that time you will KNOW if it will solve your problem or not. Why should I or anyone else have to put up with chronic symptoms simply because the obvious solution is not approved by someone like yourself. As for CoQ10, it has the backing of a former president of the International Society of Hypertension and a number of other MDs with impecable credentials and training and experience that likely far exceeds yours. It is a vitamin that maintains healthy heart function and there is plenty of evidence that its deficiency can result in heart failure. It and its role where identified by the US National Institute of Health which rendered it unpatentable and meant that it would have no major drug company to trumpet its virtues. Thus it gets branded a sCAM by people who are only interested in the highly profitable cures being promoted by the drug peddlers.

Sallie  Posted: 03/07/2006 21:40

Bill, I really laughed when I read your last post. It is obviously crystal clear that you haven't got a notion about Reflexology. As for Reflexologists "conning their way into hospitals". Thats even funnier! You managed to lump in together, Reflexology, Massage & Homeopathy. I don't know what you know wabout the latter 2 but you certainly no nothing about Reflexology. Reflexology has & is used to GREAT effect. Tough Bill, get over it. Its a fact. As for people bypassing A & E after an R.T.A. & going to a Reflexologist? Well, Bill whoever suggested that? My point is that Complimentary Therapy used professionally & appropriately alongside Allopathic care works.

Mary  Posted: 04/07/2006 17:24

Sallie, again you insist on calling conventional medicine "allopathic" this is simply untrue and frankly misleading. Drs do not just treat symptoms. If they did, they would never cue any diseases or ailments. The use symptoms as well as tests to assist in diagnosing and then treat the underlying illness and where possible its cause in addition to the relif of symptoms. This is the way all GPs I have ever known have practised. If your Dr. merely treats symptoms I suggest you find a different Dr. and soon.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 04/07/2006 18:54

My appologies if I am posting to frequently, but I would like to challenge a couple more of Bill's allegations. The first is the concept that if we eat properly, we will have no need of food based supplements. That is simply not necessarily true in the time in which we live. Let me provide two very clear examples. 1) Fish oil supplements. Most people simply do not get enough Omega-3 fatty acids in their diet. That shouldn't be happening, but it is. The reasons: 1) People are avoiding fish because fish these days is laced with toxic heavy metals. This was not true a few decades ago. 2) Much of the fish people do eat is farmed. Farmed fish are fed on completely different diets than wild fish and tests are showing that they are critically deficient in crucial nutrients such as Omega-3 fatty acids. 2) The beef people eat these days is produced on feedlots. Tests are showing that, guess what? Feedlot beef is woefully deficient in those same fatty acids. So why take fish oil supplements? Because unlike other sources, many fish oil supplements are carefully processed to remove all heavy metal contaminants (this is important - verify it before you buy!). Additionally, fish oil supplements do not contain toxic amounts of vitamin A (this is also important - beware of cod liver oil - you can poison yourself!). The same case can be made for CoQ10 supplements. The bulk of food based CoQ10 comes from liver. People don't eat much liver these days because of justifiable concerns about toxic contamination. In addition, much of the body's supply of CoQ10 is self generated in the human liver. And guess what? A side effect of statin drugs is to cut off CoQ10 production in the same process by which it cuts down cholesterol production. This is real science folks, not the fake stuff some are pushing. And deficiency in CoQ10 plays a major role in the onset of Congestive Heart Failure. Bill makes a big thing about his sister-in-law and Echinacea. Like Bill, I welcomed the research that opened to us the truth about Echinacea. I took it for a while, but stopped long before that research because I couldn't see any effectiveness to it. But, assuming I had continued to take it. How much damage would that have caused me? A sCAM? Perhaps, but a rather innocuous one in the whole scheme of things. On the other hand, how many people were harmed by the fact that doctors for years took people off of saturated fats and stuck them with trans fats, with heart disease only accellerating as a result. How many people were harmed by that sCAM and failure to properly test a new product?

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 04/07/2006 19:15

Sallie, I have to agree with Mary concerning your use of the term 'Allopathic'. One thing that really bothers me on this forum is the way that people use terms that are really quasi religious. Certainly many conventional treatments are Allopathic. Treatments for everything from hypertension, diabetes, etc. fit that description. But really. People these days are CURED of cancer, heart disease, bacterial and fungal infection and a host of other ailments and to label those cures as Allopathic is a huge stretch that takes some strong religious conviction. On the other hand, when it comes to Reflexology, there is simply much we don't know, and that is where Bill is way off the track. Theorapies like Reflexology, Acupuncture and Acupressure all amount to the artificial and targeted stimulation of certain specific nerves and who really knows how those stimuli are processed by the human brain and what resulting neurological or biochemical processes result? I, personally, am not a great fan of these treatments, but I know people who have gotten what they feel are great results from them and who am I to question that? On the other hand, Bill, unfortunately, has a religious dedication to an old school, rigid, scientific process, which discards and maliciously labels anything it doesn't understand. That is unfortunate.

Sallie  Posted: 04/07/2006 21:30

Mary, I am fully aware of what Doctors do as I have been a nurse for the past 30+ years. For the record according to Chambers 20th Century Dictionary the word Allopathic means - "Orthodox medical practice, treatment of diseases by drugs, etc., whose effect on the body is the opposite of that of the disease, distinguished from homoeopathy.-n. allopath.-adj. allopathic -n. allopathist. (Ger. allopathie, coined by Hahnemann (1755-1843) - Gr. allos, other, pathos, suffering.)"

Bill  Posted: 06/07/2006 12:05

George I don’t have time to reply to all your unscientific waffle but your claims that farmed fish and beef are “seriously deficient” is simply nonsense. There is no measurable difference between “organic” and farm reared food. Many supplements contain dangerous levels of toxic materials, especially Indian based “remedies”. Fish does NOT contain dangerous amounts of containments unless you eat nothing but fish day in day out permanently. (Did you know that our bodies contain 1 trillion atoms of radioactive Uranium?) The notion that our food is toxic is a BIG part of the sCAM industry. It isn’t. There is no “justifiable concerns” except those generated by quacks, con artists and the atrocious, unscientific, unprofessional mass media. We do not need to eat fish. Even if Omega-3 is good for us it’s marginal. Whether or not a supplement damages you or not is not the only issue. People buying these supplements are being conned out of their money. Do you think that’s acceptable? Besides the damage that supplements and sCAM remedies can cause there are other problems such as using say Homeopathic “remedies” to ward off the ‘flu instead of a proper medical vaccine. At least one person has died in Ireland that I know of in the last year when they stopped taking their asthmatic medicine and started taking a useless sCAM “remedy” instead. Fake medicine does kill people. You keep saying I am “off the track” and I “don’t understand” Reflexology. I do understand it, it’s a total scam. On the other hand all you do is make meaningless generalisations about “it being great help”. Explain how the idiotic notion that your liver is attached to the soul of your foot, and that even if it is via some magic “energy channel” that massaging it might affect the liver. If you can’t then your argument for Reflexology collapses. I had to laugh when I read one Reflexology site recently. It said that it was NOT recommended with those with a heart condition. This is so funny. Reflexology has no affect whatsoever, except maybe helping you fall asleep. And falling asleep is not bad for your heart. These sort of lies are typical of the sCAM industry. Falsely claiming that something useless is dangerous for you is the logical opposite to what they normally claim but helps cement the ridiculous notion that Reflexology has a powerful effect when it doesn’t. An even more ridiculous example is when Homeopathic sCAM merchants claim that THE MORE diluted a substance is the more powerful it is. Laughable. Presumably NONE whatsoever is lethal then. The lack of logic and people’s gullibility is enough to give you a head ache.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 06/07/2006 18:26

Bill, here is just one fact sheet on farmed fish from Cornell University: http://envirocancer.cornell.edu/Newsletter/articles/v7rc.salmon.cfm To categorically state that toxins in food are not a problem is ridiculous. The media here in the US is loaded with studies being published by reputable institutions indicating just the opposite. They ONLY voices claiming that food is safe from contamination are coming from the corporate food industry. Aside from that EVERYBODY knows that this is a huge problem.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 06/07/2006 22:00

Here is a factsheet on fishoil from Harvard Medical School: http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/health_benefits_of_fish_oil.htm Note their advice: They emphasize the the most healthy part of the fish is the fat, but then advise that you cut that off in order to limit consumption of the toxics. And that is exactly the point I was trying to make with my fish oil post. As for Reflexology, I am certainly not defending or advocating Reflexology. I am simply saying that there is a lot we don't know about the human nervous system and the mind/body connection. And I am also saying that it is not the clear cut, black and white world that many on this forum, including Bill, make it out to be. There are things that we know to be patently scams, and there are things that we know to have proven safety and efficacy, and there is a whole lot which doesn't neatly fit in either category. Add to that the fact that conventional medicine has had its share of failures and fiascos, and you learn that it pays to be both skeptical of and receptive to the merits innovative approaches that may not have conventional medicine's formal seal of approval. It is sad that even brilliant achademics like Linus Pauling are branded as lunatics by arrogant elitists, little men devoid of imagination and creativity whose only contribution to society is to point out the flaws in those of far greater stature than they themselves. To be sure there is a lot of snake oil in the market place. But the task before us is not to brand everything unconventional as being snake oil, but rather to research and sort the wheat from the chaff. And doing that involves learning to smell out the big money and the stuff it is trying to promote, be it some supplement or some prescription med. And that in and of itself doesn't mean either are bad. It just means we need to know when the research in question has an agenda behind it. Also note that some folks like Bill, who often post on this forum, rarely provide authoritative references for their bold assertions. THEY THEMSELVES are the authority, but they have provided us no credentials other than possibly that they are doctors and Bill himself pointed out that many doctors are far from authoritative. So we need to be very discerning as we seek to learn more about approaches to medicine that are both safe and effective. One thing is certain. The providers of forums like this one are doing a great service to public health by providing a place where these issues can be intelligently debated and discussed. There is ample opportunity here, not only for patients to vent at their doctors, but also for doctors to vent back at their patients, and thats a good thing!

Sallie  Posted: 06/07/2006 22:28

Well, Bill, I have to admit I agree fully with you on 2- 3 points. Firstly, yes, I too, would laugh at a Reflexology site that would say that you could not work on people with heart conditons - total crap that is. I am against quick fly-by-night practitioners also that are in the game for personal gain. All I can say is that I belong to a professional body that is strictly regulated and I would not be accepted for membership without having carried out on-going learning, study, case studies and submit these for critical assessment. All my clients have an in-put in this process too. I welcome such criteria being laid down by the governing bodies as it is the only way that the 'chancers' are brought to light. You say, we should not believe everything we read but you seem to do this yourself all the time. Furthermore, the use of supplements is also big business which I do not agree with. If we are fit and healthy and eat a balanced diet, we do not need to take a myriad of supplements every day. Nothing beats eating healthy foods to the best of our ability and taking supplements as a substitute to a sensible diet is not advisable. However, there are times in our lives when we do need some support, whether that is during pregnancy, adolescences, old age, ill health, during menopause, and/or post-surgery when we are in a weaker state. They have a place at those times to support our weakened systems. The use of Omega 3's & 6's has been studied. The only medical studies carried out to date is on premature babies for which giving omega's (L.C.P's) is definately beneficial to the baby in the development of the eye & brain. These lcp's are also passed from mother to child in breastfeeding. The body cannot produce long chain polyunsaturated (l.c.p's) so unless we take them in our diet we will be at a loss. A sensible diet will fully alleviate this problem which in turn means we do not need to take them in supplement form. However, no research has been done into their use in the adult population so there might well be a case to answer for their promotion which could just be good marketing in promoting their use in the general public for profit making. Taking anything that the body does not need is silly and there are quack practitioners in all walks of life. Isn't there a Doctor in Co. Clare who is registered with the G.M.C. who claims to cure cancer?? We can all point to bogus practitioners but there is no point throwing the baby out with the dishwater either.

Bill  Posted: 08/07/2006 09:17

George. Everything can be described as a problem. Of course there is pollution. Of course BOTH farmed and wild creatures have chemicals in them that are man made. Your point was that wild was better than farmed BUT the article that you referred us to said the EXACT opposite. It referred to the contamination of wild fish. I think like many people with a half understood version of science you spouted an incorrect statement then and when I challenged it, instead of reviewing your position you did a bit of googling and pulled up an article that seemed to support your position. It doesn’t! You said, “As for Reflexology, I am certainly not defending or advocating Reflexology”. YOU WERE. Are you back tracking? Forget about the “mind/body connection”, it’s just new age waffle. George you said, “There are things that we know to be patently scams, and there are things that we know to have proven safety and efficacy, and there is a whole lot which doesn't neatly fit in either category” These “things” that don’t fit into either category are unproven treatments that are being sold to sick gullible people and the reason they are “unproven” is that the are just made up by con artists. “Linus Pauling” was a crackpot as well as a great scientist. ALL Reflexologists are “fly-by-night practitioners”. How can you “regulate” a con? How can you “learn” a con? There are times one needs supplements but I doubt that 1% of the supplements market falls into this category. If you need a supplement your doctor will advise you. I also suspect that the people with bad diets are probably the last people that take supplements. If they are so stupid to eat nothing but sh1te then they are unlikely to also take the proper supplements. And even sh1te contains most of the vitamins, protein etc that we need, just in the wrong quantities. Sallie, ALL sCAM “practitioners” are quacks. The vast majority of doctors are not, that is the difference.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 08/07/2006 13:22

Many Irish people, and Bill in particular, could learn a lot from this website: http://thyroid.about.com/ What's the connection to alternative medicine? In a word, fluoridation.

Mary  Posted: 10/07/2006 11:13

Oh dear, I see Joe is on his flouridation rant AGAIN.

Bill  Posted: 10/07/2006 18:30

Not alone that but he is still pusing his favourite book via this link. Once more Joe has referred us to a useless link. The "expert" view was written by... wait for it a "communications consultant". Can she fly planes? Build bridges? Fix your plumbing? No but she is a expert on medicine without being a doctor or scientist.

Sallie  Posted: 11/07/2006 00:25

Bill, you say people who take supplements are all being conned but isn't it a much cheaper con than the con you subscribe to. You are the 1 who gets flu vaccination (even though it will not stop you getting this years flu virus) & suggest that by not having the vaccine that you would get flu!! What sort of rational thinking is that? You give more dosh to your G.P. than any of us to supplement our diets or spend on Comp therapies. If your diet is so perfect why do you need to have flu vaccines anyway, as you are obviously fit & healthy with a perfectly adequate immune system & you are not exposing yourself to sick people every day as part of your work (as a Doctor would)? Also, if supplements are such a con why do you think folic acid is important for women of child bearing age? What do you think folic acid is? Why do G.P. and ALL ante-natal clincs prescribe iron and multi-vitamins as the norm for EVERY pregnant woman? If you take supplements and you don't need them, your body will expel them. If you do need them, they will be absorbed. Taking them regularly is never a good thing but as I said previously some people need them at certain times of their lives. As for Reflexology I wouldn't waste any more time discussing that with you as your negative attitude to all things you know nothing about is quite astounding. You quote medical research in a previous posting (eg Mayo Clinic) & inadvertantly or perhaps deliberately failed to notice the words "May" in their findings which neither rules in or out any of their findings & would by anyones standards prove inconclusive. Maybe your problem is believing in only what you want to believe in but then again isn't that exactly what you accuse everyone else of?

Mary  Posted: 11/07/2006 10:50

Sallie, as far as I know multi-vits and iron are perscribed for every pregnant woman becuase pregnancy is such a huge strain and takes a very heavy tolol on the body. The woman needs to replace all te vits and minerals which the foetus is now absorbing and indeed if she us having morning (and evening) sickness for the first and even second trimester she is not gettign what she needs from her food. In fact, the last timE I was at my gynae, he automatically perscribed iron and vitB pills as I was having periods.

Sallie  Posted: 11/07/2006 14:30

Exactly, Mary. That was my point. There are times that they are needed therefore where is the 'con' in that?

Bill  Posted: 11/07/2006 20:37

I doubt I spend €150 per year on doctors & medicine. The “insurance” provided by the ‘flu vaccine is well worth it. I have already explained that for me to lose a weeks work is far more serious than €40 for a vaccine. Sallie, I never said that ALL supplements are wrong. I said the opposite. In fact I said that, “..but I doubt that 1% of the supplements market falls into this category”. This was a bit of a colloquialism. I meant that about or less than 1% but not zero. Of course if your doctor prescribes a supplement that is OK. I also said, “There are times one needs supplements”, e.g. pregnancy and obviously Folic Acid is very important for women who may get pregnant BUT my point which you totally missed was that less than 1% of the supplements market was sold to this category IN OTHER WORDS 99% of all supplements are useless, dangerous and un-necessary. Nothing in your post refutes this. You also dismiss my arguments against Reflexology by saying “I don’t understand it”. Which bit of the utter nonsense that is Reflexology that I not understand?

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 11/07/2006 23:04

Bill wrote: "Once more Joe has referred us to a useless link." Wrong again, Bill. Mary Shomon's website (about thyroid problems) is one of the most useful in the whole Internet. But I guess you noticed that it contradicts what you read on the Quackwatch website, so you have to attack the messenger (since you can't refute the message). Ditto the Christopher Bryson book. Mary wrote: "Oh dear, I see Joe is on his flouridation rant AGAIN." I presume that you meant "fluoridation", Mary. Perhaps you should do a little research. I pointed out above (21/05/2005, 11/10/2005 and 19/10/2005) that fluoridation is alternative medicine. (Note that last year Bill was known as William; as ever, I was kept busy correcting him.) Mary, there is not one Irish doctor who's willing to defend fluoridation in public. Does that not tell you something, or at least make you wonder? You wrote above (04/07/2006) that doctors "do not just treat symptoms. If they did, they would never cue any diseases or ailments. The use symptoms as well as tests to assist in diagnosing and then treat the underlying illness and where possible its cause in addition to the relif of symptoms." I think you know that the cause of tooth decay is sugar. Do you really think the health authorities are dealing with the cause of tooth decay? By fluoridating the public drinking water??

Bill  Posted: 12/07/2006 12:56

Joe you have never corrected me on a single statement of fact I have made. On the other hand on countless occasions I have shown that you link us to quack websites, amateur rantings, looney bin stuff about UFOs etc. Your last post quoted a "communications consultant" and "a journalist" who contradict health professionals, scientists, medically qualified doctors and professionally qualified dentists. Let people decide who to believe. My name is indeed William and that can be shortened to Bill. Do u have a problem with that?

Mary  Posted: 12/07/2006 16:51

Joe, all the questions Bill (or William if you prefer to call him that) has asked and all you can do is point out one tiny petty typo of mine. That says such a lot, The cause of tooth the decay is suger and perhaps not brushing teeth combined with bacteria (naturally occuring) in the mouth. No one is denying that. My posting about doctors do not just treat symptoms. If they did, they would never cue any diseases or ailments. The use symptoms as well as tests to assist in diagnosing and then treat the underlying illness and where possible its cause in addition to the relief of symptoms does not contradi that in any way. Fluoride is added to drinking water to harden and strengthen mineral enamel in teeth. Now can you name even 10 dentist willign to refute fluoride in public. Or Dr's or scientists? Bill I belive has asked for names several times.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 12/07/2006 19:50

New warnings on tuna: http://www.news-medical.net/?id=18822

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 13/07/2006 00:01

Bill, you wrote: "Joe you have never corrected me on a single statement of fact I have made." Well of course, I don't "correct" you when you make statements of fact. Why would anyone do that? But I do often correct you when you make statements of error. And I must question whether you're taking this discussion seriously. I could compile a list of the erroneous statements you've made in irishhealth.com discussions. But that might look like a waste of cyberspace. I note that you are still, for no good reason, bad-mouthing Mary Shomon and her outstanding website. Sure, some doctors disagree with her on some points. Doctors disagree. So what? Can you find any error on her website? About your name, of course I don't have a problem with it. I was simply trying to be helpful to those who might not realize that you were "William" up to recently in these discussions. The way you write bespeaks tetchiness rather than helpfulness. Mary, please point out any question Bill has asked that I have failed to answer. I dealt with all the issues you raise a long time ago -- in December and January. I request you to check back over this discussion. Can I name 10 dentists willing to refute fluoride in public? Or doctors or scientists? Yes I can, no problem. And I would start with the most celebrated pharmacologist in the world, Dr Arvid Carlsson, who won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2000 (see www.fluorideaction.net/carlsson-interview.html).

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 20/07/2006 12:45

This article in The Guardian helps to explain why some people are turning to alternative medicine: http://society.guardian.co.uk/health/story/0,,1823782,00.html It reports that (in the UK) "...junior doctors leave medical schools with less knowledge of how to use drugs than nurses, and at risk of harming patients. The exact numbers of deaths they cause is unknown, but at least 10,000 people a year die from adverse drug reactions, three-quarters of which are avoidable." Sir Michael Rawlins, chairman of the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, stated that young doctors were "taught about drugs to treat a particular condition but not about the underpinning principle for how it works and the balance between the benefits and harms of the drug". Are things better in Ireland?

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 21/07/2006 21:05

While we may disagree over whether or not "alternative medicine" is or isn't a good thing, one thing is certain. People are becoming more and more dissatisfied with what traditional medicine is delivering and are increasingly turning to alternatives: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,204744,00.html Anyone disputing that fact has their head in the sand. In light of this trend, doctors can either step up to the plate or be bypassed one way or another.

Chana  Posted: 24/07/2006 13:59

Somehow I would take anything Fox news has to say with a serious grain of salt

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 24/07/2006 21:17

I see Joe is once again advising all and sundry to visit another website sponsored by the puveyors of dubious 'medicines'. As a regular contributor to irishhealth.com I would have thought that he could distinguish between sites of factual information and sites that patently are not. In another post, Joe, you correctly point out some of the flaws in the medical system. Huge pharmaceutical conglomerates oversell their medicinal products (at the same time they own the large 'alternative' medicine companies). Doctors get good pharmacological training in university but when they graduate are thrown into the arms of the said drug companies. Yes, people do die from adverse drug reactions. None of these faults takes from the scientific basis of modern medicine and the huge strides made in treating and preventing disease, from the most basic vaccine to the most complex organ transplant. No amount of sCam propaganda will change the facts and the public know it. The public are not turning to 'alternaive'medicine as quoted by Joe. Every day hundreds of thousands of people go through the health system in Ireland against the handful who seek solace in the cloud cuckoo-land of the quacks. George, I see you too are into recommending websites. This time it is Fox News. You must be joking!

Bill  Posted: 25/07/2006 12:27

No matter how often I point out Joe’s faulty logic he continues to make the same errors. Quoting Nobel Prize winners is utterly irrelevant to any scientific matter. Science does not proceed on the basis of “authority”. I have told this to Joe many times before. The fact that he either cannot remember this or cannot grasp it is amazing. I have said before it shows Joe’s inability to think logically or to understand the scientific method. In fact if the Fluoride debate was to be settled by getting scientists and doctors to vote then the pro-fluoridation side would win hands down. The debate in Sweden was more to do with the “ethics” of Fluoridation. I have no problem with people holding different opinions on this but on a scientific basis Fluoridation is highly recommended by all scientific and medical bodies. Joe’s faulty logic, the Guardian’s and George’s continues with the point as to WHY people turn to sCAM. It is totally irrelevant what problems there are in medicine as to whether or not sCAM works. Even if all doctors overcharged, over prescribed, wrongly prescribed it would not offer one scintilla of evidence that sCAM works. What is the benefit of people being ripped off by pharmacological companies (if you believe that) AND then being ripped off by sCAM operators? That just means they are ripped off twice.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 26/07/2006 00:45

OK Bill, I could refer you to CBS News ( http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/07/20/health/webmd/main1823747.shtml ) or a number of other news outlets that are carrying the story, but since you like to make up your own reality, you probably really wouldn't care. Personally, I am grateful for the fact that I live in a country where I can find a large number of MDs even in my own small town who are willing to provide me with alternative therapies. And if I travel down to San Francisco the choices are mind boggling. And it wasn't that way just a few short years ago. Life is getting better.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 26/07/2006 18:50

John (24/07/2006 21:17) and Bill (25/07/2006 12:27) are most impressive the way they pack so many inaccuracies, insults and red herrings into a couple of paragraphs. John: "I see Joe is once again advising all and sundry to visit another website sponsored by the puveyors of dubious 'medicines'. As a regular contributor to irishhealth.com I would have thought that he could distinguish between sites of factual information and sites that patently are not." We don't know which website you're referring to, John. Please elaborate. If you can find any fault with the references I've given, do tell us, rather than trying to be vague and disparaging. Sites of factual information? What do you have in mind? Give us some examples. John: "Doctors get good pharmacological training in university but when they graduate are thrown into the arms of the said drug companies." Really? John: "The public are not turning to 'alternaive'medicine as quoted by Joe." Really? Are the Irish so different from the Americans? John: "Every day hundreds of thousands of people go through the health system in Ireland against the handful who seek solace in the cloud cuckoo-land of the quacks." Really? Do you have figures for the Irish lack of enthusiasm for CAM? Or is it just wishful thinking on your part? John: "George, I see you too are into recommending websites. This time it is Fox News. You must be joking!" I would have thought that the facts and figures reported by Fox News are undisputed. And you didn't actually dispute them, John. We can gather that you dislike Fox, and George, and CAM, but what's your point? Bill: "No matter how often I point out Joe&#8217;s faulty logic he continues to make the same errors. [What errors?] Quoting Nobel Prize winners is utterly irrelevant to any scientific matter." I didn't quote the Nobel Prize winner Arvid Carlsson; I referred to a web page about him. I was responding to Mary who wanted names. Bill: "Science does not proceed on the basis of 'authority'... In fact if the Fluoride debate was to be settled by getting scientists and doctors to vote then the pro-fluoridation side would win hands down." It's not science, it's fluoridation that proceeds on the basis of 'authority' (not to mention the medical, scientific and legal errors). Your posing as the one true arbiter of what is scientific is laughable. And you're utterly wrong about the fluoride debate; if the doctors and scientists did enter a debate leading to a vote, the anti-fluoridation side would win hands down. Why do you think there's not one Irish doctor willing to defend fluoridation in public debate? Bill: "The debate in Sweden was more to do with the 'ethics' of Fluoridation." Really? What do you know about it? Of course the ethics were involved, but the debate was led by the pharmacologist Carlsson. Bill: "I have no problem with people holding different opinions on this but on a scientific basis Fluoridation is highly recommended by all scientific and medical bodies." No it's not! The endorsement of fluoridation by the U.S. medical establishment and the WHO is based on scientific errors, deception, and illegitimacy. And there are various scientific and medical bodies that oppose fluoridation. I see what you're getting at: you're trying to make out that science supports fluoridation. Well, it doesn't. Must I repeat it? There is NO good scientific evidence supporting the safety or effectiveness of fluoridation. Neither you, Bill, nor anyone else can find such evidence. I asked you years ago to come up with the names of some scientific studies. You have no evidence -- just blind faith, and appeal to 'authority'. Bill: "Joe&#8217;s faulty logic, the Guardian&#8217;s and George&#8217;s continues with the point as to WHY people turn to sCAM." Faulty logic? If you don't think the problems reported by the Guardian will increase the enthusiasm for CAM, then I suggest you need to learn more about human nature. Bill: "It is totally irrelevant what problems there are in medicine as to whether or not sCAM works. Even if all doctors overcharged, over prescribed, wrongly prescribed it would not offer one scintilla of evidence that sCAM works. What is the benefit of people being ripped off by pharmacological companies (if you believe that) AND then being ripped off by sCAM operators? That just means they are ripped off twice." Red herring. We didn't need to be told that. But you're trying to insinuate that all CAM is useless, and, as I pointed out above, there's precious little evidence for that. Please stick to the facts Bill, and try to avoid animosity and prejudice.

Chana  Posted: 27/07/2006 09:32

Joe, you would have thought that the facts and figures reported by Fox News are undisputed??? Really? You astonish me. Have you watched Fox News, consistently even for a week?

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 30/07/2006 17:23

Joe, I am not going to answer all your ridiculous comments but if I pick the first one, about the health sites you have recommended in the past few contributions. Fluoride action network was one, so I had a look at the people behind it (Joe, that is the first rule of web browsing). The top three staff, the executive director, project director and pesticide director, all have the same surname! Joe give us all a break. Another website, thyroid about.com is a commercial site which is sponsored by a companny which sells a multivitamin concoction for'hypothyroidism' and 'sluggish thyroid'. No rational person would dream of taking medical advice from such a website. Joe, you are posting on irishhealth.com, a good health website. Stick to it because you don't seem to be able to differentiate between factual and non-factual websites.

waxie  Posted: 01/08/2006 17:21

Ha ha...i enjoyed your little rant bill...im amused by the fact you think im a woman. I'm a man. Wonder what made you think im a woman? Im not a hippy either. I also have nothing to gain financially by ayurveda so im amused also by words you use like "scam" and "quackery". The vedas, which T.M and ayurveda comes from, spoke about the laws of nature and the essence of universal energy manifesting itself at a quantum level right through to the grosser aspects of nature (for example, our bodies). The forces that make our body are the same that make everything in the universe, they never change. Quantam physicists over the last 100 years have been able to confirm what the vedas have said about the nature of life. Sure, people can take any body of knowledge, either modern science, or ancient science, and misrepresent it. Im glad you brought up the point about substances in ayurvedic supplements as it relates to my point about thalidomide. This is a great example of human mistake. First let me make this very important point clear. Maharishi ayurveda and T.M, is the purest form of vedic knowledege with over 600 studies done over 30 years. Maharishi ayurveda products are subject to the same rules as all supplements in europe. The supplements that had these other things in them,like mercury,were not Maharishi ayurveda products. My point on thalidomide was to do with science getting cocky and the devastaing results. The same happens in so called alternative medicine. Also, the word "meditation" conjures up all sorts of fear in people because of lack of knowledge. Most people when asked about meditation believe it to be a form of mind control or hypnosis which i believe comes from what people have seen in the movies! Again i must reiterate that Maharishi T.M is not like that...it also gets lumped in with other types of meditation, which it is not. You say T.M doesnt work? There are many respected scientists that have studied the brain wave function of T.M subjects, whose results have been published in science journals in America. T.M is the most researched of all types of meditation. There is 6 massive volumes of scientific research available on just T.M alone if anyone wanted to trudge through it. Bit boring thought unless your a dedicated scientist. No one can be educated on maharishi ayurveda on this site, so the challenge for people is to go find and educate themselves on maharishi ayurveda before using throw away comments like "scam" and "quackery". I understand that in the present climate, there is a lot of mistrust in society and for very good reasons sometimes and i think it's reflected in your reply. I am a very well balanced person...i'm a typical down to earth irish man...i dont accept bullsh1t. I have to admit, i'm not to fond of what you would term "card carrying hippys" as they can give ancient knowledge a bad name by taking the knowledge and turning it into "fashion". I'll end by saying this...if you demand scientific evidence of maharishi T.M and ayurveda, then it's available. If you demand direct experience of vedic knowledge then that is also possible.

Bill  Posted: 02/08/2006 11:06

Joe referred us to a website before that claimed, "there was ample evidence that aliens had landed on Earth". The probablility that Fluoride is dangerous is about the same as aliens have landed. Joe you are totally illogical.

Bill  Posted: 02/08/2006 12:42

Waxie, how about answering these questions I put to you? Can u levitate Waxie, as those running TM claim they can? If not do you believe THEY can? If not then why believe any lies they tell? Can I ask Waxie would she fly in a plane not designed by “figures on paper”. If not then why should medicine or biology be exempt from “figures on paper”.?

waxie  Posted: 02/08/2006 15:44

i never said there was anything wrong with figures on paper...logic is the basis of ayurveda. But after the plane is built using design and science, the next step is flying hours...this is the only way of knowing if the plane is truly safe:experience of actually flying the thing. Science has not made flying safer...crashing has. Investigations into former crashes is what has made flying safer. 2 areas which have benefited from this experience is better made planes with better safety features, but more importantly, the relationship between the human mind(the pilot) and how it works, or doesnt, in stressfull situations is one the aviation authorities have taken the most seriously as most accidents are down to human error. T.M studies have shown how the brain waves become more coherent through practice and therefore more efficient in working under extreme circumstances. So the science of building a plane is only one aspect in the total functioning of a flight. This is my point about science at the moment...everything is looked at in isolation...science is perfect when taken in it's totality, and unless we factor in how human conciousness works, then it is not perfect science. I think you have illustrated my point on this with your basic questioning. To answer your question on yogic flying, i think you must have ideas of people floating around! It's just a technique for creating "lightness" within the body and if one was to actually see people doing it, it is a series of "frog" hops while in the lotus position...not flying! Anyway, i dont do this technique and for me to discuss it would only cloud what i have to say about T.M. which is a separate technique from yogic flying. May i suggest as my own little theory, that the age of the inquisition is still not gone? That anything that disturbs the christian churches can still get peoples knickers in a twist? Do we still have to be afraid of anything from the eastern part of our planet? I still find it funny that so called rational people just accept wholesale, the myths surrounding ayurveda and T.M and regurgitate them without any investigation into the reality of what ayurveda and T.M are actually about. It is a complete science of mind and body. Again, im not going to even try and educate anyone here about it, only talk about my experiences and take the fear and myth out of it. So mistake number one is to ask me questions based on myth. I dont mind clearing stuff up but my experience has shown me that people find it very hard to let go of fairytales. I must very boringly point out again, T.M has over 600 studies behind it. There is a website with summarys of the studies and their results if anyone is interested...i wont post it here as i dont know if it is allowed...contact me if anyone is interested.

waxie  Posted: 02/08/2006 15:46

Oh yeah, i forgot bill........Why in the name of god are you calling me a "she"? I'm a he!!!!!!

Bill  Posted: 03/08/2006 09:25

Waxie tries to duck around the question regarding the claims of the TM elite that they can fly. They claim they CAN FLY. Actually fly! If they can create “lightness” within the body does that mean that they will weigh less if sitting on a weighting scale? Waxie seems not to believe that they can fly therefore he is calling them liars. Here is a link to the main TM “school” and they clearly claim they can “fly through the air”. http://www.alltm.org/YFlying.html Embarrassing for your position Waxie, isn’t it? Waxie ignores the point I made regarding HIS comments about “figures on paper.” Waxie claimed that modern medicine was “just” figures on paper. Answer my question, why fly on planes designed by scientists using “figures on paper” and then try and argue that the science of medicine should be any different? There are NO reputable studies on TM. I have read what was claimed are the main ones and they are utter rubbish. 600 rubbish “studies” are still worthless. As would be 1,000,000 I have as much disrespect for Eastern myths as I have for Western ones. Superstitious nonsense is nonsense no matter where it comes from. The really funny thing is when Western individuals think it’s trendy, hippy, cool, etc to support Eastern myths as opposed to their own silly ones. 99% of what we know about the universe today has been discovered by science since the 18th century. The old Eastern and Western philosophies, medicines and religions were almost totally wrong.

waxie  Posted: 03/08/2006 22:39

Bill...you're starting to worry me! The site you provided for me to look at makes no claims about being able to fly! You say "they clearly claim they can “fly through the air”." If you had bothered actually reading it instead of taking things out of context you might have read "The Yoga Sutras of Maharishi Patanjali describes three stages of immediately visible results. Stage One is generally associated with what would best be described as 'hopping like a frog'". It continues to say then "No one can predict when or if "Yogic Flyers" will ever get beyond this Stage One". Let me explain it for you Bill...yogic flying deals with stage one of this process, which is a hopping motion. The text from which this technique comes from is 1000's of years old and does mention flying completely as the third stage so the T.M movement is only referring to what it says, not that you will be able to fly. So this ancient text describes flying, not the T.M movement and if you had read carefully the bit which says "No one can predict when or if "Yogic Flyers" will ever get beyond this Stage One", then it doesnt take much to see you are completely wrong in your assertion that the T.M movement have made claims to be able to fly. Because of the nature of ancient writers, maharishi has seen as important to study the vedas and extract the practical applications of these ancient texts. So if these texts claim that one may fly on the third stage, maharishi is not concerned about this stage,as stage one has enough scientific evidence behind it and hundreds of thousands of peoples direct experience of it to know it works. By the way, if you have problems reading the site you wanted me to see, then what to say of the evidence you have read on T.M? I have often encountered people just saying simply "there is not one valid scientific study done on T.M" as if by boldly shouting this out makes it true. Is that it Bill? I would like if you could explain a little better why you think these studies have no valid basis? Another thing is im both amused and disturbed in equal parts by the tone of your arguments. You have made a clearly wrong statement about what you call the "T.M. elite" and then go on to say that i must be therefore calling them liars which i must say is quite a childish line of argument. You also say something i found hilarious!"Embarrassing for your position Waxie, isn’t it?"...ha ha, what postion do you think i am in? This way of speaking is typical of someone who wants to belittle people and create a "battle" rather than get some knowledge on something. Another point...I have already said that a proper science moves on from the theory on paper and then tries it out in the real world and the test of time completes it. Knowledge + experience = wisdom. As for superstitious nonsense is concerned, anyone trying to describe to someone in the 19th century the fact of 4 underlying forcefields in nature, one of which we would in future be able to use to transmit invisible waves so a person on one side of the planet would be able to speak into a box and someone on the other side of the planet would be able to hear, and that we would have cars running on the remains of dead fish, then you would have been locked up in a mental institution and the key thrown away! But yet these things exist. Another thing you are wrong about is all the laws of nature were written about 5000 years ago in the vedas. For various reasons(religious, political) over the last 2000 years, the knowledge of the east hasnt spread to the west much so im afraid scientists in the west over the last 300 years are only rediscovering what was already known with thousands of years. An example of this in the vedas would be the knowledge of the 4 forces of nature (gravity, electromagnetism,weak and strong nuclear force) which combine to create matter, and of the underlying field which creates these forces, the unified field. All this, thousands of years before Newton. The great thing about science now is that quantum physicists are seeing further and further into the nature of this unified field. the vedas claim that this unified field is the mind...and it is well know that quantum experiments have different outcomes depending on the observer. In reality, there is so much more to this than can be typed or discussed here and ther is also the reality that while i can talk on and on and could fill these posts with knowledge, you will continue to act like a prosecutor in a court of law. Still, it amuses me. Sounds like you could do with learning T.M!!!!

Anonymous  Posted: 08/08/2006 19:08

Waxie, you are right there. It sounds like he should stop trying to shout the loudest about nothing but he can't. Unfortunately he is stuck in a rut and cannot take in anything other than his own narrow viewpoint, which is very limited, as you have noticed.

LifeHandle  Posted: 09/08/2006 16:02

There was a recent BBC show hosted by Prof Kathy Sykes regarding alternative therapies and medicines. What she found was that the placebo effect was very real, but the patient had to absolutely believe in the practioner for it to work. Also accupuncture was found to be good for SOME conditions but NOT for most. Also from what I remember it was only the deep needle accupuncture that was found to be effective. The active therapeutic agent in most of these alternative practices is that they keep the person quite for about 20 minutes focusing their attention on something simple and relaxing. This has known therapeutic benefits and is a form of meditation. However you can do this at home for free. The cosmically vibrating crystal and angel card specialists are simply taking money from you to sit in their company. Any good that has come from the experience, you have done to yourself. There is a major study of "ancient" remedies being undertaken in America to determine what is good and what is simply hype. It will be interesting when the results are released.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 09/08/2006 16:43

"There is a major study of "ancient" remedies being undertaken in America to determine what is good and what is simply hype. It will be interesting when the results are released." These studies are long overdue and will allow many of us to avoid useless therapies and at the same time take advantage of useful techniques. Of course there will still be the die hard traditionalists that will pour cold water on every success story faulting the studies and ridiculing the results as well as the die hard altmed proponents continuing to promote all the proven inneffective therapies with renewed vigor. But at least those of us who care about scientific method will finally have some straws to grasp at. In this age of rampant metabolic syndrome and cancer, every possible therapy should be examined and evaluated. Only that much will enable folks (and docs) to make informed decisions.

Bill  Posted: 10/08/2006 10:39

I don't have time to post much at present but read this comprehensive article from the online Wikipedia about TM. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transcendental_meditation It mentions that the original claims for flying and other magic feats have now been toned down. Now they say "we will fly in the future". Does waxie really beleive that? That people will be able to fly? What are photos of people simply hopping, if it's not an attempt to defraud people into thinking they are flying? You don't need TM to hop! TM is simply a new age religion, and a particularly silly one at that in my opinion.

waxie  Posted: 10/08/2006 14:15

Seems like you are grasping at straws now Bill by refering to wikipedia. I think it sums up your prejudices that you can in one breath discount thousands of years experience, hundreds of scientific studies, and millions of peoples experiences in favour of an editable by the public online service...hardly scientific! Again my challenge to you and YOUR claims is to articulatley explain the failure behind the studies on T.M. You obviously have some sort of problem in reading Bill. Wikipedia is not Maharishi Ayurveda. I have to point out again that encoded within the ancient texts is a lot of practical knowledge that is of benefit to humankind. Be it the vedas, or the bible, there is a lot of amazing stories. For example, jesus walked on water, created fish and bread from fresh air and brought people back from the dead. Do we discount the beautiful message within the stories just because we get caught up in whether he did these things or not? Your lack of insight and knowledge are quite frankly pathetic. If i want to know something i go to the source. Believe me, i wont be relying on wikipedia for anything important. I know at this stage that this point will be lost on you so this is for anyone else reading. The idea of "yogic flying" is not to fly. Fact. The action of hopping creates certain biological and pyscological factors(which have been measured and papers published based on these studies). This effect creates coherent brain function. This ,and this alone, is the goal of yogic flying. It's unfortunate that ths flying part in the name triggers such a response from shallow thinkers. It seems Bill that the only person obsessed with fying is you! Another thing is it is easy to call something a new age religion. What is the criteria of a new age religion? If you are going to call something this, then i want to hear your definition. It's not very intellectual to be using phrases without any sort of understanding of what they are. Again, as far as i know, it's the christian churches that have come up with this phrase and the irony being that christian religions are amongst the newest over the last 5000 years. To be honest Bill, you are starting to embarress yourself with your attempt to discredit vedic techniques with your shallow line of argument. You have not taken onboard any of the points i have made only to witter on about flying. I can assure you that Ryan air will be taking care of my flying needs, and Maharishi will be taking care of my health and psycological needs. The only reason i keep replying is to watch you replies get less detailed and panicky. The ultimate sign of lack of knowledge. Wikipedia.....i mean,...CMON....tsk, tsk, tsk.

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 10/08/2006 19:58

In reading all the recent posts, I am struck by one thing. It is the arrogance of the sCAM groups in claiming that they can cure certain diseases (such claims are against Irish law). If for instance aromatherapists, instead of listing ailments and the correct 'aromas' to cure them, admitted that the smell is enjoyed by people, especially sick people. That is why people bring in flowers to sick people in hospital. If the many forms of massage, instead of claiming 'cures' admitted that people liked massage, not for the cure, but because it felt relaxing. After all in the old Soviet Union,EVERYBODY, discharged from a hospital was sent to a 'sanatorium' for a few weeks to recuperate. These nursing homes were in scenic areas or beside the Black Sea and consisted of massages, spas, etc. Nobody went to be cured because they had already been treated in hospital. In this case nobody had claim or counter claim because everyone knew the purpose of the sanatorium stay. It is only in recent years that a small but vociferous minority has started to claim that their 'alternative medicines and therapies' worked.

waxie  Posted: 11/08/2006 02:34

...by the way Bill, if you like wikapedia, and you dont like my answer to your claim that most scientific discoveries were made in the last couple of centuries(im paraphrasing), take a look at this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Indian_science_and_technology

Gerald (ESF50348)  Posted: 12/08/2006 02:30

For John Williams info, "According to the Journal of American Medical Assn(JAMA)26/07/2006, Drs are the third leading cause of death in USA.Dr.Barbara Starfield of John Hopkins School of Hygiene & Public Health. These were: 12,000 Unneccessary surgery 7,000 medication errors in hospitals 20,000 other errors in hospitals 80,000 infections in hospitals 106,000 non error, negative effects of medications. As these are for deaths only, God knows how many others suffered negative effects without dying. The BMA 5/10/1991 stated "only 15% of medical interventions were/are supported by solid scientific evidence. I could add a lot more, but this should reinforce the growing suspicion that "traditional medicine" is no more based on scientific evidence than is supplementary or alternative therapies. I note the mention earlier by JW of the effect of taking St.John's Wort whilst on other medication. John cited SJW as being the cause of the effect, how does he know the cause was not the prescribed medication reacting to the SJW. My wife has taken SJW + Vit B12 for anxiety/panic attackes without any ill effects whatsoever. Can people on Paxil, Prozac, and other antidepressants so widely prescribed by Drs and phycos, and which are now link to the hideous problem of teen suicides. Vastly more people are negatively effect, many very seriously, by Dr prescribed, chemical compounds, masquerading as medicine and peddled by profit hungry drug companies. The recent histories of most of said companies are replete with their promotion of shonky researched drugs that are nothing less than toxic cocktails. The FDA also are in the pockets of these corporate drug peddlers. So JW, the crap you want to attest the efficaciousness? (spelling) is 100% more dangerous to humans than any natural, herbal medication. Ill effects of natural medications are in most cases where chemical compound medicines are being used also, thus the fault probably lies there and not with natural remedies. Gerald Lynch

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 12/08/2006 17:00

The is plenty of money in both the practice of conventional and alternative medicine and their affiliated businesses. Buyer beware. You won't always be guided to the best treatments or warned about potential pitfalls. Money is a powerful motivator. And, of course this does not even take into account simple honest mistakes which can also be very costly. And alternative practitioners make mistakes too, you can count on that. But the good news is that there are a lot of good honest practitioners out there, conventional and not so conventional, who really do care for their patients and are doing their very best to give them top quality treatment. They are worth their weight in gold and would be underpaid at any price.

Gerald (ESF50348)  Posted: 13/08/2006 01:22

George, I agree there are a lot of genuine people in the medical professions who do actually care about their patients, and perhaps I was guilty of generalizing. But more and more evidence is being made available, of increasing levels of, to give it a benign name, medical misadventure. Far too much of which is the proscribing of compound chemical poisins/medicines masquerading as beneficial to human consumption. The two journals I quoted above are the paramount, peer reviewed medical publications in USA and UK, and actually are in fact a reminder of the fallibility of our medical practioners. I regard them in more serious vein, as they are people rightly or wrongly the people as a whole, we really trust to know, not guess, what is the correct approach in proscribing substances to alieviate human medical problems. How come so few MDs proscribe what we term alternative medicine. I suggest the reason is commercial, as we know from the USA pharmaceutical companies practices, bribery of the medical profession is pandemic. I have no doubt that this happens in the same degree elsewhere. There is a vast conspiracy between the makers of these toxins and governmental agencies we pay to assure the efficacy of medicines, particularly those that receive some kind of state subsidy. The FDA have been caught out actively suppressing negative reactions to drugs, and these are the people who are paid to protect us from shonky medicine. There are good people in the profession, sadly overwhelmingly all too few. Gerald Lynch

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 13/08/2006 17:59

Gerald, nobody denies that mistakes are made in medicine today (and yesterday and tomorrow). That is another subject altogether from the use of scientific treatments and preventions for illnesses. Anyone who cannot see the huge improvement in the treatment of these illnesses in the last 50 years is blind or deliberatly argumentative. You also quote the medicine your wife is taking. I am glad she finds it doing her good and I don't want any words of mine to change her mind. I would point out that Vitamin B12 is a product of your hated science based medicine. Its discovery was a fantastic break-through in the treatment of pernicious anaemia. However it is not effective as a treatment when taken orally and the present dose strength of 0,4mg is completely ineffective. Injectios of B12 are given every 3 months (approx) for the approriate type of anaemia.

Gerald (ESF50348)  Posted: 14/08/2006 03:25

John, Your use of the words "science based treatments' in lieu of pharaceutical company manufactured drugs is indicative of your arguements. I agree no one would deny science has made improvements to many medical ailments. But many including me would aver that a lot of "so-called" pharmeceuticals produced by drug companies are the result of downright shonky science, and many do not alieviate the problem, but exacerbate it. I don't "hate" science based medical treatments so long as the science is honest, has been truly tested by independent honest assessoers skilled in the field. Much of what is foisted on an unsuspecting population today, is supposedly "tested" by the maker, and approved by a discredited governmental agency such as the FDA. BTW, my wife does not suffer from anemia, so why you alluded to it I don't know, again the type of spurios arguement you indulge in. The discussion here was I think about alternatives to the crap being sold to us today as medicine. You are in denial, if you persist with your claims that alternatives aren't science based, and are demonstably less harmful, and more beneficial, than much of the rubbish peddled by drug companies and their complicit pushers, people masquerading as Doctors. In my reply to George, I readily agreed there are many genuine medical practioners, but sadly there are overwhelmingly too many pill pushers. That you prefer to accredit their type of practice as OK for you is fine by I imagine every other poster here, but your attempts to discredit the use of alternatives remedies is banal at best and dishonest at worst. The only honest assessment is that of actually using a product for a given purpose, if successful in the treatment of a complaint or ailment, who are you to denigerate the use thereof. Many of my friends use alternatives without the ill effects they experienced with pharmaceuticals, and are well. I also visit many dear friends who stuck with pharmacy based stuff......at the cemetery! Discounting any who are there from causes not medical, or otherwise natural causes, the vast remainder were under the care of a doctor. It is interesting to read the death notices in the newspaper and note the number dying before 60 years. Cause and effect, and in many cases they are from the same stable, pharmacuetical compounds disguised as, and prescribed as, medicine. Just try and get this between your earlobes John, I am not anti anything, I am pro-truth, in regards to the sale and prescribing of anything promoted as beneficial in curing or alieviating an ailment, including alternatives, but by personal experience and use, I perfer where ever possible to use natural remedies, which are slower to work I freely admit, but not once have I ever had a bad reaction to any I have used, and the same for my wife. You seem happy with what is happening in the health sector at the moment, I definitely am not. I speak from the situation here in NZ, where the population seems to be getting sicker and the health sector completely unable to cope. If your much loved pharmaceuticals were in any way efficacious in healing people the opposite would be true. It is in the pharmacuetical companies profit interests to keep you sick, not to cure or heal, and recent history certainly is evidence of that. And massive soses of Vitamin C will do a lot more good for you then most of the crap on pharmacy shelves. Gerald Lynch

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 14/08/2006 05:10

Gerald, I think you have some good points here, but I really think you are being a bit too negative. I am not a doctor or medical professional, but the more I study the research, the more I respect the doctors. They have an increadibly tough job. You like to refer to conventional drugs as toxins. I would answer you be asserting that everything has risks along with benefits. Even common foods carry potential risks (example - http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/08/13/CMGJKK1BP31.DTL ) As for why MDs are reluctant to prescribe alternative treatments, a lot of that has to do with the fact that most MDs simply do not know enough about alternative treatments and avoid them because they don't want to risk inadvertantly harming their patients due to their lack of expertise in that realm. Here in the US, there are physicians (MDs) who specialize in alternative approaches, and I would advise you to seek one out if you wish to pursue that route. But the bottom line is that whether the treatment is conventional OR alternative, much of the information the practitioner gets regarding the product in question invaribly comes from the product manufacturer. And the pharmaceutical companies spend more money on "physician education" than they do on research and that is a fact. I can almost assure you that the same is the case with alternative potions. So my advice is to seek out a physician familiar with the medical approach you prefer and then DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH *AND* ASK A LOT OF QUESTIONS. Get on the internet and go to reputable sites operated by reputable universities, physicians, and government health agencies and look very closely at long term outcomes, long term side effects and possible interactions. Interview your pharmacist or chemist as thoroughly as you do your physician concerning your treatment plan. You will find them able to offer you a wealth of information. Your medical professionals will be able to help you a whole lot more if you will be up front with them and in their face and be willing to accept your share of responsibility for your treatment. Medical mistakes occur far more often in cases where the patient is passive and disengaged in their treatment plan. Whenever you undergo any sort of medical treatment (alternative included), it is your life that is at stake and you had darned well better be willing to actively engage in looking out for your own interests, while doing your best to work with your doctor and pharmacist and not assuming that somehow they are conspiring against you to destroy your health and your pocketbook. If they won't work with you on this basis, then find someone else, but I have found that many doctors are more than willing to engage with their patients when it comes to treatment plans. But remember, its a two way street. Listen to them when they explain their position, they have a lot of training we don't have, and that is what we are paying them for. Don't be afraid to test their advice but definately don't be a fool and ignore their sound advice. The answers are not simple. There was just a new study released indicating that those overprescribed antidepressants are NOT the cause of the rise in teen suicides BUT rather, teen suicides are increasing in spite of the antidepressants. Unless you really read and compare these studies, you simply end up picking and choosing those that support you own pre-chosen position and dumping the rest out which both conventional and alternative proponents are prone to do. That is a huge mistake. If you believe in simple answers, you are on a path to pain and destruction. Life and medicine are complex subjects. Hire for yourself the best medical professionals you can afford and take advantage of their wisdom and training. Thats my advice.

waxie  Posted: 14/08/2006 18:29

I notice that bill refers(a good bit up the page) to the mind /body connection as new age waffle. How exactly can he wiggle his toes then?

Jessy  Posted: 05/09/2006 21:42

Would like to get information about mangosteen. Has anyone taken it, if so for what purpose and is it expensive. Can you purchase it in health shops

Kitty  Posted: 06/09/2006 10:26

The mangosteen fruit is the size of a small apple, purple colored, with a hard rind. Inside there are typically five to seven seeds surrounded by a sweet, juicy cover (or aril). The pulp, which is said to resemble a pineapple or peach in taste, is reputed to be a very delicious food - in Asia it is sometimes called the queen of fruits in honor both of its flavor and its economic importance.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 06/09/2006 15:54

Jessy, As to mangosteen, I am currently taking it for its general benefits ( http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?CMD=search&DB=pubmed ) which are mainly related to the xanthones that it contains ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xanthone ). I purchased mine at Costco (it is otherwise widely available), I take about 1/2 tablespoon (1/2 oz.) twice a day. Here is a full description: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mangosteen

Gerald (ESF50348)  Posted: 07/09/2006 10:11

George, I'm in agreement with a lot of what you have to say in you post, but of course disagree with your suggestion I'm overly negative re pharmaceutical medicine. I base what I say on knowledge of what has happened here in NZ and in other parts of the world, in the main UK and USA. For myself I have had recourse to a medical DR for a health question twice in the past 50 years, as I tend to look after my health outcomes by either researching for myself or reading available material from those I trust are reputable sources. My wife has had similar health outcomes. We are not health nuts, in the accepted use of the terms, but do what we believe is everyone's responibility, look after yourself, a stance I see you proclaim worthy of general acceptance also. I do however have doubt about your belief the pharmaceutical companies are into Dr education, my take on that is more that they are into DR coercion. There is a wide body of evidence that this is so. The problem lies, I think in the training Drs get in medical schools, heavily slanted to a pharmaceutical based approach with almost no reference to alternatives , it may have changed in later years , but I suggest the answer is a more holistic approach, with patients taking ownership of the problem, and as a vast majoriy of the problems are diet based, the patient does own the problem, and should be a large part of the solution. Cause and effect are always related, and the cure is aleays related to the cause. And the cause is all too often US ! I do not deny pharmaceuticals have had some great successes, but they have also had some terrorfilled failures, which in a science based disipline, supposedly, should never happen. Take the trial by Parexel of their drug last year which almost ended the lives of those who received the drug. One was a NZer whose live expectancy because of being part of this clincal trial may be measured in months. We still live with the victims of Thalidimide. It is the lack of truly independent testing that I gripe about, and the slavish acceptance by those State Agencies charge with licensing medicines, whom I find at the centre of medicinal misadventures a lot of the time. If Dr prosribed medications are the third highest cause of prventable deaths in USA, and I would suggest mirrored in most Western countries, there is something dramatically wrong. I do not believe "natural" pharmaceuticals, if I cn use the term, have anywhere near this catastrophic failure rate. We really agree on more than we disagree. I am positive about my and my wife's health outcomes, and belive people are responsible for their own. Lack of incentives or education probably a cause of most of them not doing so.

Allie  Posted: 07/09/2006 16:06

You have only visited a Dr. twice in 50 years. Gosh you are a very lucky not to say rare man. I wish I have that kind of fortune and conversely NONE of my medical problems have ever been diet related and I say the same of my sister and my parents

Anon  Posted: 08/09/2006 00:59

John Williams, Just a point. The taking of vitamin B12 is fine UNLESS you have Pernicious Anaemia, in which case you have to have it in injection form as the intrinsic factor of the stomach cannot absorb B12 if you have Pernicious Anaemia. If, on the other hand, you don't have Pernicious Anaemia, then your stomach is quite capable of absorbing B12 from the diet etc. I don't think the poster you replied to mentioned Pernicious Anaemia in connection with his wife. If so, I didn't read that part.

Gerald (ESF50348)  Posted: 08/09/2006 11:33

Allie, Never regarded myself as rare, fortunate yes, but I think there will be loads of others with similar stories. We aren't meant to be sick or ill, and while it is my contention that most illnesses are diet based, I acknowledge there are other cause, i.e. genetics. But as to the arguements relating to the efficacy of "natural" remedies and their synthetic counterparts, commonly known as pharaceutical medicine, I am entirely convinced from my own experience, and that of friends and aquaintances, and I prefer the natural course almost exclusively. Given the so-called scientific progress of the last 50 years, and the billions of $ spent on research, why are our populations sicker than ever? Perhaps the search for a cure might be better directed at finding the cause first, and maybe no pill is required, but a better diet or even it may be the cause is physcological. Treating the symptoms may allieviate the immediate problem but seldom addresses the cause. And knowing the cause is 3/4 way to a cure, if one exists. If your Dr visits are not diet related, and from your surprise at our lack of such visits indicates your visits are more regular, without being specific, what are the causes of your maladies if not related to diet? Stress? If we could get our educators to teach how to live rather than how to make a living we could reduce our spend on medicinals of all kinds expotentially. But that won't happen in our life time, so we are left with the alternatives, pharma and natural, and for me anyway, it's the natural every time. There may of course come a time when I have to choose the alternative, hopefully not before i'm 100 Gerald

Allie  Posted: 08/09/2006 13:56

Oh I acknowledge that we are not meant to be ill - perhaps then I and many others are merely unfortunate. To counter one point tho', our population is actually living longer due to advances in medical science. I agree tho' that finding a the cause of an illness is paramount. No, I am no more stressed that the next person. The causes are both genetic and systemic. I concur that lifeskill, are vitally needed and should be taught in schools. They would probably serve us better than much of what is taught. Good luck on your progress to 100.

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 08/09/2006 21:11

To Anon 8/9/06. I agree that injectable B12 is necessary for the treatment of pernicious anaemia but why would you take it orally?

Gerald (ESF50348)  Posted: 09/09/2006 10:20

Allie, thank you for your kind thoughts. I would say the improvement in longevity is more to do with a greater knowledge of the human anatomy and medicines, both pharma and natural. Nutural medicines have been with us for centuries, and pharma is to a great degree the synthasizing the natural using chemical compounds, and suffering the attendant disasters when the scientists "get it wrong". But I acknowledge there have been successes as well as the failures. Alarming though, there has been 65,000 cases of pharmaceutical companies being sued in USA since 2000. Given that a percentage will be spurious or wrong, there is still a huge number that will be genuine and warrantable. The naturapharms have never faced this kind of challenge, I think because they are natural remedies, not synthetics. At the end of the day, the arguement re the efficacy of either depends on what works for you. Kind regards to all posters Gerald p.s. only 28 yrs to go !

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 10/09/2006 22:23

Hello Gerald! I have been very fortunate, for the most part, to have doctors who have been very conservative in their use of drugs. And probably that is why I value them as much as I do. On many occasions they have done the job for me without unwanted side effects. But, while I disagree with your position, I definately understand the reasons you feel the way you do. The pharm industry puts out all this PR as to how much they care about their patients, but we all know that they are one of the most profitable industries on the face of the planet, and they didn't get to that point through philanthropy. They are interested, to the point of obsession, with the bottom line and that is what drives their huge expenditures on physician "education". They want to make sure they get plenty of free samples out there to make it convenient to get people started on a "pill" whether they need it or not. So if you think I am enamored with the pharm industry, think again. But I do think they have created some wonderful and life saving products in the course of their pursuit of filthy lucre. And for that I give them credit. And certain of those products have extended my life and improved my quality of life without doubt. But yes there have been an endless trickle of really scandalous drug failures, which in fact, on more than one occasion, the pharm company in question has attempted to cover up. On the other hand, I find it equally scandalous that herbs and supplements have gotten very little attention solely due to the fact that they can not be patented and thus no one can make huge sums of $$$ on them.

Gerald (ESF50348)  Posted: 12/09/2006 13:56

George, I'm delighted that you have received the excellent care that you have from your Dr and through the use of pharmceuticals. That's how it should be for all but we both know that you, and I freely admit many others are the fortunate ones. Far,far too many are victims of the shonkiest science, so I am pleased you can see why I would rather not place my health at risk by relying on the doubtful science that brings a lot of present day medicines to the market. But the original post by John Williams was a shoddy hacthet job on natural remedies as avervse to compound chemical trash so often pedalled by pharmaceutical drug companies and their compliant pushers in the health sector. Just today I read of Johnson and Johnson facing litigation over their spinal disc replacements, FDA should also face action for approving it, along with Pzifer facing 1500 angry litigants re Celebrex. Only the tip of a very ugly iceberg. That John has such faith in these charlatans really amazes me. I know he is not alone in that, and that genuinely saddens me. But, like you George, I'm pretty happy with the herbals that I use, and that is the ultimate test. If it works for you, stick with it. Kindest regards Gerald

Anon  Posted: 12/09/2006 16:06

In response to John W & Vit B12. Vitamin B12 is a water soluable vitamin that plays a vital role in the activities of several enzymes in the body. Is important in the production of genetic material of cells (ie growth & developement), in the production of red blood cells in bone marrow, in the utilization of folic acid & carbo's in diet & in the functioning of the nervous system. Foods rich in B12 include liver, kidney, chicken, beef, pork, fish, eggs & dairy products. (Of all that list I only eat fish). As per BMA Medical Dictionary, quote "A high intake of vitamin B12 has no known harmful effects" unquote. I hope that goes somewhere to answering your question. If not, get back to me on it.

Bernie  Posted: 12/09/2006 16:58

Anon, if you eat niether beef nor dairy over a long term period, do be careful about getting all your calcium and iron requirements.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 12/09/2006 18:45

Gerald, I am convinced that significant sums of tax money should be spent by government agencies on CONCLUSIVE studies of herbs and supplements and the specific components that can be isolated from both. These things are generic products. If they are harmful, the public deserves to know. If they are useless for specific ailments, likewise, the public deserves to know. But if they are even marginally beneficial, the public deserves to know that as well. The huge problem is that these are substances that occupy a "no man's land" halfway between drugs and foods. The famous threat from the pharm lobby is that if any one supplement is found to be beneficial, then it should be classified as a drug and treated as such by the FDA. This is just a really stupid position. We know that many foods are highly beneficial. So should broccoli be classified as a drug since it actively prevents colon cancer? How rediculous can we get? Yet many herbs have anti carcinogenic properties, but pr! oving that conclusively would make them a drug! How idiotic. I believe all of these properties should be identified and classified along with safe dosages, interactions, etc. and these products should be made available to the public as USP verified substances. And, again, congratulations on your obviously excellent state of health. Personally, I believe in preventative care, but I can tell you, I once had a very, very highly regarded specialist tell me only half jokingly, that often the best medicine is to "stay away from the doctor." Your good fortune seems to really come as a suprise to Allie. Well, Allie, I can assure you that not all medical problems are a result of diet issues, but a huge percentage of them either are or are aggrevated by terrible diets. But there are also a large number of our problems that result from environmental toxins from lead to mercury to tobacco smoke. The recent study showing that 20 min exposure to 2nd hand tobacco smoke could do observable damage to the vascular system was very revealling. Could explain some of the illness that was once attributed to genetics. But of course, genetics is still a significant factor, and one that has not be adequately investigated.

Anon  Posted: 12/09/2006 19:12

Thanks Bernie, I am working hard on that at the moment. Its not easy but thank you for your advice.

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 12/09/2006 21:01

Dear Anon 12/09/06. The point of my question was, why would anyone want to take B12 orally when there is an abundance of it in normal foods? What condition would be treated by taking oral B12?

Kitty  Posted: 13/09/2006 12:30

George, it is interestin that you feel that money should be spent by government agencies on CONCLUSIVE studies of herbs / supplements and the specific components that can be isolated from both. But you may recall that what happens - here anyway, that as soon as the efective ingredient is isolated it is then synthesised, tested and marketed by pharmaceutical companies as a drug compound. As for the idea that if something is beneficial, it should be classed a drug - in that case should oranges not be under 'pharmaceutical care' in the supermarket, rather than 'fruit & veg'.

Anon  Posted: 13/09/2006 12:48

Veganism is one of the common causes of deficiency. We don't all eat 'proper' John for a variety of reasons both lifestyle reasons and health reasons. Why does anyone need any medication or vitamin supplementation? There is a multitude of reasons including as I said, lifestyle (fast food, bad diet, processed foods), illness, pregnancy, diabetes, menstruation, old age.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 13/09/2006 17:57

Regarding B12 (or any other supplement). 1) Many diets are suboptimal due to neglect or religious obsession. 2) Many diets are forced to be suboptimal due to a person's specific health conditions, like low fat, low protein, alergies to certain foods or certain classes of foods. 3) Elevated levels of a given supplement may have subtle health benefits with sufficient value to the person in question to justify the cost as far as they are concerned. 4) Some people may simply have a problem absorbing the given supplement. 5) Some people may be taking prescription medication (or another supplement) that causes depletion of or malabsorbtion of a given supplement. This whole area is extremely complicated and to make a blanket statement that all common vitamins are sufficiently supplied in the diet is a vast over simplification. So, John, while I respect your knowledge and expertise, and I truly do, I think you are coming at this subject with a real bias against the use of supplements in a blanket sense which is really unjustified both medically and scientifically in general. Those are my sentiments.

Anon  Posted: 14/09/2006 01:04

John, In an ideal world we would not need to supplement our diets with anything as we would all be eating a full, sensible, balanced diet but of course, we don't live in an ideal world so therefore there are times in everyones lives that we need to supplement with vitamins for example. If I smoke, I know I am depleting my Vit C stores so I need extra vit c in my diet. If I drink excessively I know that alcohol depletes the B vitamins so I have to counteract that with vitamin B group. I am basing this on good medical advice. If I am a young girl menstruating every month I know I need to keep an eye on my Iron intake and if I am pregnant I need a multi vitamin along with folic acid to counteract the depletion of vitamins from my diet, caused by the pregnancy. If I am elderly I am also depleting my stores and need supplementation of certain vitamins to keep me in optimum health.

Mary  Posted: 14/09/2006 08:55

Three other areas which justify supplementation are 1. in he period following childbirth when the bodies resources are depleted. 2. While a women is beastfeeding as she needs extra vitamins and minerals which it may not be always possibly for her to get from food. 3. During any sort term period of heavy menstruation. - if this occurs over the longer term, it should, of course be investigated as it can cause long term mineral and vitamin depletion.

fuzz  Posted: 22/09/2006 00:02

well, i tried alternative/complimentary approaches, and where ortodox medicine only made it worse, homeopathy and acupuncture helped me. sorry, i havent read all the posts, so i shouldnt really comment the validity-of-evidence discussion, but, evidence and proof are acctually very tricky questions in science.

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 28/09/2006 19:40

Manufacturers of multi-vitamin products are rubbing their hands with glee if they have read some of the above posts about the necessity of taking 'supplements'. I suppose it is no use me reiterating that multivtamin preparations are a waste of money in most cases. I disagree with the long lists of examples quoted above where people should take vitamin and mineral preparations i.e elderly, diabetics, menstruating women, breastfeeding women etc. The cases where additional vitamins/minerals are required are very specific. There is absolutely no need for anyone to take iron unless their haemoglobin level indicates they should do so. Folic acid for pregnant women? Yes. Multivitamins for patients with cystic fibrosis? Sometimes. Calcium for dialysis patients? Sometimes. Any competent doctor can tell you when you need extra vitamins/minerals and even then it should be the one item which is necessary. I am amused at the people who rant on about big pharma and yet support the unconstrained overuse of 'supplements' which are almost exclusively marketed (very effectively!) by the same big pharma.

Gerald (ESF50348)  Posted: 30/09/2006 10:39

John, Your bias is becoming terribly tiring. You seem to reside in a fog of self induced ignorance in regards to alternative therapies, including but not confined to vitamin and/or mineral supplements. There are many other medicines and oitments etc., not mentioned here that are marketed by non pharma companies. Why is big pharma pushing for the restriction of non-pharmaceutical medicines? If they were the marketers this would be extremely contradictory. Why do we read of a continuing list of pharmaceuticals that are the subject of many court cases where their products have not only been found faulty but some have been down right lethal. No one here has promoted the unconstrained overuse of vitamin/mineral supplements, thats is just a product of your warped approach to this subject. Our foods, which should supply all our health needs have been stripped of their beneficial outcomes mainly because of other "scientific" products, like roundup and other herbicides and pesticides. Hence the growth of the organic food industry. I choose to be in charge of my health needs and to date have been very happy with the results, using only alternative medicines available from a health food store. There may come a time when I will have to seek the help of a pharmceutical, but till that time intend to remain free of them. It's a matter of choice, something too few utilize. People have been using natural remedies for centuries longer than the muck you acclaim as scientific, but which are poorly tested, if at all, poisins. Open your mind just a little John, there is always an alternative to any pharmaceutical. They may take longer to take effect, but few have the horrible outcomes, called side effects, of big pharma trash. Gerald

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 03/10/2006 22:49

The following report on an advertisement in an Australian newspaper encpsulates the 'ethos' of the 'alternative medicine' industry. The ad is for a water alkaliser/ioniser priced at 1,595 australian dollars. It claims that hundreds of people have experienced radical positive health changes by drinking alkaline ionised antioxidant oxygenated micro-clustered water. The water has a hexagonal format similar to bleep water. The water alkaizer/ioniser on sale changes the water from H2O to OH- giving a higher percentage of oxygen, of negatively charged hydrogen and a negative charge making its alkaline minerals far more ingestible. This also give the water excellent super-hydrative ability because it is much smaller water than H2O. This is followed by testomonials from satisfied customers. And the alternatives wonder why they are called sCAM merchants.

Anon  Posted: 04/10/2006 14:53

John, Who was talking about Water Ionisers? What have they got to do with Complimentary Therapies? Water purifiers were flogged heavily in this country 20 years ago for very little money. Nothing wrong with them in my opinion considering the rampant contamination of water in our taps. Choosing not to drink contaminated water has nothing to do with Complimentary Therapies and more to do with common sense! You refuse to believe what people say about vitamin supplements yet you don't take on board that every G.P. in the country prescribes multivitamins with iron to EVERY pregnant woman. Are they all being conned? I would dearly love to know why you seem to have a chip on your shoulder & refuse to accept that there is always more than 1 way of dealing with any problem. If something like acupuncture, reflexology, cranio sacral therapy etc etc, works for me, why do you think that I am deluded or in a position to tell me that I am being conned? Maybe you have had a bad experience, in which case you should share it with us, otherwise you don't have the experience to tell us that we are deluding ourselves.

Bill  Posted: 04/10/2006 15:54

Anon states, “acupuncture, reflexology, cranio sacral therapy works for me”. However, they do not work. Therefore by definition if Anon thinks they do he IS deluded. They are quasi-religious nonsense. Acupuncture is based on non-existent “energy channels”, reflexology on non-existent connections between the soles of the feet and internal organs and cranio-sacral therapy is based on the absurd notion that very lightly touching your head can “ease pressure on the fluid in the brain”. Obvious garbage. There are 1000’s of such non proven fraudulent money making sCAMs out there. As John said it is the incredible gullibility and silliness of the general public that keep the con artists selling these scams in business.

waxie  Posted: 04/10/2006 17:03

Hey Bill....i see you are back! Shouting again i see about stuff you dont know anything about. Recent test done on acupuncture were very interesting. A woman was treated with acupuntcure in a cat scan machine to see if anything was happening within the brain. After months of pouring through the data, the doctors were amazed that the needles, instead of activating the pain centres of the brain, actually stimulated a part of the brain that creates pain killing chemicals. Nice to see you back....missed you honey.

waxie  Posted: 04/10/2006 17:40

oh...and another thing bill, if you think energy channels dont exsist, you should come to the martial arts gym where i train and you can learn very quickly about energy channels! I'd love to see you explain to one of our experts in pressure point manipulation how energy channels dont exist as you lie on the floor in pain from just his fingers touching two different pressure points. Energy channels exist at the quantum level of our nervous system. Our nervous system is carrier of energy both in and out. So when our feet are stimulated, this energy flows up through the nervous system and stimulates all the nervous system on its way to the brain. Basic biology Bill. Natural. Nature doesnt do scams. I venture that your deep mistrust of the world has you obsessed with being scammed. You should try trusting in nature for once.

Anon  Posted: 04/10/2006 18:50

Yea, Welcome Back Bill. Nice to see you haven't bothered educating yourself whilst away. Anyone that thinks energy channels don't exist is completely off track. Energy... What do you think you are made up of Bill? It is so easy to knock what you obviously know nothing about. In fact, your ignorance is quite appalling, sadly.

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 04/10/2006 21:57

Anon of 4/10/06. I see you don't recognise yourself in the pseuodo-scientific gibberish which I reported in my last post. You might just read it again, properly, and you will see that it is full of words which are regularly used by sCam merchants, ending up with the usual testimonials. It is nothing to do with water purification. It is to do with making money by conning people with enhanced 'natural' water As far as every doctor prescribing multivitamin/iron for every pregnant women, I don't how you checked on every doctor and I certainly have no way of doing so. But I do know that the only vitamin that a pregnant woman requires is folic acid and this should ideally be taken before she gets pregnant but after the first trimster it has no value in preventing spina bifida which is the sole purpose for which it is required.Iron may be necessary but only after a blood test confirms that the haemoglobin level is below what it should be. So Anon these are the facts and can be checked in any basic home medicine book and no amount of telling everyone what a closed mind I have will change these facts.

Gerald (ESF50348)  Posted: 05/10/2006 02:55

Both John and Bill seem to worship at the Temple of Ignorance. Or perhaps they are agents of the corporate drug pushers, who infect the world with their poisonous trash. John claims they are science based so must be good for us. Science unfortunately continues to serve us in the most negative ways. But John and Bill prefer to ignore the many death inducing, health violating rubbish that their friend s in the Pharmceutical industry foist on the health impaired community, and attack the good news stories from the natural remedy area, and try to ridicule the actual beneficial outcomes miilions derive from their use. This calls into to question their motivation, it can't be to assist in increasing our knowledge, as their arguements indicate they have little, particularly in the alternative health care field, so it must be that they are in fact pharmaceutical stooges. From the first post to his last, John has displayed a total animosity toward the alternative therapy industry that borders on latent lunacy. Bill claims we are delusional, entirely unable to understand that this is precisely his very own problem. They both need physciatric help. I hope they get it soon. To you both, the beneficial outcomes the indivdual receives using natural remedies are real to them, they know they are better off for them, and all you irrational bleatings are not going to change that. Please educate yourselves as to the beneficial effacacy of natural cures or find some other form of amusment. Your rantings are of no benficial use to anyone who has used and been aided by natural/herbal/alternative remedies. Give your ignorance a rest, you have over-worked it in this forum Gerald

Bill  Posted: 05/10/2006 09:48

Waxie, the sentence “trusting in nature” is meaningless. A common scam word used to sell bogus products is that they are “natural”. In fact I would go further and say that there is a very high probability that any product sold with the word “natural” in the advertising is a sCAM (as is, “benefits”, “aids in”, “chemical free”, “low fat”, “boosts your energy”, “supplies x% of the daily Y”, etc). “Recent tests” are almost totally irrelevant. The vast majority of serious studies of acupuncture show no benefit or at best marginal. Acupuncture sCAM artists don’t even agree on where to stick the needles, how could they as there is no underlying meaningful theory or mechanism to acupuncture. There are no "Energy Channels”. What you just referred to as Energy Channels was nerves and acupuncture sCAMmers do not claim they stick needles in nerves. Furthermore nerves are not Energy Channels, no more than telephone lines are. Energy is not passed along nerves (there is no extra energy at the end of a nerve as opposed to the start), we get our energy from food. This sentence is nonsense as well, “Energy channels exist at the quantum level of our nervous system.” You, like many followers of New Age religions try and use scientific buzz words like “quantum” to cloak the nonsense you believe in with the sound of serious science. Quantum Physics is not the slightest bit interested in Acupuncture. Even tests that claim some minor benefit always involve subject matters rather than testable changes, a bit like the miracles at Lourdes, no re-grown limbs or replaced eyes. All the people who believe in nonsense claim individual “studies” as proof whereas the scientific approach is much more rigorous. If people are part of nature and people do sCAMs then I suppose you could say nature does sCAMs. In fact now that I think of it what is the purpose of a Chameleon’s camouflage but to fool predators, the Cuckoo’s parents successful scam that fools other birds into raring its chicks, the various markings on animals that make predators think they are bigger than they are etc. There is even a theory that we evolved our large intelligence partly as a result of the evolutionary benefits of deceit, especially among females.

Anon  Posted: 09/10/2006 19:22

John, Maybe I have a little knowledge on what is prescribed to pregnant women because I am a midwife. Mulitivitamins with Iron are prescribed for every pregnant woman, not based on what your home medical book states either. Any one with any interest in any sort of health care understands perfectly what folic acid does and the obvious, clear as day reassons why it is only of use in the first trimester (& preferably up to 3 months before a pregnancy occurs). Your point is.......?

Gerald (ESF50348)  Posted: 10/10/2006 12:08

Bill and John, do a google search for the DVD by Dr Gary Null, a 27 year Research Scientist at the Inst of Applied Biology USA, called "Perscrition for Disaster" or the book by the same man "Death by Medicine" they just may change your belief in pharmaceuticals. That is, if your minds are not already closed and locked down as I suspect they are. He documants how over 700,000 people die in USA every year from misapplication of medications, or wrongly carried out procedures. And the FDA is up to it's corrupt neck in allowing this slaughter to continue unabated, while diong it's best to close down the alternative/natural medications industry. For those not blinded like John and Bill and their ilk, this is one avenue of education you should avail yourselves of. Your good health is your greatest asset, why let those whose interest in your profitable (for them) bad health dictate the kind of outcomes that keep them in business. Your good health profits them not at all. Prevention is always better than a cure, and most ailments medicated by pharmaceuticals can be prevented by your diet and supplementaries where your diet is lacking in the required vitamin/mineral/antioxidant etc. By doing so you could be an emmense help to the struggling NHS, not to mention the genuine MDs out there who are reduced by time and other constraints to being mere pill pushers. And the money you save could go to donations for white walking sticks for the blind and medically challenged like Bill and John. J & B, borrow the book and get someone to read it to you, you really need this info. Shalom !

Anonymous  Posted: 01/11/2006 10:38

Bill and John What planet are you guys from???? Perhaps you should talk to some people who have been cured of cancer, to name one disease, by natural/alternative/complementary medicines. I can't believe how ignorant some people can be.

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 01/11/2006 21:59

As a was directly addressed in the last three posts, so I will acknowledge them but it is very difficult to keep repeating ad nauseam that medical science is a 'science' and therefore has to be treated as such. Science is not dependent on one person's view (Gerald, please note) or on 'talking to some people who fave been cured of cancer' by some scam method (Anon of 1.11.06). Anonof 9.10.06 aka midwife tells us that 'multivitamins with iron are prescribed for every pregnat woman'. She must be a very busy person to be able to talk to every pregnant woman! I would suggest that she returns to her textbooks and she will find that the only vitamin recommended for every pregnant woman is folic acid. As I stated before, iron may be necessary if a haemoglobin count warrants it. Maybe the midwife could tell us the names of a few (of her imaginary multivitamins) products that the Irish Medicines Board license for routine treatment of pregnant women. She asks me what is my point? My point is the same as the point I made two years ago at the start of this discussion. Modern health treatment does not depend on the voodoo concoctions of the purveyors of sCAM but in the intelligent use of proven medicines.

Gerald (ESF50348)  Posted: 02/11/2006 12:53

John, your original post was in 2001 I think, and in all this time you have not learned much. Much of the "science" you worship, is downright shonky, if not outright fraudulent. Doesn't the huge number of litigations against the pharmaceutical industry alarm you at all. Or have the drugs you are on so befuddled you that you cannot recognize that these companies are peddling toxins disguised as beneficial medicines. And your mantra re pharmas selling natural supplements is garbage. That don't market what they can't patent. Why do people with William or it's diminutive, Bill, seem entirely unable to accept that there are alternatives to synthetic pharmaceutical trash, that have been proven to be beneficial over countless centuries, but only in the 19/20th centuries have we been plagued by the profit driven drug companies. Sure some of their stuff has been non-lethal, and infrequently actually helpful, but demonstrably they have never ceased to have to defend the ill effects of their poorly researched products in courts all over the world. Not so for the health promoting natural remedy industry. If you can not bring yourself to accept this overwhelming evidence you have proven beyond a shadow of doubt the you are eyeball deep in denial, and no arguement will ever satisfy your intelligence starved stance on the merits of something that increasing millions are turning to largely because of the perpetual failures of big pharma. I find it hard to believe that this discussion has gone on so long. A tribute to all those who have tried to lift the fog you delight in living under. As I have reiterated many times, what works for you is fine, for me it's the proven, by me, natural way every time Shalom Gerald

Maria  Posted: 02/11/2006 15:52

I think John, if you had read her post rather than being what only comes accross as sarcastic, you would see that she is referring to every pregnant woman whom she attends or who attends the clinical setting where she works, rather than every pregnant woman in the counry, quite obviously. Remember that the multi-vitamin supplements that are recommended in this case are made by the same pharma co.'s who make the drugs you are so in favour of rather than your so called "Scam" artists.

Bill  Posted: 02/11/2006 18:27

Maria, the midwife clearly stated “every pregnant women”. We can only go by what is written. There are women who suffer from an illness that would result in their death if they consumed extra iron. Is this the same Gary Null http://www.quackwatch.org/04ConsumerEducation/null.html Anyone who claims that 700,000 people out of a population of 300,000,000 are killed every year, “from misapplication of medications, or wrongly carried out procedures” is seriously mathematically challenged :) It would mean that approximately 1/5 of us will be killed by our medicine and not cancer, heart disease, car accidents, old age etc. Laughable. No one has EVER been cured of cancer by sCAM. In fact anyone claiming to cure cancer by sCAM would be jailed for fraud. A doctor in Ireland was struck off recently for selling bogus cures for cancer. Gerald your sarcasm towards John when you said, “in all this time you have not learned much”, is ridiculous considering your seriously uneducated post of the 10/10/06 Gerald there is no recognised evidence that sCAM works. A recent meta study by Swiss scientists on Homeopathy showed that any study that showed that sCAM worked was a bad study. This is of course what one would expect. Any good study showed no evidence. Many people posting to this thread are reading rubbish on the web and are not able to recognise it as such.

Anonymous  Posted: 02/11/2006 19:51

Actually Bill, I personally know two people cured of cancer by natural medicines (one of whom was given three weeks to live and is well and truly alive still after 13 years). Maybe you should take off those blinkers. I also know a man who, over 25 years, totally lost use of his body. He was cured when his GP suggested going off his original medication. Within 3 months, he was leading a normal life and was too grateful for that to bother suing those brilliant pharma companies - who, if you looked into it even a little, do some pretty dodgy things with results of studies to name one. By the way, many degrees in various forms of natural medicines are taken through the science departments of universities and one receives a Bachelor of Science in whatever they study. So I guess the Science departments deem alternative medicines to be a science John and they possibly know a thing or two more about the subject than you!

Anon  Posted: 02/11/2006 21:15

Bill & John, Iron and multivits are in general prescribed for every pregnant woman for the simple reason that they need them when pregnant, as their normal stores are naturally depleted during pregnancy. Bill, if there is a pre-disposing condition as to why a woman cannot be prescribed iron then obviously their Medical Practitioner/Carers will take note. What condition/s are you alluding to? If its haemochromatosis, that is another story - I will refer to this if you need me to. Whilst working as a Nurse I am certainly not going to knock orthodox medical care but your zealous faith is rather unsafe to my mind. There are many areas that are worthy of serious re thinking as any Health Prof will tell you. The over use of antibiotics is certainly 1 that springs directly to mind, which as Gerald (I think) refers to, in which the actual over precription of same does actually lead to further more serious illnesses that cannot actually be treated ie. the treatment of 1 perceived illness can be the cause of a far more serious illness. Any Medical Prof will tell you that there are many benefits in many of the Comp Therapies & in fact, there are quite a number of same, studying Comp Therapies to include in their practices. Reflexology for 1 is used in many labour wards with great effect by fully trained reflexologists who are also midwives. Good medical care is wHolistic in approach. Bill, if Doctors and Nurses can see benefits for their patients by the use of Comp therapies why do you continue to refuse to accept this? I can fully understand scepticism but a blank refusal to accept anybody else's view/experiences is certainly not healthy. You seem to be very 'stuck' in your thinking.

Gerald (ESF50348)  Posted: 02/11/2006 23:27

Bill, what part of my post of 10/10/06 is uneducated? My suggestion that you and your mindless friends actually broaden your own education re pharmaceutical disasters? Have you read the two books by Dr Gary Null of just the bilge put out by big pharma and their mates? And you are as mathematically challenged as you are about medicines. 1/5 of 300,000,000 is 60,000,000 Bill. Gary Null claims a figure of 700,000. a fraction of your spurious figure. As I suggested in my post of 10/10 you obviously NEED someone to read for you, as you prove incapable of understanding what is clearly written. You just continue the tiresome mantra the sCAM doesn't cure anything but entirely overlook the millions whose lives have been detrimentally affected by pharmaceutical trash masquerading as medicine. By now you have exhausted any vestige of reason in your diatribes, you are not even a worthy opologist for big pharma. They are probably as embarrassed as most others are at you incessant rants in favour of one of the most lethal industries around these days. More pharma, more sick people. Simple equation! Gerald

Maria  Posted: 03/11/2006 09:48

Use some common sense Bill, the number of pregnant women with heamachromotosis is tiny and would be well know to both herself and her practitioner prior to the diagnosis of pregnancy.

Bill  Posted: 03/11/2006 13:36

So someone calling themselves “Anon” “knows” two people cured of cancer, one of which had 3 weeks to live, by snake oil. Sorry Anon I do not believe you at all. Not even a tiny little bit. I could ask lots of questions, e.g. how did this person know they had cancer? Who sold them the snake oil? What was it? If someone cured a dying man with snake oil he would become a billionaire overnight. Anon knows a man “who lost the use of his body”. What does that mean?? There is no degree course in any recognised university in “natural medicine”. You cannot do science with “natural medicine”. It’s a mixture of religion, fraud and magic. Not science. Yes – haemochromatosis. But this means that “every woman” is not given iron. A pregnant women does not “need” multi-vitamins. That is rubbish. Folic Acid is essential to reduce certain deformities and it is one of the very few supplements that are actually medically approved and beneficial. There are NO sCAM treatments that are of any use whatsoever and no medical professional should involve themselves in their promotion. Some “professional” medical people are idiots the same as some of every profession are idiots. In my opinion Nurses are not in a position to make judgements on these matters. Nurses are not remotely trained in science or have the experience or skills to make “professional” judgements on these matters. Any nurse who advocates sCAM is an idiot. It can’t express this any less strongly. Reflexology is magic. The only possible benefits are related to stress reduction related to the normal effects of massage and of course having someone lie there and relax is beneficial. “Holistic” means nothing. It’s a common sCAM weasel word. I wonder how many of the Reflexologists give back handers to the hospital staff that allow them in to con their patients? Gerald did you read the link to Quackwatch? Is it the same Gary Gull? Why didn’t you answer my question? If it is, he is not a “27 year old research scientist” that you claimed he was. He’s more like 60 and with very dubious credentials. He is a well known chancer. The 1 in 5 statistic comes from the fact that you claimed 700,000 died EVERY YEAR. Therefore as about 1/75th of the population dies every year we can multiply 700,000 by 75 and divide it into 300,000,000 to get 1/5 as the chances of dying from the side effects of medicine. Now do you understand why your claim is absurd? It is this lack of evidence of any mathematical ability or education on your part I was referring to. By coincidence a Pat Kenny item this morning mentioned that 7,000 die every year in the US from the adverse effects of medicine & treatment. Afaik 50,000 die on the roads in the US.

Maria  Posted: 03/11/2006 15:51

Bill, nurses ARE profssionals. To suggest otherwise is not only insulting, it is ignorant and if you knew anything about their training, you would know they are scientifically trained and after many years in their professional have a darn site more skills and experience than a lot of student Dr's we get in our hospitals. So first science is your "God", then scientific people are "idiots" if they don't think your way. "A pregnant women does not “need” multi-vitamins. That is rubbish." Not according to scientificaly medically trained obs/gys's, GPs and midwives. Holistic means to treat the whole person rather than whatever body part displays the symptoms, perhaps you should try reading a dictionary before delvign any further into your beloved science. Do you have any evidence that Reflexologists give back handers to the hospital staff that allow them in? It's a pretty serious allegation so unless you have evidence to back it up, it's totally meaningless.

Bill  Posted: 03/11/2006 19:16

Where did I say that nurses are not professionals? A professional means adhering to certain standards, hence the expressions, “he did a professional job”, “he was very professional” etc.. Someone trained in a profession is not professional in another capacity where they have no training. Nurses are not trained scientists, nor are they doctors, nor are they medical researchers. They are not trained in any shape or form to judge in any professional way whether Reflexology or any other sCAM works or not. In fact most nurses wouldn’t even have the basic grounding in Science to even know how to approach evaluation of such matters. Their opinion is no more relevant than the man in the street. In fact there is a danger that nurses will assume because they work in hospitals that they are qualified to judge. They are not. It is totally un-professional and un-ethical for anyone to put forward their opinion as professional in an area they are not qualified while claiming such qualification. A nurse who claims that she can professionally state that Reflexology works is a charlatan. And such people do exist. Those that are professionally trained clearly state that sCAM does not work. There is no medical basis to sCAM, there is no scientific underpinning or theory nor is there any acceptance of sCAM in any recognised profession or by any recognised professional body. sCAM is only “recognised” in non-professional, unskilled, untrained, amateur, fraudulent money making circles. I know that unscrupulous pharmacists sell Homeopathic remedies they know from their training are utterly useless and dangerous if used instead of medicine. In other words there are those who make money fraudulently from their ill patients and customers. Why would anyone allow fraud unless they were making money? Can I prove that some hospital staff take back handers or “presents” from con men. No. But maybe a tribunal would find out. It could also demand that the money made by Pharmacists over the years selling magic “remedies” that legally can have no active ingredients be paid back to society with interest. Maybe it will happen. My wife is a nurse by the way as are two of my sister in-laws. None of them know anything professionally about sCAM nor have any of them scientific training.

Anonymous  Posted: 03/11/2006 23:00

Bill, I haven't time at the moment to fully answer your last posting but what jumps out a mile from it is that your ignorance re haemochromatosis is on par as your ignorance in Comp. Therapies! Haemochromatosis doesn't normally affect women of child bearing years for the simple reason they do not have a continuous build up of iron in their systems because they have a 28 day bleed - quite simple really and even more rational. In the unit I work on the Midwives ARE the Reflexologists and some of them use Reflexology on new born babies with presenting problems such as constipation, colic etc. The results speak for themselves and your theory does not stand up in the case of new borns who do not relax just to suit anyone! Bill, You seem to have some serious issues with yourself. Have you ever tried reading up on some of the subjects you spout about because it is just increasingly evident that you have no knowledge of them other than spurious second hand opinions? You also appear to have anger issues that need addressing along with some sort of inferiority complex. Regression therapy might help!!!

Anonymous  Posted: 03/11/2006 23:08

Ps Bill.... Just to add to your reading list. If you won't even believe women about what labour is actually like, try reading up on that too. If massaging the feet could relax a woman in labour it would be a hell of a lot better than an epidural or any other method. You really do push the boat out when it comes to talking any sort of sense. The more you rant the more you show how insular your thinking really is. In fact, I don't even believe you believe what you actually write yourself because you are not applying an iota of logic.

Bill  Posted: 04/11/2006 09:54

My point about multi-vitamins & iron supplements is that they CANNOT be given to EVERY woman (or man) for that matter. That is a fact. Unless proscribed by a doctor (and a nurse is not a doctor) vitamins, iron or any other medicine or supplements should not be taken. Folic Acid is almost the only exception and should be taken by any women of child bearing age. Anon. Read up on Reflexology here and then tell me that you are logical and I’m not. http://www.quackwatch.org/search/webglimpse.cgi?ID=1&query=reflexology I do not rant and you are losing your temper in the same way as all those whose superstitions are challenged. I have read extensively on sCAM. It is you who need to read up on it and then you will realise that it total nonsense.

Maria  Posted: 06/11/2006 10:35

Bill, ranting is exactly what you ae doing and if you read the previous posts properly you will see that the point was made that multi-vits are PreSCRIBED for pregnant womem. As for saying no-one should take muti-vits unless perscribed. Rubbish. If a prescription were really neccessary, they wouldn't be available in every second supermarket in the country.

Anon  Posted: 06/11/2006 14:22

Bill, Where did you get the notion I was loosing my temper? Far from it. People with rigid thinking such as yours don't make me loose my temper, they just make me sad. As Maria stated, all pregnant women are given multi vits & iron. There is absolutely no pre-disposing condition that exists for either. As for men, well I haven't actually seen a pregnant man yet so no comment there. There is always more than 1 way to approach any treatment when it comes to illness. One regimen of drugs that helps 1 patient, may not in fact, treat the next patient. Simply because we are not all the same. I have no intention of trying to sell Comp therapies to you Bill. Why would I? But from my experience, with many people in many walks of life, allopathic medicine does not solve all conditions and many Comp therapies can help in areas that allopathic medicine fails. There is loads of proof out there. You can read what you like but still learn nothing! Do you think your opinion will have an iota of effect on my opinion? No, because I have not just read up, I have seen results. That is the point. People who protest to the degree you do, usually do so out of ignorance or fear.

Bill  Posted: 06/11/2006 19:18

My link to the Quackwatch site on Reflexology did not appear. I'll try again http://www.quackwatch.org/search/webglimpse.cgi?ID=1&query=reflexology If it still is not visible go to www.quackwatch.org and in the top right search for Reflexology.

Bill  Posted: 06/11/2006 19:35

Multi-Vitamins are not always prescribed for pregnant women as you claim. Iron is only prescribed if needed. Your logic in stating that prescriptions are not necessary for vitamins on the basis that they are available in every supermarket is completely illogical. The fact that private businesses make money selling useless supplements to the gullible is hardly evidence that they are necessary. Is it? It is true to say that Medicine does not solve all problems. No one every said it did. Whether it does or not is absolutely 100% irrelevant to whether sCAM works or not. To put it another way, the fact that medicine cannot cure all illnesses offers no support for sCAM at all. Do you not agree? There is no connection between the two. sCAM cannot help in any area as it is TOTAL nonsense and fraud. The reason you have fallen for sCAM is almost certainly caused by a lack of relevant education & knowledge. There is NO “loads of proof” that sCAM works. The opposite is the case. No scientific theory underpins any sCAM treatment at all. sCAM is contradicted by all known science. In fact should some sCAM actually work much of what has been proven in Physics, Chemistry & Biology must be wrong. In fact most sCAM is based on nonsense and magic. If you can point us to anything that proves me wrong I will happily read it. [Please do me the favour of reading it thoroughly yourself first to see if it’s obvious nonsense before wasting my time.] I have pointed out that a recent serious professional scientific Swiss government backed meta study that showed that any studies supporting Homeopathy were poor studies and that all those that were classed as good studies showed no effect. You do understand the implications? Bad studies make wrong predictions. As one expect. Many unscrupulous individuals create small scale, un-scientific and non peer reviewed studies, or studies published in Home & Gardening, The Sun etc, to make money for themselves and the sellers of sCAM. The fact that something is called a “study” doesn’t prove anything at all. Do not make the mistake of thinking that a study = proof.

Anonymous  Posted: 07/11/2006 13:21

Bill, That was an amusing website. Is that your information source? The 1st thing that came out at me was how to "donate" money via PayPal or other methods!!! Oooops, now what on earth would I be donating towards? Not having time to check out the entire site, I read enough to know there is a lot of dubious stuff on there. Again, I would have to ask the question, what is Stephen Barrett afraid of?

Bill  Posted: 07/11/2006 14:50

Anon, have you ever heard of an organisation or organisations called Skeptics? Such as The Irish Skeptics Association? Or Penn & Teller? Quackwatch and Dr Stephen Barrett are major players in trying to educate and protect the public from con artists. One can donate to Quackwatch, I’ve done so. You would be donating towards an organisation that is without any government or industry funding (afaik) and that investigates and exposes medical and other fraud of all descriptions. Skeptics and allied entities such as Quackwatch try to be scrupulously fair and are pro-evidence based science. Another good site is James Randi’s. You state that there “is dubious stuff” on Quackwatch. Please point out a single dubious statement. To the best of my knowledge I have never read a statement on that website I know to be inaccurate and that is some statement considering that most of the web is so full of crap. Read the stuff on Reflexology and see can you disprove any statement. If you cannot then you surely cannot go on believing in it?

Maria  Posted: 07/11/2006 14:53

Bill, The fact that private businesses sell supplements is may not be evidence that they are necessary, but that wasn't my point. What it points to is evidence that a perscription for them is not necessary because if the IMB thought for one moment that they could get away with forcing people to pay for a perscription for them they surely could. I think you need to clear out your confusion tho', either they are useless and therefore not worth spending money on or they are are so useful that they ae worth spending €50+ on a perscription for them??

Bill  Posted: 07/11/2006 18:09

Maria, your logic is faulty again. The reason a prescription isn’t necessary or WANTED by the chemical companies is because 1/ Most doctors would not prescribe useless supplements 2/ They are not regarded as dangerous enough. (All drugs are potentially dangerous such as Paracetamol but many are still available over the counter.) If the government decided that supplements could only be bought under prescription (and perhaps they should to prevent fraud), then 99% of the sales of supplements would stop because doctors would not proscribe them. I am always amazed that someone will not pay the doctor his €50 but carry on buying 100’s of Euros worth of useless supplements every year. It would be far cheaper and less dangerous to go to your doctor and be told that you do not need multi-vitamins and save you the expense of buying them! Penny wise but pound foolish. Supplements are nearly always useless. The body doesn’t need them and taking more of trace minerals than you need is useless and potentially dangerous. Maybe our Reflexology nurse can confirm that the body only needs a certain dose of anything and more is NOT more beneficial. As an analogy, no one would expect their car to go FASTER because there is say a full tank of petrol as opposed to half a tank, would they? Yet they think more vitamins means their body goes faster!

Anon  Posted: 07/11/2006 19:04

Bill, I will post what I believe to be dubious when I have time but for starters he is taking stuff off other websites that are out of context. Anyone can do that with any website or any belief. I am not putting myself up as an expert but as a patient now in relation to Comp Therapies. If you have been in chronic pain and had everything the medical system can give you, thrown at you and none of it works you will do anything to get rid of that pain. After years of desperation, I turned to 2 Complimentary Therapies in a last ditch attempt and they worked. If you have a Consultant Ortho telling you that neck pain has nothing to do with serious fractures in your feet, you certainly have to be extremely sceptical about him, don't you? It makes complete wholistic sense that if you are walking in a plaster cast for 6 months your spine and neck take a pounding. I am sceptical about lots of things in the Comp field as I am about even more in the allopathic field. There is good and bad in both and good and bad practitioners. As I have said before they are not exclusive. Drugs do not solve the underlying problems in a lot of cases, they just mask the symptoms whilst the underlying problem just gets worse. When you are a patient it is a wonderful way of assessing health care, both good and bad. As I work in health care and have been a patient I can see both sides. That is a far more acute learning curve than any web site has to offer.

Anon  Posted: 07/11/2006 19:31

"Anaphylatic shock is a severe allergic condition in which the person has great difficulty breathing. But the appropriate treatment would be adrenalin, not oxygen. It could also be asked why she happened to keep oxygen handy and why, if it were critical, she didn't die the first time she had one of her "allergic" reactions. Is it possible that her "allergic" symptoms were merely anxiety attacks that included rapid breathing (hyperventilation)?" END OF QUOTE I took the above from your site Bill. Only the 1st of many things I would dispute. According to Barrett, "in his opinion". I went into anaphalactic shock when given an injection of iodine & it was an emergency situation for which I was rushed unconscious to an I.C.U. Because my allergy was to iodine, if I ate anything with iodine after this time, I would get the symptoms described, shortness of breath, dizzyiness, sickness etc. In more severe allergies if anaphalactic shock had occured again I would be dead but it didn't. But I certainly knew when I had taken iodine in my diet because I would get the symptoms. I was young at the time and didn't know all the foods to avoid as iodine is not something you see listed, so for me it was trial and error as to what I could eat and what I couldn't. However, I know people who have this allergy who were not as lucky as me and did die. So, on this point alone, Mr Barrett is totally incorrect. Having said that, how would you expect him to be any other when he is a Psychiatrist. See how he brings it all around to panic attacks - his area of expertise!!! Doesn't that say something to you Bill?

Anon  Posted: 08/11/2006 00:12

Having spent a little more time on your Quacksite Bill, I can see nothing but flaws in it. Whilst I love the concept of not buying into quack medicine or therapies, I think the whole quacksite spoils its aim by being negative for the sake of it. The Reflexology info didn't even make sense to me. I would concur with the findings based on the info he has posted on there but from my knowledge he shows a huge lack of understanding about a lot of the stuff he is being negative about. Even the ear coning info is simply not accurate. Ear cones do not "drip wax". They simply just don't. How do I know this? Because I was involved in a trial on ear syringing versus ear coning in children. If someone perforated their ear drum then it wasn't an ear cone they stuck in their ear. To do ear coning on the public you must be able to use an otoscope & be assessed doing so. There is a difference between ear candling & ear coning. The information on some of the other therapies I know about is also just completely wrong. He posts 'stories' from unknown people. Many I would just call plain idiots. I would call anyone who stuck an ear candle or cone into their own ear & lit it, an idiot! Also, although I know very little about Amatsu Therapy, it is not massage. Far from it. Anyone going for an amatsu treatment thinking they were going for a massage, would be in for a shock. Oh also, in answer to a posting I seen earlier on this site. There is such a thing as a Homeopathic vaccine. Homeopathy, osteopathy & reflexology are all used in vetinary treatments so there goes your placebo effect. You hardly think a vet would waste his or her time using placebo's. What would be the point?

Bill  Posted: 08/11/2006 17:56

“out of context”? I don’t know what you mean. You need to give an example. Claiming that one was taken out of context is nearly almost the excuse of someone caught lying or making a statement they regret or cannot stand over. How often do you hear politicians saying it? The reason people who are ill get conned so easily is BECAUSE they are desperate. Being desperate is not a validation for sCAM but an explanation for how the fraud works. sCAM does NOT work. It cannot, it is based on magic. You may have THOUGH it worked but either 1/ you erroneously believed you were better 2/ you got better anyway and erroneously attributed it to the sCAM or 3/ the medication you were taking finally kicked in. There are also other possibilities. If a orthopaedic consultant told me something I would believe him. Not 100% but I would reckon the chances of him being right are very high. It’s interesting that you are sceptical of many things in the sCAM field but not all. Surely the same logic that makes you sceptical of SOME sCAM should make you sceptical of all sCAM? If SOME sCAM is fraud does that not indicate that it may all be? They all take the same non-medical, non-scientific approach. Experience and common sense are often worse than useless when trying to understand reality. That is a well known fact in science. Do not think that personal experience is any substitute for rigorous scientific studies. I’m a bit surprised that you are allergic to Iodine as you claim. How do you know? Were doctors involved? As far as I know you CANNOT be allergic to Iodine. You need it to live. Dr Barrett said “is it possible that”. He was offering a suggestion. The problem with anecdotal “evidence” is that without the full facts it is often difficult to ascertain what exactly went on. What Dr Barrett is doing is showing that there is ANOTHER possibility. Most people who believe in these events do not even consider other non magical answers. Psychiatrists are first trained as doctors before specialising. Furthermore Dr Barrett has spent years studying medical quackery and is probably the world’s leading expert on the subject. Quackwatch is not “negative for the sake of it”. There are thousands of fraudulent medicines and treatments. The purpose of Quackwatch is to expose these. If that’s being negative than so be it. You said “To do ear coning on the public you must be able to use an otoscope & be assessed doing so”. Who trains you to do this? Who assesses you? The other quacks who charge you for “training”? Amatsu Therapy is obviously nonsense. I read the website promoting it. It is no different from Acupuncture, Acupressure, Reflexology, Rekki and all the other pseudo religious claptrap that has only one purpose, to extract money from ill people by non-medically trained chancers. Anything that talks about “balancing your energy” is rubbish. Amatsu does involve some massage btw. “Cranial balancing” is nonsense. Read this utter bilge from their website, “The Amatsu practitioner is therefore trained to listen and be guided by the client’s body. By supporting the body in what it needs, the body is allowed to self-correct and maintain its own correction.” There is a very simple rule of thumb, if it sounds like crap it probably is. Homeopathic vaccine is a 100% con. It is also very dangerous and should be illegal and anyone claiming that it can ward off the ‘flu should be jailed because if someone perhaps old or susceptible forgoes a proper medical vaccine that works, for one that contains no active ingredient BY LAW (EU) and then dies, who is to blame? You make a common logical error in thinking that the placebo effect doesn’t work in animals. It does, it is the human that perceives the effect and not the dumb animal!

Anon  Posted: 08/11/2006 19:42

Bill, I haven't even finished reading your last posting. Got to the part where you question my allergy to iodine and yes, now I am bordering on losing my temper for the simple reason that you obviously did not even read my posting yet you are casting doubts on my word! Iodine allergy is quite common. Iodine was used up until about 10 or so years ago in all intravenous dyes used in Radiology. They were supposed to do allergy testing before any x-rays to check for this allergy but because of time constraints they didn't. The end result was a number of people suffered as I did (full blown anaphalactic shock) or death. If you had read my posting you would have read the part about my being rushed unconscious to an Intensive Care Unit. Had I not been in a large teaching hospital at the time I would be dead. They have taken iodine out of radiology dyes since. On the Consultants advice, I was told to wear a Medi Alert bracelet as if I ever had intravenous dye with iodine given to me again, I would be dead. Many people have allergies to iodine. Numerous cases have been reported of people going into anaphalactic shock simply from eating a prawn or indeed even eating a spoonful of rice contaminated with any iodine. To think you have never heard of this or question its existence, to me, is showing your complete ignorance in medical care, yet you set yourself up as some sort of pseudo/quack expert! You also say you would believe a consultant ortho if he told you there was no relationship between your foot and your neck. How totally stupid when you think about it. You need to do a course in anatomy alone to learn about the skeletal structure of the body before you give advice to us on how it works.

Bill  Posted: 09/11/2006 10:39

Anon, I’m hardly stupid if I suggest believing in the doctor’s opinion. If that opinion is as stupid as you claim then really it’s the consultant you are claiming is “totally stupid” (an unlikely possibility as it’s very difficult if not impossible to become a consultant if you are totally stupid) and not me. Furthermore I didn’t claim that “there’s no relationship between your foot and your neck”. That would be an illogical statement as for example there is a relationship in so far as they are owned by the same person. I have no idea whether your neck problem was related to your leg but if the consultant said it was unlikely then I would believe him sooner than I would believe you. Many people self diagnose and are generally wrong when they do so, unless it’s a simple matter. Self diagnosis is also VERY dangerous. You may suffer from symptoms that indicate a serious illness such as cancer but turn to some con artist selling Homeopathy or some other rubbish and allow the illness to progress past the point of cure. Diagnosis is actually quite tricky and proof of that is how long some people’s illnesses can remain undiagnosed even when medically examined by experts. It is quite clear from reading on this subject that there cannot be an allergy to Iodine itself so whatever your problem is it was not an allergy to Iodine. It could have been an allergy to something that also happens to contain Iodine. Can you point us to anywhere that shows there is such a thing as an allergy to Iodine, and spare us any quack websites? If you do not ingest some Iodine you would probably die or at least become very ill. It’s an essential trace element. Allergies are among the most common sCAM myths. I’m not saying no one is allergic, my son is allergic to horses and gets a very bad reaction if he touches one, but most non medical “diagnosis” for allergies produce false positives. Here is a detailed article on the subject of allergies. allergyadvisor.com/Educational/December03.htm

Gerald (ESF50348)  Posted: 09/11/2006 11:11

Bill, I have never in my 72 years read such a plethora of ignorant rants as your posts have proven to be. I applaud the tremendous patience of those many posters who have valiantly tried to instill a modicum of intelligent medical learning into your fevered intellelect, bad sadly to no avail whatsoever. You appear to be incapable of learning anything at all involving medical matters as your mind is locked in a regressive mode. Your reply to my post was as error-ridden as all your other diatribes. I do not know if the Gary Null you refer to is the same as the one I quoted or not, but I did ask you if either you or John had read either of Null's books mentioned. I take it from your lack of reply to this question that neither you or John have. Just what I would suspect. Further, Bill, I did NOT claim 70000 died from preventable deaths in US, I stated, clearly that Null documented this claim. Don't know if that was a typo by Null, but I have read of others claiming a far greater number than Pat Kenny's 7,000. Who is Pat Kenny? Dr Null is a scientist of 27 years standing , how do your qualifications stack up Bill? Yes, I also know of someone cured of leukemia, who according to his Doctor was about to die. The boy's class mates, and their parents spent the weekend in prayer, he resumed classes two weeks later. I saw the boy that weekend and believed the Doctor, but nevertheless joined my daughter in prayer for her class mate. What affected that cure Bill? The Dr knows it wasn't him, we know it was HIM, i.e. GOD. But you are much too clever to believe in a God aren't you Bill? I am not angry with or at you Bill, the only emotion you inspire is one of monumental pity.

Maria  Posted: 09/11/2006 12:35

Bill, again you (possibly deliberately) miss my point. What I said was that if the Irish Medecines Board, thought they could justify it then they would surely enforce a perscription for such vitamin and mineral supplements. Unless you do in fact agree with the proposition that they are actually in thrall to (service of) the pharmaceutical companies. "less dangerous to go to your doctor"? Tell me how many people you know who have died from taking a multi-vitamin supplement in winter or at times of tiredness or excessive stress? Now compare that to the number of people who have died due to medical (or yuor beloved scientific) error. No - but your car will perform better if it has enough oil and water as opposed to when its oil and water is depleted (used up). On your last post you say that sense and experience are no help in judging reality??? If you believe that then perhaps it is you who has problems judging reality. Also, if an animal got better (presumably you don't subscribe to the notion that an animal "just thought they got better", like you do with people) and it was clinically confirmed by a vet that the animal got better then there is NO placebo effect.

Anon  Posted: 09/11/2006 12:59

Bill, I don't need to post any website to prove to you that iodine allergy is quite common. Iodine in trace elements are needed by all of us but not injected intravenously into the body. Lots of people who do not have this allergy can therefore suffer from no ill effects by injection of iodine but for those that do have this allergy it is lethal. Why do you think they took the iodine out of iodine based dyes in radiology? Quite simply because there was a large number of adverse effects. Are you telling me the Consultants (there was more than 1) were wrong? Then you jump to people who self diagnose and bring cancer into the equation. Who is talking about self diagnosing? Nobody on here from what I see. However, from most of the postings I have read there are lots of people on here who would be quite capable of diagnosing some dis ease in themselves as they seem to be more in touch with their bodies than you seem to be. You then tell me that the Consultant Ortho who told me that my neck problems had nothing to do with the broken bones in my foot was correct. Well, he is a practising and eminent Ortho but having attended 2 other Ortho's who both disagreed with him and also my G.P. who vehemently disagreed with him, I certainly know who I believe is correct. You keep going on about website posting yet you are the only one that continues to post about your quack website.

Anon  Posted: 09/11/2006 13:34

Bill, In order to educate you, try looking at this site www.stanfordhospital.com/clinicsmedServices/COE/surgicalServices/vascularSurgery/patientEducation/venogram I don't rely on Googling to get my information but having just googled Iodine Allergy, I found a plethora of medical sites giving information on this subject. Bear in mind that these are all talking about iodine in the dyes we have at present ie. low isotope iodine. The dye that I was given was the 'old' formula where iodine was THE base element. Also, my reaction was not just a shortness of breath & a mild nausea. It was a full blown anaphalactic reaction & as I pointed out to you previously, had I not been in a large, world renowned teaching hospital, I would be dead.

Anon  Posted: 09/11/2006 13:39

And another www.ohsu.edu/neurosurgery/conditions/angiogram.shtml

Anon  Posted: 09/11/2006 13:50

Bill, Sorry but I would have to concur with Gerald here. That website you listed is a joke. I wasn't talking about an allergy to fish! Secondly, how can your son be allergic to horses? He doesn't ingest horses. I will give you the same reply you gave to someone else re IBS. You THINK your son is allergic to horses. What tests were carried out to come to this conclusion? Is he allergic to a photograph of horses? Does he produce antibodies to horses? How does his allergy manifest itself? Does he sneeze at a distance of 100 yards to a horse? Does he come out in a rash? Has he suffered an anaphalactic reaction to a horse? Do you know what an anaphalactic reaction is? If so, tell us. Personally I don't believe you understand the word anaphalactic or comprehend the seriousness of it. Anaphalactic shock is LIFE THREATENING and often FATAL. Perhaps he is just afraid of horses?

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 10/11/2006 08:27

I see Bill is coming under attack from all sides, quite unfairly. For instance, in regard to iodine allergy, what Bill says is quite true and is backed up by the weight of medical opinion. The person who claims he has an iodine allergy above was told to wear a medic-alert for i/v contrast material not for iodine per se. Maria is still on about multivitamins in pregnancy. Maria, as you dismissed the view of the Irish Medicines Board on the subject maybe you can explain why, if you have a medical card, you can get folic acid and iron free of charge but the Dept of Health will not allow multivitamins to be prescribed. As for criticism of quackwatch.com, people forget it is a campaigning website to try and counter the massive amount of quack websites purveying all sorts of sCAM products. I note one poster calls these Complimentary Therapies. It is illegal to call something a therapy unless it is licensed for that use. As for homeopathy, it is high time that action was taken under consumer legislation to take these quack products off the market. By law it is illegal to say a product contains an ingredient when in fact it doesn't. Like many laws it is not policed.

Maria  Posted: 10/11/2006 10:35

Again, John attempts attempts to muddy the water with the mention of medical cards. I did not mention medical cards at all, they didn't come into the discussion. Just for your information, complementary therapies are now covered, quite legally and openly by several health insurance companies.

Anon  Posted: 10/11/2006 11:40

Well, what a surprise! John is back, in an effort to distract us from Bill's rantings. I'm beginning to wonder if they are 1 and the same. Everytime Bill puts his foot in his mouth, John rides in to defend him and changes the goalposts. John William/Bill, What Bill was saying (as you obviously did not pick up on the content) is that I (as the person with the iodine allergy) should not believe my Consultants as I don't have an allergy to iodine in Bills opinion. BUT in regard to the ill informed Consultant Ortho (who said my neck pain wasn't related to my broken foot bones) I am not supposed to question him as he is "highly intelligent"! In the next breath we are supposed to believe him when he says his son has an allergy to horses! The quack site is aptly named. It is just that. Barrett even has juicing listed on his site. That is not either an alternative nor a comp therapy. And John, multi vitamins for the umpteenth time are given out free of charge to every pregnant woman. As Maria pointed out, we were neither discussing medical cards nor homeopathy so wake up & put your glasses on before you do a Bill on it!

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 10/11/2006 13:54

A quick reply to Maria. The reason I mentioned medical cards is that the non-sanction by the Dept of Health of multivitamin preparations is proof that they are not normally recommended. If they were considered necessary, like folic acid and maybe iron, then they would be allowed on a medical card like every other medicine. As for the Anon who says that they are given out free to every pregnant woman, what more do I need to say.

Gerald (ESF50348)  Posted: 11/11/2006 09:23

John and Bill, could you for the sake of the rest of the posters here, outline for us just what your scientific or other qualifications you have to back up the erroneous utterances you continually make. I am aware you don't require any qualification to make your puerile assertions but it would be interesting to discover that our suspicions are correct, you have none. John,and of course t Bill, I imagine you would argue Dr Savely Yurkovsky is a quack also, seeing Homeopathy is what you would describe as voodoo medicine. It's a shame the ignorant always ridicule what they don't/can't understand, instead of doing some diligent research on a site with more honest credentials that Quakwatch. You are very one dimensional in your thinking, if thinking on your part is involved in at all. John, to be ranting away for five years, and convincing nobody must be very disheartening for you . Why not do the sensible thing and retire? We will miss your comedy routine, but no doubt there are other medical comedians waiting in the wings.

Bill  Posted: 14/11/2006 07:47

I got a reply from the website that you referred me to regarding "Iodine Allergy". "Patients are frequently asked about iodine or seafood allergy before IV contrast material is administered because of a commonly held belief among radiologists and others in the medical community of a specific cross-reactivity between iodinated radiographic contrast material and other iodine-rich substances. "Iodine allergy" is often used as a collective term for adverse reactions to these agents. Iodine is an essential trace mineral, required for the synthesis of thyroid hormones" See, they don't beleive in Iodine Allergy as you claimed.

Anon  Posted: 14/11/2006 11:24

Bill, You don't even seem to understand what you just posted. It doesn't even attempt to prove that there is no such thing as iodine allergy. Why do you think Radiographers or Radiologists ask people if they have allergies to iodine? You haven't a clue what your talking about. The more you try to say the more you put your size 15 in it. You obviously don't even understand anaphalactic shock either. Any news on the horse allergy? John, you keep doing the same thing re multivits for pregnant women. The issueing of multi vits to pregnant women has nothing to do with medical cards. The importance of folic acid for pregnant women is only a new discovery (in the past few years). Why do you keep muddying the waters talking about things you know nothing about either. Neither Bill or John seem to know anything about allopathic medicine or care in this country so not surprisingly they have no knowledge whatsoever about Comp therapies either. Most of the posters on here are coming from an experience in the medical system and experience in comp therapy field also, which means they have some knowledge to go on.

Bill  Posted: 16/11/2006 15:53

Anon, do you not understand that YOU referred us to a medical website which you claimed “believed in” the notion of Iodine Allergy. I wrote to them and their reply clearly states that they do NOT. Your own referral site disproves your point. The important phrases in their reply are:- [] indicates my comments because of a commonly held belief [indicates a misunderstanding] cross-reactivity between iodinated radiographic contrast material and other iodine-rich substance [reaction between .. contrast material AND OTHER iodine-rich substance] "Iodine allergy" [in their quotes] often used as a collective term for adverse reactions to these agents [so they are saying (and remember you referred us to them) that Iodine Allergy is a “collective term” to describe a reaction that is NOT an Iodine Allergy] Do you understand? The website YOU referred us to does NOT believe there is such a thing as Iodine Allergy. PS I wear size 10 shoes.

Bill  Posted: 16/11/2006 16:04

It is quite amazing that anyone calling themselves Anon should cast doubt on whether myself and John are the same individual. Many of you people obviously do not even stop to think about what you are writing. Most of you seem to happily substitute generalisations for specific facts and arguments. Gerard rose to new heights with his opening paragraph of the 9th of November. But I have already pointed out that gross insults such as this are common when you challenge people’s religion or superstitions. According to Gerard, Null said 700,000 died every year from medical intervention. Is Gerard standing by this in the light of me pointing out its absurdity or is he withdrawing it? Can Gerard give us direction to “Dr” Null’s academic qualifications, papers or achievements? It seems to me that the two are one and the same. Gerard, the belief in God in this day and age is inexcusable for anyone with any modicum of intelligence, education or learning. Even more ridiculous, absurd and illogical is the idea that you can pray away Cancer. You are not alone in this Gerard, the born again General in charge of the UK army two weeks ago claimed that on three occasions God saved his life while astonishingly allowing the death of fellow soldiers walking beside him. Not a nice God! The illogicality of this nonsensical belief is so frightening in someone so powerful that had I been the PM of the UK I would have fired him on the spot. In fact I suspect that he will be fired. Religion is a cop out. I accept that in your age group the belief in God is very strong but that has more to do with the difficulty people have in changing long held positions brainwashed into them as children than anything else. Among the young in all western countries religion is rapidly dying away. Even scientists suffer from the problem and often hang on to old theories long after the next generation have replaced them. Again Einstein is an example with his attitude to Quantum Mechanics. I can assure you that your prayers did not cure that person’s Cancer, you are seriously deluded if you think so. Maria, I already pointed out that a recent study showed that heavy doses of Vitamin C increases Cancer risk. The number of people dying from medical intervention is minute in comparison to those saved. We recently learned that 50% of girls now being born are expected to live to 100. That is almost entirely due to advances in orthodox medicine and science and not in the slightest affected by sCAM. Your quoted website says, “allergic to OR SENSITIVE”. I also suspect that the wording in that site was a little sloppy. There does seem to be a commonly held misconception that items that contain Iodine sometimes also contain substances that people can be sensitive to. As John & I have pointed out you need Iodine. You cannot be allergic to it. No more than allergic to air, water or any other substance necessary to life. I have emailed the website and asked for clarification. When my son, who suffers from Asthma, was 12 he got up on a horse for the first time. He immediately got a very bad reaction and was brought to hospital. His Asthma has improved greatly and he is now 17. 6 weeks ago he patted a horse and immediately his eyes started streaming, his breathing became difficult and he came out in a rash. He also experienced swelling to his face where he had touched it with his hand. We had to bring him to a doctor where he was prescribed Pertain?? (sorry can’t remember the exact name.) He’s not going to touch horses again I assure you. PS The fact that he patted the horse would prove that he wasn’t afraid of them. The fact that medical insurance companies in Ireland, the land of Saints and Scholars, cover some sCAM “treatments” does not in any way whatsoever indicate that sCAM is beneficial. Have you heard of the VHI carrying out any medical research? The VHI & BUPA are money making companies. If by advertising this nonsense they get new clients then that’s what they will do. Can you see this flaw in your argument? The VHI’s behaviour is scandalously un-ethical and part of the fraud that is sCAM but at least the Swiss government recently undertook a study whose result led to them forbid payouts from government funds for this crap. Regarding “Juicing”, do you believe that this is a therapy or normal behaviour or even makes sense, “Kordich claims that at age twenty, he became gravely ill with a cancer and was told he might not live. Inspired by literature about the Gerson diet, he began drinking THIRTEEN glasses of carrot-apple juice every day. "Two and a half years later," he says in the book, "I was a well man.” The VHI and BUPA without doubt give sCAM an imprimatur as do Pharmacists defrauding their customers by selling them Homeopathy. This is clear from your argument, logically flawed and all as it is. I am a member of the VHI and therefore I have now written to them as follows: I understand that the VHI is now covering the cost of certain so called Complementary Alternative Treatments such as Acupuncture & Chiropractic. These are complete fraud and based on magic and that fact is accepted by virtually all scientists and doctors worldwide. Do you not think that it is grossly unethical of your company to do this and effectively defraud your clients into paying for cover for sham treatments? Do you believe this statement from your website, “According to Chinese philosophy chi is the fundamental life energy” is correct? If not why publish it? The very fact that you cover these treatments fools some people into thinking that there is substance in these treatments and helps perpetrate the fraud. Furthermore I object to part of my policy fee going on this nonsense. Can I opt out of paying for such bogus “treatments”?

Maria  Posted: 16/11/2006 16:31

Bill, you forget that the PM of the UK also believes in God, along with millions worldwide - the educated and the ignorant. Again, you muddy the waters. I did not any any point refer to overdoses of vit c. Surely if VHI and BUPA as money making compaines thought they could get away without having to pay out for complementary treatments, then they would. Did you get a response from VHI?

Bill  Posted: 16/11/2006 16:57

Maria, up to relatively recently virtually all the world’s population believed it was flat – it isn’t. I’m sure you agree. So the number of people who believe in something at a point in time is not any indication of its veracity. Do you agree? The PM of the UK can hardly be held up as a man whose opinion is unblemished. Furthermore the boyfriend of a couple who are close friends of himself and his wife has been jailed on every continent for health fraud. The same man is now being sought by the police on other matters as of a couple of weeks ago. This was the man who was so close to them that he helped Cherie Blair find apartments for her sons. Tony & his wife seem to hold a number of “hippy type” beliefs such as re-birthing rituals. I could go on…. It’s not over doses. Taking Vit C supplements in large doses has been shown to increase the risk of cancer. Your point about the VHI/BUPA is obviously illogical. They and other insurance companies sell a product where they pay out to policy holders. They wouldn’t exist if they didn’t. They obviously believe that by advertising the fact that they pay out on sCAM that they will get new customers. Some of their turnover gets paid back to the policy holders and some they keep as profit. The more turnover the more profit. No response to the VHI. But I have written to them before about this without reply. I’ll send a letter to their board and maybe the Dept. of Health and a few others and see will that shake their cage. Gerard, read up on Dr Savely Yurkovsky and his daft theories and tell me what your opinion is then. My opinion was censored.

Anon  Posted: 16/11/2006 18:23

Bill, your last posting has left me breathless due to the level of ignorance you display. As for your persistance in trying to say that there is no such thing as an allergy to iodine, you are really dragging the barrel. Iodine allergy is well known and affects a quite large number of people. There are recorded deaths from this allergy and nothing you say will change that. It is well recognised in medical circles and that is why they changed radiological iodine use. When someone suffers a cardiac arrest caused by ingestion of iodine then it is serious. As for your sons allergy. You can't be allergic to a horse. Just as you can't be allergic to a cat or a dog. You may have adverse reactions to their fur/coat or something applied to their coats. If you were a responsible father you would have made it your business to find out what exactly your son is allergic to. I think the drug you mentioned was meant to be piriton which is an anti-histamine used for mild allergic type reactions. Unfortunately giving piriton to someone with an allergy to iodine as I described above would be like throwing 10mls of water onto a blazing house fire. I was rather amused at your adjudication over the UK PM's religious beliefs. Is this the same PM who refused to give his son the MMR? I wouldn't waste my time even answering your absurd statements on religion or indeed on Comp therapies as you behave like a bully. You are the one that fires insults at everyone when you don't get your own way. By the way, there are tons of research papers that prove the importance of large doses of vitamin C for a wide & large group of people. But, like everything else, you talk about 'overdose'. We all know that overdose of anything (including you!) is bad for us.

Anon  Posted: 17/11/2006 02:20

Bill, your statement about vitamin C and cancer. What doses of vitamin C are you talking about and taken for how long? There is medical proof that taking Vitamin C & E in pregnancy reduces the risk of pre-eclampsia as documented in The Lancet. There is also evidence that smoking depletes Vitamin C levels and so for smokers it is important that they supplement with vitamin C. Also, you need vitamin C to absorb iron correctly from your diet. Of course, vitamin supplementation is not complimentary or alternative but actually part of mainstream medical care, and is recognised as such. I don't know why you go on about it. Vitamins & minerals are essential to health. It has already been mentioned on this discussion, the many reasons that people may need supplementation. That is not in dispute in medical circles. It is a recognised fact.

Anon  Posted: 18/11/2006 23:46

Angiography File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTML Allergies. If you are allergic to contrast (X-ray dye). or iodine, let your doctor know as soon as possi-. ble. If possible, let the interventional ... www.sirweb.org/refSpec/PIB_PDFs/SIR_PIB_Angiography.pdf - Obviously Bill you will have to get on to this site also to tell them that there is no such thing as iodine allergy because they are under the impression that there is.

Maria  Posted: 20/11/2006 10:10

"the boyfriend of a couple who are close friends of himself and his wife has been jailed on every continent for health fraud" - which proves absolutely nothing. Large doses but not above the RDA would imply that we all have cancer as a result of drinking two glasses of orange juice every day.

Anonymous  Posted: 22/11/2006 12:32

Bill I do know three people cured of cancer, including 1 given three weeks to live - she initially had chemotherapy, which didn't work for her at all. I saw the transition of the man who lost the use of his body from a bodily vegetable state to full use of his body. Try checking out the web-sites of some universities. You might be surprised what degrees are offered. I am still astounded at your ignorance.

Anonymous  Posted: 22/11/2006 12:58

I applaud Gerard and Maria among others for their incredible patience with Bill and John Williams. I cannot be bothered reading the postings anymore, purely because of the rubblish posted by these two ignorami. I must say, my stomach is somewhat sore from laughing at this ignorance though (and very obvious fear) - from Bill in particular.

Bill  Posted: 23/11/2006 10:48

Anon re Iodine Allergy. You pointed us to a site that you claimed supported your notion that people are allergic to Iodine. Indeed at first reading that seemed to be the case. I wrote to this site and their reply CLEARLY indicates that they do not believe in an allergy to Iodine but to material that often was included in preparations that also included Iodine and that “Iodine Allergy” was a “collective term” for what was a “commonly held believe”. Do you now agree that their reply disproves your position? You have ignored my clear rebuttal and gone back to issuing insults and more generalisations such as “Iodine allergy is well known”. I agree that many people may BELIEVE in Iodine Allergy but from my reading there is no evidence and you have supplied none that there is such a thing, in fact your reference disproved your position. You need to learn to focus and think logically if you are to understand these matters. Woolly generalisations (and indeed insults) are useless for getting to the truth. I totally agree that my son is probably allergic to the horse’s hair. But allergic to horses is a collective term for this. :) See here http://tinyurl.com/y5f34c for a medical overview of Vitamin C. Maria, my point about Blair’s friends being convicted of health related fraud is very significant as Blair’s opinion was put forward as important. I have clearly discredited his opinion in these matters as he associated himself with a convicted health fraud criminal. Anon, just repeats his unproven statement that his friend was cured of Cancer by a miracle. I already said I don’t believe you. Prove it or drop it!

Bill  Posted: 23/11/2006 11:00

I often make the point that “allergies” are exaggerated by those who profit from the idea that there are lots of allergies out there. My wife who works in a hospital told me that last week a patient arrived who said he was “allergic to local anaesthetic”. [As it happens my wife is allergic to many of the usual general anaesthetics and carries a medal to that effect.] The doctor didn’t believe the patient but said nothing except that he would test him. He then put test substances on the patient’s arm at various points. Sure enough the patient immediately reacted by an increase in blood pressure and some other symptoms. Then the doctor told him that he had only used water in the tests! Obviously somewhere along the way the patient became convinced, almost certainly erroneously, that he was allergic to local anaesthetics. His reaction was almost certainly psychosomatic.

Bill  Posted: 23/11/2006 11:41

Here is some more information on the “myth of Iodine Allergy” Seafood and iodine: an analysis of a medical myth.Huang SW. Department of Pediatrics, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, Florida 32610, USA. "There is a prevailing myth that iodine levels in seafood and seafood allergy are connected. Therefore, we designed a study to collect information about this misconception from patients referred to our pediatric allergy clinic because of suspected seafood allergy. We presented five questions to our patients, and the most surprising result was that the majority of them believe that iodine is linked to seafood allergy. As a result, many felt uneasy about the use of iodine radiocontrast media. A survey of iodine content in common foods showed that, although the iodine content of seafood is higher than nonseafood items, daily consumption of the latter is much greater and, therefore, any phobia about iodine in seafood is unfounded. We encourage strong public education about seafood allergy by allergy specialists." PMID: 16541971 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] Here is another article that says, “… the concept of iodine allergy is fallacious…” http://tinyurl.com/yaq68l Do you now agree that there is no such thing as Iodine Allergy? There is no doubt that there is a human need to analyse their illnesses, imaginary and otherwise. The con artists that prey on the sick and those that are hypochondriac know this and exploit the general public’s gullibility and lack of knowledge about complex medical matters. That is why they should be jailed for fraud.

Gerald (ESF50348)  Posted: 23/11/2006 12:38

Bill and/or John, could you give me your thoughts on this article http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0611/S00394.htm? The subjects are another big pharma success story so I'm sure you'll be delighted to give your support to the disclosures indicated therein.

Anon  Posted: 23/11/2006 13:06

Bill, You talk about focus! Try it. Now where do I start. Firstly you are saying that you have an e-mail telling you that there is no such thing as Iodine allergy. I suggest you post it. Nobody told you that there was no such thing as an iodine allergy. The risk of iodine allergy through contrast media is lower now because they have changed the mediums but they have not irradicated iodine allergy anymore than they have irradicated horse allergy. People can be allegic to absolutely anything. If you understood the immune system you would know that. In the next breath you tell us your wife is allergic to anaethetics??? (what exactly in the anaesthetic Bill) Now, why would she wear a 'medal' as she would hardly be taken for an operation in an unconscious state and therefore quite capable of telling anyone that she was allergic to whatever it is she things she is allergic to. Your little story about the patient having an increase in his blood pressure does not prove any psychosomatic element whatsoever. It purely proves an element of fear & nervousness. People often present at their G.P.'s with a higher than normal b/p simply because they are nervous. They do not have a problem with their b/p at any other time. Most people awaiting hospital procedures who are overly scared will have a rise in their blood pressure. In fact, peoples' blood pressure is not a constant. Bill, you don't believe people's stories on here or their points of view yet you continually expect us to believe unknown 3rd parties that you bring up. As I said before, everyone else is coming from a position of experience, you are only coming from a position of googler. Thats not an insult but a focused fact Bill.

Bill  Posted: 23/11/2006 19:31

The following link was missing from my last post which clearly refutes the notion of an Iodine Allergy. Have you read my post of the 23/11/2006 11:41? I would have thought that you would be delighted to know that you CANNOT have an Iodine Allergy? http://tinyurl.com/yaq68l or take the spaces out of this http : // tinyurl.com/yaq681 Is the reviewer removing links? Gerard’s one is also missing so I cannot read the article he is referring to. Many websites post nonsense, other websites post inaccurate information or ambiguous information. You must learn to analyse critically or you cannot learn and understand properly. This is what a Skeptic does. Many people casually read websites and often misunderstand them. Believe me it works. Below is the email reply from the website that was referred to us as proof that there was an Iodine Allergy. (A post I sent to this thread has disappeared which contained my original comments??) “Patients are frequently asked about iodine or seafood allergy before IV contrast material is administered because of a commonly held belief among radiologists and others in the medical community of a specific cross-reactivity between iodinated radiographic contrast material and other iodine-rich substances. "Iodine allergy" is often used as a collective term for adverse reactions to these agents. Iodine is an essential trace mineral, required for the synthesis of thyroid hormones ...” Note the phrases, “a commonly held belief” and “Iodine allergy is often used as a collective term for adverse reactions to these agents” and also the last sentence above. A commonly held belief indicates that it is a myth and not true. “Iodine Allergy” does not mean an allergy to Iodine but is a collective term for an allergy to the contrast materials used in the test. And finally they point out that Iodine is an essential trace mineral and that an allergy to such a necessary mineral would probably be fatal. You cannot “be allergic to anything”, that is a daft statement. What about Oxygen? Since you asked, my wife is allergic to sevofluraine and all inhalational volatile anaesthetic agents and all depolarising muscle relaxants and would probably suffer from Malignant Hypothermia if they were administered. This has been proven by a biopsy carried out in Ireland by the leading doctor in this field. The reason for the medal is that she may be in a road accident and end up in theatre and not be in a position to tell anyone. I would have though that was obvious! A cousin of my wife’s died because of this condition some years back while under general anaesthetic and all her relations have been tested since. Some others have it but luckily none of our children. My wife confirmed that the patient who thought he was being tested with a local anaesthetic started sweating, was cold and clammy and had a much higher than normal blood pressure and pulse. He HAD an abnormal reaction. The doctors and nurses agreed to that fact. PS I have been in an ongoing correspondence with the VHI regarding their support for sCAM treatments. I will report back when this concludes.

Anon  Posted: 23/11/2006 20:03

Bill, Its like talking to a brick wall with you. Who mentioned seafood allergy and iodine? I certainly did not. I have an iodine allergy not a seafood allergy. You are so busy trying to knock absolutely everything that everyone else says but yourself that you miss the entire point.. every time. Then you get completely carried away about con artists preying on allergy sufferers. Are you telling me that 5 eminent Consultants in a large London teaching hospital are con artists? Who told your wife she had an allergy to anaethetics or your son had an allergy to horses? By attacking me and what I say you are also attacking yourself and the sources that told your wife and son that they had allergies but you don't seem to correlate the 2! By the way, when someone suffers such an allergic reaction as to cause anaphalactic shock leading to cardiac arrest, the medical profession tend to investigage the cause rather than leaving it to chance. The number of people who suffered from this allergy was high enough to warrent a change in contrast medium worldwide. So rant away Bill. You are talking utter nonsense as usual.

D  Posted: 24/11/2006 19:04

hello does anyone know how to get a list of Gp/complementary practicioners? ( I tried the main Gp website under interests but found nothing related to complementary website) or would anyone know one around the Dublin 6, 6w, 8, etc.. near city centre area?? (I'm not interested in accupuncture, but in herbs etc...) Basically I believe that a GP/ complementary doc would be more approachable and understanding. I'd really appreciate any advice you could give. take care

Anon  Posted: 24/11/2006 20:26

Bill, If you read the actual paper you have posted the link to, you will find it is firstly an Opinion, secondly it is about seafood allergy and iodine and not specifically about contrast mediums. In fact, it proved a link between seafood and iodine allergy. You can't have anything other than opinion when it comes to severe reactions to anything as you can't exactly do trials on such patients as for a start, you can't identify them and also cannot put their lives at risk. As for your wifes allergy. I myself was also told to wear a medi alert but thought it rather pointless as again, I would not be going for an x-ray where contrast mediums were being used, in an unconscious state. Same as your wife, she would not be going for an operation in an unconscious state & if she was, it would be so serious (if they could not get consent!! from any family member)it would really not make a great deal of difference whether she wears a 'medal' or not. Lastly taken from another US Radiologists site 'Years ago, the only contrast agents in use were ionic iodinated contrasts. Currently we use nonionic agents, with a significant reduction in adverse reactions. As for MRI contrast agents, also typically administered IV, are gadolinium-based and unrelated to iodinated contrast agents.' As you quite rightly state yourself Bill, you can find a website that confirms almost any view you hold. However, you telling me I do not have an allergy to contrast iodine is about as stupid as me telling you that your wife is not allergic to some anaesthetic agents. I certainly have no intention of posting my medical history on here but I am 100% confident about my allergy which by the way, was only discovered when I had the reaction so you can forget the psychological aspect as there wasn't one!

Gerald (ESF50348)  Posted: 25/11/2006 11:23

Bill says "A commonly held belief indicates that it is a myth and not true. " He later says " the doctors and nurses believed it as a fact" So they held a belief in common, thus according to the razor sharp analysis of Bill's reasoning, they believed in a myth. I think Bill ingested far too much soy milk or other derivatives as a child, which can manifest the symptoms of brain shrinkage and /or cretinism, and it's my analysis that Bill's brain? has probably shrunk to the size of a pea, and he gets confused due to the echos in an otherwise vacuous cranial space, and he sure does display the classic symptoms of cretinism. So let's be sympathetic folks, he really can't help himself. And by extension he can't help us much either.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 25/11/2006 17:08

Bill gets a lot of his information from the Quackwatch website, and he admits donating money to Quackwatch. The director of Quackwatch is the well-known Stephen Barrett. Barrett also works for the American Council on Science & Health, which is funded by major corporations including Big Pharma. Quackwatch -- and Bill -- are big supporters of fluoridation. However, the most diehard supporter of fluoridation, the American Dental Association, recently advised that infant formula should NOT be made up with fluoridated water. So Bill, do you still support fluoridation (the most outrageous form of alternative medicine)? If so, what do you think Irish parents of bottle-fed babies should do? Just ignore the warning and hope for the best? All fluorides and fluorine compounds are toxic, including Sevoflurane. By the way, vitamin C does not cause cancer. The evidence is that it cures cancer, as I pointed out in this discussion many months ago. Bill can be relied on to keep resurrecting that chestnut. If he knows of some published study which is claimed to be evidence of carcinogenicity, he should tell us about it. It should be good for a laugh.

Anonymous  Posted: 27/11/2006 12:18

Just as with other substances Joe, with flouride the dose is the poison.

Ann  Posted: 04/12/2006 19:09

Bill states in 1 of his postings that, "The doctor didn’t believe the patient but said nothing except that he would test him." Bill, could you tell us the name of this hospital your wife works in? When you go into a hospital, 1 of the general questions is "Are you allergic to any drugs that you know of" and if you say you are, they write the drugs down. Now why on earth would any medically trained personnel go to any lengths to prove the patient wrong, whilst putting the patients health at risk, they are also wasting valuable treatment time. So in this hospital, where Bill's wife works, if you go in there and say you are allergic to penicillin, they would then give you penicillin to see if you were or not???? Also bearing in mind that even if you are allergic to say penicillin, there are loads of cases where you could a penicillin fluid on an arm and there would be no reaction but there would be a hell of a reaction if the same patient took penicillin orally. Very strange carry on. If I knew the Doctor and the Nurse in that case, I would simply report both of them for gross negligence. How would Bill like if when his wife is next a hospital patient saying she is allergic to anaesthetic agents, they say "Oh rubbish, we will take you to theatre tomorrow, you don't know what your talking about"!

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 11/12/2006 23:23

The following study in the latest British Dental Journal suggests that acupuncture may become important in dentistry: www.nature.com/bdj/journal/v201/n11/full/4814305a.html It states: IN BRIEF Acupuncture can be timesaving in patients with severe gag reflex. Acupuncture has a nearly instant effect in controlling the gag reflex in eight out of ten patients. Acupuncture can reduce the discomfort for patients suffering from a severe gag reflex during dental treatment.

Ann  Posted: 14/12/2006 22:20

Joe, I don't think there is any question about the positive affects of acupuncture and there are more and more G.P.'s training in acupuncture for that reason. As is also the case with many other Complimentary Therapies that are gaining more and more recognition within the allopathic medical world. Cranial Osteopathy, Reflexology and Herbalism to mention 3 are becoming increasingly more acceptable to Doctors who through their own wisdom realise that prescribing drugs as a single method of treatment, in a lot of cases, does nothing but waste money. From their own experience they have researched and subsequently studied other holistic methods which Compliment the whole treatment care of the patient. That is, to me, a great step forward. I was recently put on a cholesterol lowering agent only to find that after being told to take it for life (regardless of my cholesterol level) it has now been taken off the market as there have been 83 heart attacks in patients taking this drug who prior to taking it, had no heart conditions!! Scary isn't it and it makes one wonder just what sort of research is carried out into drugs before they hit the market and also the quality of such research? I'm a bit wary of being a guinea pig for drug companies!

Ger  Posted: 15/12/2006 10:16

I know of GPs who practice herbalsim and quite a few who use acupunture - as well as prescriptions and lifestyle advice. But I don't know any who use reflexology and I wasn't aware that there are any proven benefits whatsoever from cranial osteopathy. Maybe you could let us know if this is not the case

Ann  Posted: 15/12/2006 13:46

Hi Ger, Well, I know quite a few that do both Cranio Sacral Therapy & Reflexology. If you don't know anything about Cranio Sacral Therapy (Cranial Osteopathy) then I suggest you do a bit of research. Its an absolutely fantastic non invasive, holistic treatment and I also even know Vets who use it in their work.

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 16/12/2006 19:20

Ann. You may not be aware that the Irish College of General Practitioners has warned doctors that it is unethical to either practise or refer patients for unproven therapies. Whatever about the dubious benefits of herbal medicines and acupuncture, treatments such a Cranio Sacral therapy and Reflexology are cons and any GP involved in either leaves himself or herself wide open to a charge of unethical behaviour. You may remember that a doctor in Killaloe (widely reported in the media) was struck off the register. You suggested to another poster that he should research into some of these 'treatments'. Well the word research and Reflexology or Cranio Sacral Therapy can hardly go together because there is no research. There may be ill-informed opinions but that is all.

Bill  Posted: 19/12/2006 11:54

Joe referred us to a study that apparently showed that acupuncture stopped the gag reflex in 81% of dental patients who suffered from it so severely that certain treatments were not possible. This is another example of acupuncture treatments being studied for wishy washy type problems. It’s always mind related subjective things. Pain, depression and now the gag reflex?? Where’s the studies of cured cancer patients? Here is my admittedly amateur analysis of that paper. The lead researcher on this paper is a practising and paid acupuncturist. Disproving acupuncture is hardly in his best interest. Therefore he is biased. Therefore the study is biased and would need to be repeated by someone not biased or someone without a financial interest in the outcome. I would further add that anyone who believes in acupuncture, which is based on hocus pocus, is suspect as a logical researcher in the first place. There were only 37 people in the study. The study itself was based on correspondence with other dentists and not within the control of the paper’s publishers. There was no attempt at all to do a double blind study. In other words all the patients had the same acupuncture procedure and all knew that they were having it. There was no sham acupuncture. This would have been simple to do so whey was it not done? All they had to do was have the acupuncture applied randomly in two groups. Group 1 the acupuncture needle was stuck in the same place and rotated clockwise and anti-clockwise as described (laughable that bit in my opinion). Group 2 had a sham needle (a needle that retracts and doesn’t actually pierce the skin) applied at some random point on the body. If after doing this the outcomes were the same for Group 1 and useless for Group 2 there would be some argument that the effect was caused by the acupuncture. Another Group 2 test would be to use the same normal acupuncture needle but insert it in a random position on the body. (I should point out that these acupuncture point sites are not even agreed by acupuncturists.) The cause of the gag reflex is obviously thought by dentists to relate to the patient’s state of mind. Other treatments to stop this problem include, relaxation, distraction, and desensitisation techniques; psychological and behavioural therapies; … and … hypnosis. I think that the patients with this problem have a psychological problem and the acupuncture simply distracted them or even consisted of a strong placebo effect along with some auto-suggestion. In summary this study is deeply flawed and proves absolutely nothing whatsoever.

Ann  Posted: 19/12/2006 14:09

John, Not half as ill informed as your own opinion. Doctors cannot be 'struck off' for practising either CST or Reflexology. The Doctor you alluded to in Clare was struck off for offering a 'cure' for cancer. There is a difference.

Bill  Posted: 19/12/2006 14:38

PS I emailed the lead researcher using the email address supplied with the study to put my opinion of his study to him for comment and it is an invalid email address. Curious?

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 19/12/2006 22:03

Ann. If the ICGP 'warns' doctors that something is unethical (in this case recommending quacks) then the action is 'potentially' a striking off one.

Terry  Posted: 20/12/2006 08:56

So Bill - you think pain - a vital signal that something is wrong with your body is a "wishy washy type of problem". Ever torn ligaments or broke a bone? You think depression - debilitating to the point, sadly, of suicide for some is a "wishy washy type of problem" And now you think the very definite physical gag reflex - preventing vital dental treatment, for example such as root canal work is a "wishy washy type of problem". Not only are you completely insenstive, you are sounding like an idiot. There are many modern studies on acupuncture, to be found in medical journals, if you bothered looking - when you're not looking for research to back up your own opinions.

Ann  Posted: 20/12/2006 16:14

John, as usual you are slightly confused! Doctors are 'warned' about recommending treatments they know nothing about - makes sense. How can you professionally refer a patient for a treatment that you know absolutely nothing about? If they, themselves, practice Complimentary Therapies (and lots of them do) there is no such warning as they are 'operating' under regulations governing whatever practice they are practising! Its sometimes referred to as an Holistic approach. Terry, Obviously Bill needs time to brush up on the our natural bodily 'reflex' action which he seems totally unaware of ie automatic movement in response to a stimulus that is independent of the will of the individual.

Sallie  Posted: 22/12/2006 21:43

Another gauntlet thrown down to you. You said some time ago that there was no such think as IBS or implied it was 'all in the mind'. This is a snippet taken from an Irish Health discussion group on IBS which you may wish to read, it says "IBD does not refer to one single disease. It is an umbrella term for several inflammatory conditions, including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis." How do you respond to these findings? Obviously I know before you respond you will need to check Barretts Quackwatch as you don't seem to have any information of your own.

Bill  Posted: 28/12/2006 11:33

You said "IBD does not refer to one single disease". Is this a mis-type, do you mean IBS? If so then the diseases you mention have names and are understood conditions. If you are now defining IBS to mean a clutch of known diseases then that is not IBS, it is a redefinition of IBS to mean known diseases.

Bill  Posted: 28/12/2006 11:50

Terry, what I meant by “wishy washy” was “hard to define”. You took the wrong meaning. Studies involving pain are by their nature subjective and highly influenced by the placebo effect. Isn’t it amazing that miracles and other hocus pocus cures never cure anything “solid” like blindness, missing limbs, cancer, hair loss, or anything that can be objectively measured? At Lourdes there are many crutches left by those claiming a cure for lameness but not a single artificial leg or eye. How could it possibly be that sCAM only claims to cure illnesses that cannot be objectively measured such as depression, pain? Amazing co-incidence isn’t it? There are many studies of Acupuncture and other sCAM treatments. They do not prove acupuncture works. A meta study recently showed that Homeopathy studies that showed they worked were all badly done and the ones that were well done showed no benefit from Homeopathy. Published studies in themselves prove nothing. The studies must be free from bias, re-producible, be double blind, be large enough etc.. Any study that I have examined that claim benefit from sCAM without exception was badly done. I recently posted an analysis of the gag reflex v acupuncture study. This is a typical poorly carried out study that shows nothing. Why not comment on my comments? Now that I have posted an analysis do you not see the faults in that study?

katydaly  Posted: 28/12/2006 22:06

as a supporter of complementary therapies, i even call myself a believer, i have nothing but praise for anything that does not involve being pumped with antibiotics sold by greedy pharmacuticals and prescribed like sweets by some doctors. Did you know that in training to be a doctor, they spend a 2 hr lecture in 7 years talking about nutrition. surely we are what we eat and isn't that a disgrace!!! Surely our bodies are machines that have to be serviced and treated properly and that like a car we need water and proper nutrition. Does your doctor ever ask you what do you eat? think about that the next time you get a pain and instead of going to the "normal" doctor, try a complementary practicioner who will deal with the pain at a deeper level!!! katydaly

Sallie  Posted: 01/01/2007 18:43

Bill, Irritable Bowel Disease/Irritable Bowel Syndrome, same thing. You didn't publish anything on the gag response, what are you on about? You gave someone else's view on something that you patently do not even understand yourself.

Bill  Posted: 03/01/2007 17:18

Sallie, 19/12/06 I posted my analysis of the paper concerning the gag response and acupuncture and pointed out its weaknesses. No one has contradicted my post. Do you lot not accept that the study was deeply flawed. I do not know what you are referring to in this sentence, “You gave someone else's view on something that you patently do not even understand yourself” Kathydaly, this sentence of yours is a gross exaggeration, “being pumped with antibiotics sold by greedy pharmacuticals and prescribed like sweets by some doctors”. I would not call taking 3 tablets a day, “being pumped”. Are Pharmaceutical companies (who employ thousands of Irish people btw) any more greedy than any other company or any other person? This “greedy Pharmaceuticals” nonsense is just designed to create a false impression of companies that through their multi-billion dollar research budgets and products save the lives of millions of people every year. Antibiotics alone are probably responsible for much of the increase in life expectancy in the last 100 years. They have their downsides, but what doesn’t? Good nutrition is not going to replace antibiotics. I totally agree that much illness and certainly obesity is caused by poor diet, but you can hardly blame your local GP for the fact that 90% of the isles of supermarkets are full of sh1te. I recently estimated that I would NOT buy 95% of the contents of a local small shop. Fags, fizzy drinks, processed food, dried “soup”, pot noodles, a deli selling deep fried fat and preservatives, biscuits, low IQ magazines, trash newspapers, lotto tickets, sweets, etc. Only 6ft of space devoted to (limp) “fresh” vegetables.

Bill  Posted: 03/01/2007 18:34

Katy, here's the results of a US study that contradicts what you say about doctors education re nutrition. "Results: A total of 106 surveys were returned for a response rate of 84%. Ninety-nine of the 106 schools responding required some form of nutrition education; however, only 32 schools (30%) required a separate nutrition course. On average, students received 23.9 contact hours of nutrition instruction during medical school (range: 2–70 h). Only 40 schools required the minimum 25 h recommended by the National Academy of Sciences. Most instructors (88%) expressed the need for additional nutrition instruction at their institutions." Where did you get the figure of 2 hours from?

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 25/03/2007 19:17

I hope all the nutritionists who are so vociferous on this thread and on many others (even though they are not members of the Irish Nutrion and Dietetic Institute) will have read Prof William Reville in last week's Irish Times in which he comprehensively debunks all the extravagant claims of the 'health food' industry, for its products. He also points out the proven dangers of self-medicating with vitamins.

Lillith  Posted: 25/03/2007 23:18

I have used alternative medicine for 22 years. Mind you, thank God, I have not been ill. I had one experience with GP who tried to pump me with morphine against my will, so that was that. I recovered without any medicine. I refuse to line the pockets of pharmaceutical companies.

Bill  Posted: 26/03/2007 22:14

Lillith, I’m not sure who you are thanking for not being ill, God or sCAM. (Same thing really!)

Ann  Posted: 29/03/2007 18:53

Well, John Williams I hope your faith in Prof William Reville has some basis. I found it interesting that a very large Pharma Co has been taken to court in New Zealand for the lack of Vitamin C in their Ribena. Hmmm, if they take short cuts with something like Ribena which is totally marketed to the infant/child market then what short cuts do they take with their other products?

fionah  Posted: 30/03/2007 14:09

Huh? Ribena is not a medical product but a fruit drink. Of course it is terrible that they misled consumers about the Vit C content, and I'm glad those 2 schoolgirls showed them up, but I'm not really sure what this has to do with medicine (alternative or otherwise).

rick  Posted: 30/03/2007 15:14

Ann You claim that there is lots of research into Craniosacral Tx and Reflexology-could you point me in the direction of this research in scientific journals??

Ann  Posted: 30/03/2007 19:23

Well, Fionah, its sorta obvious to me and I was replying to John Williams. If you have 100% faith in allopathic medicine and call all comp/alternatives quackery, then its interesting that a huge Pharmaceutical company has been getting away with selling a drink, marketed at children, specifically for its high Vit C content and then we find out that there is significantly less Vit C than they say, in the drink. It makes you wonder about all their other products, does it not? How can anyone condemn complimentary therapies as being quackery when huge multinationals have now been proven to be the biggest quacks of all. Rick, try doing a search or start with a book called Craniosacral Therapy by John E Upledger and Jon D. Vredevoogd. There are so many to choose from, but that is the 1st one that sprung to mind.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 31/03/2007 05:39

It is rather amusing to see the continual crossfire between the proponents of alternative medicine and the proponents of conventional medicine. I am alive today because of the wonders of conventional medicine, but after 18 years on medication for hypertension my physician has taken me off of all medication and I can tell you that part of the reason is because of all the supplements I have been taking that have been shown by research documented by the US National Institute of Health to be effective against metabolic syndrome. The other part of the reason is because of following in detail all of the latest research on diet, exercise and weight loss and combining all those things into a herculean effort WITH the help of my 'conventional' doctor. It is not often that a doctor advices his patient to quit Hyzaar 100/25 cold turkey. I am very thankful to be the rare exception to the rule. And I am very thankful to be the conventional practitioners and researchers (and drug companies) and to the alternative supplement industry which is providing some really great products that have made it possible for me to overcome this chronic and debilitating condition. It is too bad that rather than just throwing brickbats back and forth, people can't see that their is benefit in research based solutions whether they be conventional or alternative. Long ago I decided to take advantage of both and now at the age of 60 I find myself free of all medications as a result.

rick  Posted: 02/04/2007 13:59

Ann I can buy a book claiming that the earth is flat.A person can write a book on anything-it does not constitute evidence Perhaps you might quote me any articles in high quality peer reviewed journals........there aren't any by the way

Ann  Posted: 02/04/2007 18:34

George, I fully agree with you. No one treatment method (Complimentary versus Conventional) is exclusive. My own education (through illness) in this subject has brought me to the same conclusion as yourself. Any therapists I have attended have never treated me without my G.P.'s consent and only chancers would do so. Delighted to read your story and to read about your improvement. Similar history here. Rick, no point asking a question when you already consider you know the answer. You know the old saying "those that think they know everything really irritate those of us that do"!

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 02/04/2007 22:11

Ann, I would have to agree with Rick on this. There have been studies on Craniosacral Therapy and all but one fail to show any objective evidence in its favor. The one that does show some evidence for it is criticized for being very flawed. So, while I try to have an open mind on these things, I would be really hesitant to put my money on something that seemingly cannot be verified by objective research. Whether the therapy is conventional or alternative, we have to look to research to know whether or not it works. Thats the bottom line. I do think there are some cases where you can make the case that the study itself tells a different story than the researchers conclude, but I also think you have to be very careful in second guessing research outcomes.

fionah  Posted: 03/04/2007 10:04

I don't know anyone who has "100% faith in allopathic [conventional] medicine". It's not a religion, it's based on evidence not faith! A big corporation lied - big surprise - but fruit drinks are not subject to the same rigorous and independent testing as medicines. I really don't see the logical jump from a big company lying about its fruit drink to a dismissal of all conventional medicine. Let alone the conclusion that complimentaries therapists are somehow more trustworthy.

rick  Posted: 05/04/2007 16:31

There are a number of reasons why alternative therapies 'work' 1. Some illnesses are self limiting.An alternative therapy that claims to cure the common cold is on to a winner 2. Many doctors/nurses are too busy to spend proper time with patients 3.Many long standing illnesses have their natural ups and downs.Examples are IBS or even Multiple Sclerosis where modern medicine has no cure.Alt therapists can take advantage of this natural cycle 4.Most importantly,there is a lot of psychological investment by people into alternative therapies-this does work!! The fact remains that the vast majority of alternative therapies do not stand up to scientific scrutiny in treating illness and it is largely unregulated in Ireland.This must be the bottom line when I hear calls from people to invest public money in these treatments.

Bill  Posted: 05/04/2007 19:43

Many politicians including Blair and Hain (NI Minister) are believers in sCAM & other superstitions and they have influence to control funds. A scandalous example of this was Hain allocating £100,000 or so for sCAM treatments in NI recently. Blair supports “faith based” schools in the UK in the face of nearly total opposition from the majority of labour activists. Very few politicians or senior civil servants have any scientific backgrounds or interests. They are therefore just as likely as the man in the street to be conned by sCAM chancers. Even the entire Green Party in the UK supports more funding for sCAM as does Big Ears.

Angela  Posted: 05/04/2007 21:07

Rick, Have you ever tried any Complimentary Therapies? I don't know of any therapists who claim to cure the common cold. You cannot make judgements on anything unless you have experienced it. You simply don't know what you are talking about. We are not all some sort of inferior beings to yourself (I think this has already been suggested on here). You seem to think you are telling us all something we don't know. If something works for me, don't you think I would question how it worked? When I get a result from any treatment then I consider that a successful treatment regardless of whether its allopathic or complimentary. Its the results that matter.

Bill  Posted: 07/04/2007 10:50

Angela, your point about “cannot make judgements on anything unless you have experienced it” is completely invalid. You also seem to have completely missed the point Rick made re the common cold. We can and do make “judgements” on lots of things we haven't experienced. Furthermore personal experiences are very unreliable. One's personal experiences are by their nature “subjective” and to find the truth you need to be objective. This is the basis of Science. People from personal experiences link things that are not linked, this was part of Rick's point. The radio presenter Marian Finucane is convinced that Acupuncture cured her of Migraine because of personal experience. In her 20's Marian suffered for some years from Migraine and then started attending Acupuncture treatments and after some time the Migraine stopped and presumably she stopped going to the Acupuncturist. We are a similar age and when I too was in my twenties I was getting Migraine (in fact I had a similar associated condition when I was 16). I never went to an Acupuncturist or took any treatment and my Migraine stopped after a year or so. Do you not see how Marian's personal experiences led her incorrectly to assume that there was a connection between Acupuncture and her Migraine? Migraine can and does fade away in some individuals without treatment but sCAM artists use this fact to claim credit for their fake treatments No one is saying you are inferior, just your reasoning.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 07/04/2007 18:26

I would caution everyone following this board (once again) that a lot of people are trying to sell both 'stuff' and 'concepts' when it comes to medical therapies. Whenever you read about a 'fantastic' treatment, alternative OR conventional, always ask the question: "Is this person trying to sell me something?" Fortunately well live in an era when a huge amount of legitimate medical research is published on the internet for all to read. By taking advantage of that research you can literally save your life. Don't be afraid to print out copies of pertinent studies to discuss with your doctor. You will find it amazing how your doctors attitude will change when you stick a study from Harvard Medical School, Mayo Clinic, or Cleveland Clinic in front of him and ask him for an intelligent response. It very well may send him to do some additional investigation for himself that will affect your treatment in a very positive way. And don't allow yourself to be biased against EITHER alternative or traditional therapies. BUT do be VERY biased against ANY therapy that is not research based. For example, there is accumulating research that indicates that zinc supplements may be beneficial in reducing the effect of colds. But echinacea has been proven to be INEFFECTIVE against colds by a carefully done targeted study and yet people are still wasting their money on it. If you want treatments that work READ THE RESEARCH AND discuss it with your physician.

big kev  Posted: 08/04/2007 10:03

perhaps the question you should be asking is are we sick Muilti-national drug companies spend billins off pounds conditioning us to belive that their potions are the cure for all ills However when you read the British Medical Associations book off meds and drugs and see the horrific side effects off such synthetic potions then you begin to see through the hype Two examples i want to share with you that work for me Atickly cough can be treated with a large spoon full of honey do not swallow but allow to coat the back off your throat this stopps the irritation and allows a good nights sleep Asore head can be cured by the use off the brains in built painkillers these are called endorphians and in a mild to meduim heedache the solution bunch your fists and press your temples to entroduce excruiting pain after doing this massage your temples and within five mins your headache is gone without any fear of kidny liver damage or addiction to the drug companies potions remember that a lot of people are addicted not to herion or anyother illegall drugs but over the counter perscription drugs Can i point out that these work for me as i am not medically qualified it is up to you to try them at your own risk

Bill  Posted: 09/04/2007 19:02

I'm glad to see that wasting public money on sCAM is being successfully attacked. Guardian article Remove spaces http: // tinyurl.com /2gbew9

Anonymous  Posted: 10/04/2007 09:25

There is no pint is swallowing honey and not investigating the reason behind yout tickly cough. Furthermore, persistent headaches, if not the result of dehydration, tension or eyestrain, should ALWAYS ALWAYS be investigated. You body is giving you signals that something is wrong for a reason. The liklihood of getting liver and kidney damage from taking 1 haeadache tablet without a pre-existing condition is extremely remote.

Annie  Posted: 10/04/2007 18:30

Anonymous, Big Kev never even mentioned persistent headaches in his posting. We all know that persistent 'anything' needs further investigation. Having worked in the medical field for many years I find it amazing how much faith people have in 'Science and Research'. Look at the amount of drugs on the market. HRT been on the go for years and only now they are finding out the serious side effects. What research do you think they carry out on the drugs that are pushed in our faces every day? Its very little and absolutely nothing is done in the area of drug interaction. Of course, for certain conditions we need conventional medication but for an awful lot of conditions we need to actually tune into ourselves and change our life styles, diet, way of looking at things and a variety of other factors. Having too much faith in scientific research into drugs is absolutely the height of stupidity. I see more people in my work, on so much medication for a variety of conditions, given out by 'independent' doctors without taking the other meds and conditions into account. The result is often that the patients end up with even more serious conditions than they presented with in the first place. Alternative therapies are not the answer to everything but neither, often, is conventional medicine and anyone that thinks it is, is deluded.

Tina  Posted: 11/04/2007 08:45

And how many scams out there are scientifically tested and proven? None. I would rather trust in science than blind unreasoned faith. While having a good diet and exercasing makes sense (you don't ned a medical degree to know that), changing " our way of looking at things" does not change any medical condition. Can you be absolutely certain that your colleagues are informing their different 'independant' doctors about their existing meds?

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 11/04/2007 18:41

"And how many scams out there are scientifically tested and proven? None." Tina, if by the term "scams" you are referring to alternative treatments, that statement is patently false. All you have to do is a simple search of the US National Institutes of Health online research database to come up with thousands of research reports on alternative treatments. Some of these treatments are refuted, others are indeed shown to be in varying degrees effective. It is true that few are 'proven' 100% safe and effective and their is a good reason for that. To prove a treatment even 99% safe and effective requires a huge amount of money. No one is going to spend that amount of money on something that cannot be patented and sold at a highly inflated price. Alternative treatments are largely commodities and no matter how effective they are, NO ONE is going to fund the kind of research on them required for general approval. But many of these alternative treatments have been used for literally thousands of years and people are not dying from them. Just like "good diet and exercise" makes sense, using alternative treatments with a longstanding track record of safety AND significant positive research behind them also makes sense. But as an anonymous poster warns above, it is VERY IMPORTANT to see your physician FIRST when you are having a problem. Not doing so risks possibly covering up a serious condition without actually curing it and the results can be tragic. So whether you are using convention or alternative solutions, your primary physician is the one with the expert knowledge who can steer you away from bad decisions. - George

Annie  Posted: 11/04/2007 20:19

Tina, Changing your way of looking at things does very often change a medical condition. In fact, if you suffer from high blood pressure for example, changing the way you look at things and react to life, will often lower your blood pressure. Any doctor worth his salt will tell you this. In fact, this was the advice given to my own husband from his G.P. Many Doctors will tell their patients to have certain complimentary therapies also. Mine does and my G.P. also told me what alternative meds to take for the menopause rather than increase my risk of illness by taking HRT. Thats why he is such an excellent Doctor because he doesn't bury his head in the sand like you seem to be doing. As for drugs. To add to my previous posting, next tiime you are prescribed a medication, look at the info leaflet that comes with it. There will be a section that will tell you to report any side effects you may have. It is only by patients reporting their side effects that the Companies can actually list in time what the side effects are. Nothing scientific about that and what sort of research is that?

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 11/04/2007 22:53

Tina wrote: "I would rather trust in science than blind unreasoned faith." And so say all of us. Unfortunately, blind unreasoned faith is rather common in organizations like the WHO and throughout the western medical establishment. Annie pointed out that little testing is carried out on prescription drugs and that "absolutely nothing is done in the area of drug interaction." I wouldn't use the word "absolutely" but there's no doubt that a great many people are taking an untested cocktail of prescribed drugs, and doctors pay very little attention to possible synergistic effects of the drugs. It's misleading to suggest that alternative therapies and medicines should be "scientifically tested and proven". There's no way it can be done. We don't have the resources and we're not willing to spend enough public money to do so. We don't spend nearly enough public money to police prescription drugs effectively, and prescription drugs are MUCH more dangerous than CAM.

Bill  Posted: 12/04/2007 10:56

Joe says, “prescription drugs are MUCH more dangerous than CAM”. Like most of what Joe writes it is misleading. Strictly speaking sCAM “treatments” are less dangerous in themselves but there are dangers in so far as switching between drugs that help save your life and useless sCAM treatments can be fatal as we have seen in Ireland in recent years when ill patients have died after stopping treatments. Furthermore sCAM treatments such as Acupuncture, Homeopathy and Reflexology are certainly less dangerous than powerful drugs BECAUSE they are useless. Homeopathy is just water BY LAW. EU law dictates that Homeopathy can only be sold if it contains NO ACTIVE INGREDIENT. Amazing as it sounds this is true. So as Joe says water is less dangerous than functioning drugs. Unless u live in Galway :)

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 12/04/2007 19:30

Annie is right on the target. People need to be seen on a regular basis by a qualified medical doctor who will perform some basic routine tests and investigations to determine if anything is amiss. There are proven diagnostic steps that reveal health issues. When health issues are revealed by those diagnostics, they should not simply be ignored. If a 'CAM' treatment is indeed working, those same diagnostic tests will demonstrate that. That is why even 'CAM' treatments MUST be used ONLY under the supervision of a qualified physician. And that designation doe not include natruopaths, chiropractors, and other alternative providers. They do not have the background or training to deal with infection or disease. That does not mean they may not be useful, but it does mean they should not be supervising the treatment of your physical maladies. To make it more plain, qualified doctors in the US will have either an 'MD' or a 'DO' after their name. When you accept a substitution for that, you are risking your life. And Bill is also correct in suggesting that the greatest danger of alternative treatments is that people using them tend to reject proven conventional treatments. So I would say again, if your 'CAM' treatment is working, the tests performed by your doctor will demonstrate that. If the tests indicate the problem persists, do yourself a favor and make use of proven conventional treatments. I spent nearly two years looking for a solution for my longstanding hypertension. I did not simply drop my conventional medication to try a 'CAM' alternative. Instead, I continued taking my medication until alternative approaches worked to the point that my physician was forced to take me off of the conventional medication because the proven diagnostics were indicating that I no longer needed that medication. Thats the bottom line. If a 'CAM' treatment actually works, it will usually work just as well and perhaps even better alongside conventional treatment, NOT in place of it. And when you evaluate 'CAM' treatments, demand evidence in the form of genuine research papers, not just slick marketing and infomercial style 'research'. Look for something done by a mainstream medical school or university. - George

Annie  Posted: 13/04/2007 00:38

George, That is the whole point. I have attended Complementary Therapists who would never suggest I stop taking any meds prescribed by my Doctor. Complimentary Therapists as a general rule will consult with the G.P. in regard to a particular patient. They work together, not at odds with one another. The Therapists who have hit the headlines in Ireland are not even qualified in the treatments they are practising in. That is only a few (and these sorts of people are in every profession) and any patient who is told by a Comp Therapist to come off meds prescribed by their G.P. are definately chancers. Fortunately there are not many of them and most people are intelligent enough to know the difference. All Complementary Therapists I have met, are very eager for regulation and standardisation of qualifications to try to rid the field of chancers and people calling themselves therapists without untaking adequate and recognised training. George's story is not unique. It happens every day of the week which is why complimentary therapies are becoming more popular. Same happened with my husband for another condition he had that required heavy medication which through his own, sceptical to begin with, use of Reflexology, he has now been able to dispense with his medication much to the surprise and permission of his G.P. There are hundreds of these cases documented which is why a number of these therapies are now freely available in hospitals all over the world. There is no way a Consultant in a large London teaching hospital for example, would give his permission for his patients to have comp therapies if he didn't feel there was some point in it.

Tina  Posted: 16/04/2007 14:23

If you are menopausal, changing your ay of looking at it will not make you non-menopausal. Your suggestion re: blood pressure was simple lifestyle change which every man or woman in the street knows about. If you are in a high risk group or HRT is contra-indicated for you due to pevious illness or family history then your GP will (or should) know this before attempting to perscribe. Far from burying my head in the sand, I am well aware of the scams and cons. I always look a the medication insert. I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't look at it or in the case of those with failing eyesight, have someone read it to them. Medication is researched and tested before being released, it is a legal requirement.

Bill  Posted: 16/04/2007 18:37

sCAM artists do not generally work with GPs. They ARE at odds with one another. One practices a proven highly trained profession the other is a complete chancer. You cannot be “qualified” in sCAM because it is total nonsense. How can someone be trained in Reflexology on the basis that the sole of the foot has connections to all the bodies organs when there are no such connections? How can someone be trained in Homeopathy when there is no logic to the entire mumbo jumbo? There is no point in training someone to dispense water that had previously had contact with magic potions. Can someone be trained in performing magic, if there is no actual working magic? GPs belong to a “profession, the others do not. They belong to a very loose collection of very silly New Age hippies.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 16/04/2007 18:40

"blood pressure was simple lifestyle change which every man or woman in the street knows about." That is an absurd statement if I ever saw one. Ask any MD about the cause of essential hypertension and its cure. They will tell you that they 'don't know the answers about hypertension'. The fact is, medical science is now unlocking the secrets of hypertension and metabolic syndrome as a whole, but this is really cutting edge medicine. To suggest that it is a matter of 'a simple lifestyle change' is totally off the wall. - George

Tina  Posted: 17/04/2007 10:03

It was in fact Annie who said that if you suffer from high blood pressure for example, changing the way you look at things and react to life, will often lower your blood pressure. If you are an obese Type personality with high blood pressure, changing your lifestyle is simep, common sense, nothing else. No one in fact mentioned metabolic syndrome at all.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 17/04/2007 21:37

Tina, Thanks for the explanation. I would certainly agree that simple steps can help lower BP. But I would also suggest that one has to be careful with this. There are limits and those limits are based on what we understand or do not understand about the science of hypertension and the science of body fat. For example, people who are 'obese' are often admonished to simply 'eat less'. But many of these people simply have an out of control appetite that will in fact just shut down their metabolism if they don't keep eating. We now know from recent research that 1) hunger and obesity can be aggravated by intestinal flora issues, and 2) hunger and obesity can be aggravated by genetic issues. Solutions are now coming forth from both the conventional and alternative camps. For example, alternative practitioners have LONG been advocating things like grapefruit extracts and cinnamon as tools for countering weight gain. We now know that both are effective in countering weight gain since that fact has been established by conventional research. On the conventional side, mainstream research by the US Department of Agriculture has validated the use of corn fiber to satiate hunger and stifle weight gain. All of these things just work. What does not work are 'fad' diets that have no basis in research. These often leave the dieter in worse shape than where they started. But here in the US we have many docs who are as willing to work with the herbalist as they are to work with the pharmacist. Fortunately the mindset of people like Bill has not taken root in our medical community here in the US. BUT, those same doctors do not have much patience with treatments that have no basis in research.

Annie  Posted: 17/04/2007 22:45

Tina, How naive of you if you think that medication is researched and tested before being allowed on the market. It simply is not. Having worked in a drug research facility I do know quite a bit about that. You miss the point, if you read the insert of medications it will tell you to report side effects to your G.P. It is the feedback they get from that route that tells them some of the more serious side effects and if there are a lot of serious side effects reported, they will then take the drug off the market ie. the recent statin that killed 83 patients says it all. Bill, you put your foot in it every time you post. Of course, all professional comp therapists work with the clients G.P. It is a requirement of the training you receive but you know nothing about this subject, because if you did, you would know that much. Regarding malignant hypertension, that is an illness in its own right. General common or garden every day, hypertension is a result of how a patient deals with stress in their lives and can be changed by lifestyle habits. Obesity is not an illness in its own right but can lead to certain conditions. A huge percentage of illnesses have a very high emotional component. There are very many interesting books on that subject. It doesn't interest me in the slightest Bill, whether you believe in comp therapies or not. More and more G.P.'s and hospital doctors are coming around to the benefits of certain comp therapies and recommending them to their patients. They see the results themselves so whether you agree or not is totally irrelevant.

Tina  Posted: 18/04/2007 12:55

Yes, a recent statin that killed 83 patients but paracetamol is responsible for more deaths than that worldwide - no one is campaignign for that to be taken off the market so I don't quite understand your point. When you mention that a huge percentage of illnesses have a very high emotional component, are you referring to stress triggers?

Bill  Posted: 18/04/2007 13:31

Annie says, “Of course, all professional comp therapists work with the clients G.P”. No they do not. By adopting this attitude (and it's a recent one) they give (along with their white coat and the bogus “Dr” sign on the door and the word “clinic” over the door and the bogus “degree”) an air of respectability. “We work with the medical profession” sounds great but the “medical profession” and science dismisses sCAM completely.The fact that there are some stupid medical doctors that have fallen for sCAM is irrelevant. To prevent this in future doctors in Ireland will have to obtain a primary Science degree before they move into medicine proper. This will help prevent doctors from being so badly trained that they fall for unscientific mumbo jumbo. I notice you ignored most of the points I made regarding training people in non-sense. “Training”in Homeopathy is a 100% total waste of time as Homeopathy has no active ingredient and cannot affect the human body. Please refer me to one medically qualified doctor in Ireland that prescribes Homeopathy and I will see can I get him or her struck off!

Lunabu  Posted: 21/05/2007 23:35

That's a lot of bullxxxx what you're saying! There's so much proof that alternative therapies and herbal remedies help and heal in many cases. Many of these therapies are hundreds or thousands or years old as opposed to a lot of pharmaceutical medicines.

Eppie  Posted: 22/05/2007 19:32

Actually Tina, the dangers of Paracetamol have been well documented albeit because of the lack of research and the amount of resulting deaths. It now states clearly on all paracetamol packaging not to take over the prescribed dose in any 24 hours. It is however, in my opinion quite strange how anyone can get their knickers in a twist over comp therapies that work and help people yet think nothing of going into a chemist and dosing themselves up to the eyeballs with drugs that have very serious if not fatal side effects. Look at the anti inflammatory debacle of only last week and then tell me that they do adequate research into drugs otc.

Bill  Posted: 23/05/2007 09:31

Please explain why if some idea is “thousands of years old” it adds credibility? For thousands of years mankind believed the world was flat, it isn’t. There is no proof that sCAM works. If you think there is please direct us to it. There are many studies that show it doesn’t work. A meta study recently of Homeopathy studies showed only the worst studies “showed” any benefit. The better the study the less likely it was to show any benefit. Furthermore most sCAM has no scientific underpinning, e.g. Acupuncture has needles stuck in “energy channels” that do not exist.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 23/05/2007 10:50

Bill KNOWS that all CAM is nonsense. He has no proof; he just knows it. Nevertheless... Consider a report in the Guardian today, a profile on 39-year-old Paolo Maldini, the captain of AC Milan, the greatest football team in the world. It says: "Maldini's continued importance to the team is a reflection of the work done by Milan's army of kinesiologists, chiropractors, nutritionists and physiotherapists in prolonging the active life of their best players."

Bill  Posted: 23/05/2007 13:51

As Joe well knows, the onus of proof is on the person making the claim. I don’t have to disprove sCAM, those making a killing conning gullible people do. The meta study I referred to clearly showed that poor studies were more likely to show benefit than properly conducted ones that didn’t, explain that? That’s evidence that Homeopath is a con. So, in Joe’s opinion Milan is the greatest football team in the world and that somehow or another leads credence to their MEDICAL OPINION? Laughable! Many golfers have been fooled into thinking that magnets in their clothes help their back pain. So we know the endorsement of sportsmen is useless. [Funny Joe never referred to that new Irish study showing the benefit of fluoridated water.] I presume you voted for the Green Religion today Joe as they oppose fluoridation AND the vaccination of children.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 24/05/2007 12:21

Well, Milan and Maldini, with the aid of their kinesiologists, chiropractors and all that, duly became European champions last night. Bill is usually *so* concerned about people giving money to CAM practitioners, and AC Milan must be spending millions on CAM every year. I bet the other continental clubs do the same. Are you going to enlighten them, Bill? But firstly, Bill should acquaint himself with Irish politics. There was no voting yesterday; the general election is today, Thursday. Bill referred to a "new Irish study showing the benefit of fluoridated water"? I must sceptically ask him for the reference...

Pat  Posted: 24/05/2007 12:36

The green party oppose vacination?? Are you serious Bill? Why would any party be opposed to one of the health measures that has greatly benefitted children worldwide with regard to everything from measles to polio. What are these people thinking???

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 24/05/2007 14:54

Pat, some of the Greens may be thinking of this: www.whale.to/vaccines.html There are a lot of people out there who reject vaccination, for various reasons. The latest news on MMR is startling: www.jabs.org.uk/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=668 The revelations mean that the campaign against Dr Andrew Wakefield is discredited, the English courts are discredited, and The Lancet is discredited. Despite all the cases of vaccine damage (see www.irishmedicalnews.ie/articles.asp?Category=news&ArticleID=18772), the Irish health authorities' number one priority is to "ensure that there is no resultant damage to public confidence in the national immunisation programme." However, with the latest news, there is no chance of them reaching their target of 95% for MMR (see www.irishhealth.com/index.html?level=4&id=11359). An awful lot of taxpayers' money is being spent on the promotion and administration of MMR. But politicians, even the Greens, are afraid to ask the burning questions.

Bill  Posted: 25/05/2007 15:13

Here is a quote from the Irish Green Religion's website, "Develop responsible use of homeopathy, e.g. develop a national network of trained vets; provide training courses for interested farmers". Lets hope FF do not need them!

Bill  Posted: 26/05/2007 08:34

Joe is cross posting on the MMR matter and I have answered his silly point here http://www.irishhealth.com/discussion/message.html?dis=2&topic=4458&sp=200&cp=6#latest

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 22/06/2007 18:31

I see a homeopathic conference has started in Galway today. Looking at the programme it's hard to understand how reasonably intelligent people can commit to this type of discussion.

M  Posted: 25/06/2007 11:56

A conference on water - in Galway! Oh the irony of it.

Bill  Posted: 25/06/2007 12:39

Here's a snippet from one of the speaker's CV; "She has a background in acupuncture and humanistic psychotherapy and a special interest in ethics." What are the "ethics" in taking money from people, selling them water and claiming that it will cure their illnesses?

Bill  Posted: 25/06/2007 14:47

It's very wrong of the University to host this "conference" on sCAM. It only gives the organisers the universities imprimatur, which is why I believe they held it there in the first place. What do the lecturers in the Pharmacology Department of Galway University think of it? Actually now that I think of it, some Pharmacists who are trained in Pharmacology sell Homeopathy.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 25/06/2007 21:29

All over the news today is a large and concise study published in the Lancet claiming that former studies on echinacea were flawed and that exciting new evidence shows that echinacea can have a powerful beneficial effect on the immune system. Thank God there are organizations out there that are finally funding in depth studies on alternative treatments so that we can know for sure what works and what doesn't. Unfortunately, clinical trials will never happen though, since they cost huge amounts of money and thus are incompatible with commodity products no matter how safe and effective they might be. Who would ever fund a clinical trial on a useful commodity when they could never begin to recoup the cost? This is a huge flaw in the way products/substances are processed for regulatory approval that all but guarantees that only extremely expensive solutions will pass.

Bill  Posted: 26/06/2007 12:45

George uses a typical illogical and conspiratorial argument for sCAM. He says that there is no research on sCAM because there is no money to be made out of sCAM. In some shape or form all conspiratory theorists use the same argument. “We can’t prove there are no UFOs because the government won’t spend money on detecting them.” sCAM is worth billions of dollars per year around the world so that argument is blatantly untrue. The reason that sCAM artists will not carry out quality definitive tests themselves is because they will disprove their claims. (They often carry out very poor studies however.) It is for the same reason that they do not challenge us on these threads. When government backed research groups do test for sCAM (and remember there are tens of thousands of different sCAMs so they cannot all be checked) they almost never find any proof of effectiveness. Furthermore if you have no evidence that sCAM works why believe it does? Anecdotal evidence is worthless. It is worthless because if a sCAM produced obvious results it would not require a very expensive study to prove it. To put it another way, the less of an impact a sCAM treatment has the harder it is to detect the effect or the more expensive it is to detect an effect above the background issues such as normal improvement from illness, individual responses to illnesses, the concurrent use of medical treatments, hand washing etc. In summary if Echinacea was WORTH the bother of taking for say ‘flu prevention then it would be easy to prove that. It hasn’t been easy despite many other studies so at best Echinacea has only a very small benefit and is not worth taking.

Bill  Posted: 26/06/2007 16:14

George claimed “a new large and concise study" but didn’t mention that this is not a new "study" but a controversial analysis of other people’s studies. One analysis does not overturn all the other studies & analyses. In fact here is a quote from the author George refers to, “it shouldn't be taken as the final word on whether Echinacea does indeed offer protection against colds”. Hardly a resounding endorsement is it, unlike what George claims? But then again George WANTS Echinacea and other sCAMs to be effective so has read this new analysis through very distorting rose tinted glasses. Always remember that MOST of what you read in general newspapers, including so called quality newspapers, is a SERIOUS distortion of scientific and medical fact and almost always uncritical.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 26/06/2007 20:05

Fact: It costs literally millions of dollars to do clinical trials that qualify a substance to be approved for general use in medical practice. Fact: Drug companies pay for clinical trials out of the money they make off PATENTED products which face no competition in the marketplace and are marked up to many times the cost of production. The above are facts that could easily be demonstrated by links if this site allowed them. But there is a perfectly valid reason for restricting links and I respect that. But I invite anyone to Google out the cost of clinical trials and the typical profit margin on a prescription drug that has not gone off patent. You will find it easy to confirm what I have stated above. Bill thinks that this amounts to a conspiracy theory. That should tell you something about Bill. Of course if I were to say that the big drug companies had "rigged the marketplace" to restrain competition from natural product vendors, that WOULD BE a conspiracy theory. But I didn't say that simply because I don't believe that to be true. But I would say that it is MY OPINION that the large drug companies are not terribly upset over the fact that it is all but impossible for a commodity item to pass the bar for medicinal use, with the exception of course of former patent drugs that have gone off patent and are now generic.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 26/06/2007 20:44

For anyone interested, information on the echinacea study can be found here: http://www.irishhealth.com/?level=4&id=11768 Something that cuts the risk of colds in half and costs as little as Echinacea is certainly of interest to me. It would be interesting to know whether Bill would come out directly and label Dr Craig Coleman and his colleagues at the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy as being "sCAM artists". That would seem to me to border on libel. But his extremism seems to know no end on issues like this one.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 27/06/2007 18:57

Well the editors at Irish Health cut the link on me again. I thought the internal linking to the Irish Health site would be OK. The article on the Echinacea study can be found on the Irish Health site itself in the news section. Bill is correct that the study in question WAS a meta study which is basically a critical review of previous studies. But the fact remains that it provides serious evidence for the effectiveness of Echinacea in spite of studies to the contrary. In fact it represents the opinion of the experts in question, in whom I have a great deal more trust than "Bill" who has not really disclosed his credentials. The fact that the use of Echinacea is "controversial" has no bearing on whether it is effective or not. The use of fluoride in drinking water is certainly "controversial". That fact says nothing about its effectiveness OR safety. It simply means that some people strongly advocate its use while others stridently oppose its use. I quit using Echinacea after the recent, very negative study, but at this point I will resume using it again. In fact, I will use any product that have been studied and in the process have shown evidence of effectiveness. The consumer should be able to spend his own money as he pleases without over zealous regulatory agencies attempting to manage every corner of his life. Rather regulatory agencies should be focused on forcing vendors to include warning labels where appropriate rather than indiscriminately pulling potentially useful products off of the market simply because of the influence of extremists like Bill.

Bill  Posted: 28/06/2007 11:16

Why not answer my other points George? You claim sCAM artists cannot afford rigorous studies because they cannot make enough money from their products but I pointed out that the sCAM market is in now in the billions. They do have the money. The fact that the products cannot be patented makes it possible to manufacturer them very cheaply. One large chain for sCAM products in Ireland and the UK regularly offers 66% off the list price of their products. Some profit margin they must have. Why not answer my point where the “study” author says that, “it shouldn't be taken as the final word on whether Echinacea does indeed offer protection against colds”. Yet George seems to be taking this meta study as the final word. The “controversy” surrounding fluoridation is NOT amongst dentists, doctors or scientists but tabloid journalists, quacks and conspiracy theorists who are convinced that there is a conspiracy to get rid of waste Fluoride by poisoning the population. I agree that the controversy about Echinacea is amongst some scientists. You cannot compare the two matters.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 02/07/2007 13:50

Bill, it's hard to believe you're still showing such ignorance about the science of fluoride, after all the corrections I've given in the past on this website. Saying that there's no controversy among dentists, doctors and scientists is a complete fabrication on your part. Is it wishful thinking, or your blind faith in Quackwatch? For example, Dr Arvid Carlsson, probably the world's most celebrated pharmacologist, who won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2000, says: "I am quite convinced that water fluoridation, in a not-too-distant future, will be consigned to medical history." There is in fact a conspiracy behind fluoridation. It's all detailed in black and white, in U.S. Government documents, collected in Christopher Bryson's masterful exposé "The Fluoride Deception", now available in paperback.

Agnes  Posted: 02/07/2007 14:36

I have been using Echinacea for the past 12 years and have NEVER caught any colds or flu's that have been going around. I take it for a few weeks, then stop. It definitely does boost the immune system and therefore helps the 'body' to ward off whatever is going around. No need for a study to tell me the positive results of echinacea. It is a lot cheaper than the flu vaccine too.

Mel  Posted: 03/07/2007 10:53

I''ve been having wholemeal toast with my breakfast for the past 20 years and have never had flu in my life. Do you think someone should market toast as a cure all for influenza based on that? Of course not.

Bill  Posted: 03/07/2007 15:14

Joe has had every point that he has raised on Fluoridation refuted. Here is what the US based Consumer Reports organisation says about the so called “fluoride controversy”. “The simple truth is that there’s no ‘scientific controversy’ over the safety of fluoridation. The practice is safe, economical and beneficial. The survival of this fake controversy represents, in Consumers Union’s opinion, one of the major triumphs of quackery over science in our generation.” (Fluoridation. Consumer Reports 43:392-396, 480-482, 1978). The doctor Joe referred to has no expertise in Dentistry or Fluoridation. He has published no peer reviewed study to support his opinion. Would you like this expert in Physiology & Pharmacology to carry out your root canal treatment? Maybe Christopher Bryson who is only a journalist knows more about Fluoridation than the vast majority of the world’s dentists, scientists & doctors? I’m still waiting on Joe to give me a list of Irish Dentists who oppose Fluoridation. We are still stuck at just the one dentist for two years now. There is no controversy among professionals as I stated. Mel has pointed out the flaw in Agnes’ claim but here is another example. A certain radio presenter we will call Mary, suffered from Migraine in her 20’s, went to an acupuncturist and after a period of time the Migraine went away. Mary claims that the Acupuncture cured her. I also suffered from Migraine in my 20’s, never went to an acupuncturist, took no medicine for it (there was none then) and it went away. See the problem?

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 04/07/2007 00:44

"Why not answer my point where the “study” author says that, “it shouldn't be taken as the final word on whether Echinacea does indeed offer protection against colds”. Yet George seems to be taking this meta study as the final word." Bill, that is called a disclaimer. The medicine I USED TO take had a long list of potential side effects, some of which, indeed caused me harm, but the professional OPINION of my doctor was that the medicine in question would do me more harm than good. In the case of Echinacea, the professional OPINION of the researchers is the Echinacea provides benefit. There is also NO evidence that it causes harm. Whether it is cost effective or not, who knows? But we as consumers make all kinds of choices that are not cost effective. Why should supplements be singled out to be treated differently? And why is it a "sCAM" when I research a particular supplement and by it willingly from a willing seller? After all, I am going by the research, NOT any claims the seller of the supplement is making. AND ... to even attempt to compare the profit margins of supplement vendors to the profit margins of prescription drug vendors is ludicrous. The ENTIRE medical industry is widely known to have the largest profit margins and the highest paid executives as a class of any industry around. And I am not including doctors in that statement. I am referring to large corporate medical interests. If you look at the difference between what large drug companies charge in third world countries and what they charge in the US you can begin to get a grasp of what their profit margins must be and they DON'T temper that with sales.

Agnes  Posted: 06/07/2007 04:11

On top of that George, let's refer Bill to the controversy on statins for lowering cholesterol. If you read all the research papers offered on the need for statins you will be convinced that they are necessary for almost all of us at some point in our lives BUT when you delve deeper into the research papers that 'prove' this you will find that these papers are all funded by the pharmaceutical companies. The very opposite is in fact now being proven to be true ie. that if you take statins (when you do not have an existing cardiac problem) then you run the risk of death quicker. In the countries with the lowest cholesterol levels, they have the highest death rates from heart disease. Statins have very serious side effects and in some cases are even the very cause of death. There are more and more medical practitioners coming to this conclusion and realising that they have been fed studies on the use of statins that are extremely misleading. There is a book mentioned on this site called 'The Great Cholesterol Con' by a Dr Kendrick. I, having an interest in this subject, bought this book and have found it amazing. It should be made compulsory reading by all G.P.'s because it is written by a G.P. who bothered to sift through the wealth of information on this very topic and it completely opens up the way research is cherry picked to suit the requirements of the pharmaceutical companies. The Doctor who wrote it has nothing to gain from exposing this other than bringing down the wrath of his fellow colleagues on himself but nobody can take from the depth of proven studies he has been able to discount.

Bill  Posted: 07/07/2007 10:09

The author said that his report should NOT be taken as the definitive answer on Echinacea. But George glibly dismisses this as a “disclaimer”. It isn’t, take the man at his word. George believes that there is no evidence that sCAM treatments do harm. A study released this week in France showed that women who took sCAM treatments to help them get pregnant, were 20% LESS LIKELY to get pregnant. There have been very few good quality studies done to check whether or not sCAM treatments are dangerous, so we do not know. Some sCAM is dangerous. John’s Worth has been shown to interact negatively with some medicines. I know someone with a bad back who went to a Chiropractor and ended up crocked. The consultant blamed the Chiropractor. Chiropractors HAVE killed people by accidentally breaking their necks. [In case you don’t know, Chiropractic is based on magic too.] PS

Anonymous  Posted: 12/07/2007 14:02

Bit Bill was it the C/AM treatments which made them less likely to get pregnant or some other factors? Were all factors taken into account? Whon comprised the control group? What other treatments were they having with regard to fertility? Were the fertility problems all on the female side in all cases? Were there any other underlyign illnesses which may have contributed to it? What else were they tested for?

Agnes  Posted: 12/07/2007 23:48

Bill talks about Cam treatments in the broadest terms. That is like saying all orthodox medicine is good for you. Far too generalised. Some is good for you, some is not and the same applies to all treatments taking the whole picture and the entire patient into account ie. all medical history etc. Bill, talking about some chiropractic practitioners breaking necks is like saying some Surgeons kill their patients during surgery. It means nothing whatsoever. There are chancers in all walks of life. Echinacea is and has been proved to support the immune system. That is a fact. It works. Using the St Johns Wort arguement is totally pointless also. It is not the St John's Wort that is dangerous in itself, but rather the interaction it may have with other drugs. That applies to ALL drugs. There are very many drugs that have serious if not fatal interactions with other drugs. That does not make any of the drugs on their own particularly dangerous. Do you not wonder at why they banned St Johns Wort rather than the Pharmaceutical counterpart? Well, it rather comes down to the basic financial gain for the pharmaceutical companies, and nothing else. You can still buy St. John's Wort and you can still benefit far more from taking it than you will ever benefit from for example, Prozac. It is also interesting that you quote figures from France where the 'orthodox' medical teams actively promote homeopathy to their patients and other complimentary therapies also. I have a friend who lives in France who is actively being treated by both her Consultant in her local hospital and by her homeopath. Both work hand in hand in treating her in a holistic way ie. they confer with each other in regard to her needs and care.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 13/07/2007 05:48

"George believes that there is no evidence that sCAM treatments do harm." Well, I challenge anyone to go back and read my post and judge for yourself whether my words were taken out of context. I think it was very clear that I was referring to echinacea, NOT alternative treatments in general. As a matter of fact, some alternative treatments scare me to death and others should be attempted ONLY under the supervision of a qualified MD following up with appropriate tests to make sure the substance is not causing unseen organ damage. But somehow we jumped all the way from echinacea to Chiropractors because it was the only way for Bill to make his point. And I also leave it up to the intelligence of the reader to discern as to what constitutes a disclaimer.

Bill  Posted: 13/07/2007 11:04

Disclaimer: “the act of disclaiming; the renouncing, repudiating, or denying of a claim; disavowal” The man said, “do not take this meta study as the final word”. Where in the definition above can the word disclaimer be used to get George off the hook? The problem with sCAM is that there is a perceived notion, and George subscribes to it, at least for Echinacea, that it is generally harmless. But this is mainly because there have been no proper studies done to test sCAM. One reason is that there are thousands of sCAM snake oil remedies and treatments and testing them all properly would be an enormous task. Another is that they are generally useless from a pharmacological perspective and this obviously applies to Homeopathy which cannot by law contain an active ingredient. However taking any large dose of anything is potentially dangerous and especially so over many years. Our bodies didn’t evolve to absorb overdoses of Vitamin C or Echinacea. I do not think that the French study proves anything for all sorts of reasons. I would have expected that the study would show a neutral outcome i.e. that sCAM had no effect, maybe that was even the purpose of it. However, it is good to see Agnes attacking the study in a methodological way. I hope she will now do this for all other studies that she subscribes to. People who believe in all sorts of nonsense grasp ANY study no matter how old or how bad or carried out by anyone as proof of their position. People need to know that many if not most studies are poor. Only studies printed in respectable journals with a good peer review standard are worth anything and even some of those have been discredited. There are thousands of supplements, bogus remedies and treatments, the VAST majority are completely useless, a waste of money and may be dangerous. Therefore until science proves a supplement useful in a significant way and harmless you should not use them and the companies that make a fortune selling them should be shut down for defrauding their marks.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 13/07/2007 12:16

Bill refers us once again to Spiked and Dr Michael Fitzpatrick. Bill, are you aware of Fitzpatrick's extraordinary agenda? Read what LobbyWatch has to say about the LM people... As you'd expect, Fitzpatrick avoids mentioning anything that shows up the weakness of his case. For example, the recent revelations about Sir Crispin Davis and his brother Judge Nigel Davis mean that the campaign against Dr Andrew Wakefield is discredited (see my post above). And The Observer, whose lead story last Sunday was about Wakefield, also managed to avoid mentioning the Davis brothers. Elephant-in-the-room stuff!

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 13/07/2007 12:20

Sorry, I posted in the wrong discussion. Editor, please ignore my previous comment on this thread.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 23/07/2007 16:45

I would like to point out to the readers here that another useful supplement is aloe vera. Aloe vera can do wonders for the cardiovascular system. For anyone who is not taking any prescription meds, but who is dealing with disturbing cholesterol readings, the usefulness of aloe vera in this regard is easy and inexpensive to demonstrate. Simply purchase some very inexpensive aloe vera gel. The soft gels are the best approach, but I have heard the bulk gel works as well. (I personally have use the soft gels for around three years now.) DO NOT use the dry form sold as an herbal laxative. It contains excessive amounts of latex from the plant and is downright dangerous even when used as a laxative. Also DO NOT use the juice form. It should be required to carry a warning label. So once you have the aloe gel, begin to take it three or four weeks BEFORE your next cholesterol profile. You should see immediately whether aloe vera does the job for you. It will likely bring your LDL and triglycerides down significantly and raise your HDL. If you routinely have your blood sugar measured, you should find that significantly improved as well. In any case, don't listen to either me or to Bill. Just look at the numbers. They are the objective measurement as to whether something works or doesn't. And watch the trend after that. You may be very pleasantly surprised! - George

Agnes  Posted: 23/07/2007 17:09

It is NEVER recommended that anyone take Echinacea all the time. If you are going to use ANY product, drug/herbal or otherwise for its beneficial effects, one has a responsibility to read up on that product in regard to safe practice. Echinacea is for years, recommended as a good and safe way to boost the immune system, but as with anything, one does not do this all the time 24/7, 365 days a year, because it will (like vitamin intake) cause the body to feel depleted when the person stops taking it. Common sense Bill. You treat everyone as if they are stupid. Some of us, actually know what we are doing and do not just randomly take or use treatments/therapies, unless we find them of benefit to us. That same reasoning does not allow most clear thinking people of ruling out therapies just on someone elses say so, especially when that someone else hasn't got a clue about the therapies in the first place.

Eam  Posted: 27/07/2007 22:45

Bill - you stated that "chiropractors HAVE killed people by accidentally breaking their necks". You should know that medical error is the third leading cause of death in the Western world, while properly prescribed medicines are ranked fourth. Only heart disease and cancer rank higher than these ( Pomeranz et al, JAMA. 1998;279:1200-1205).

Joe L  Posted: 28/07/2007 20:48

The EU has already banned supplements in Germany & Norway. You can only buy very very low dose of Bs etc What do people think of this comming to Ireland? Joe

Anonymous  Posted: 01/08/2007 12:05

No biggie. People who want them will just order them online.

Eam  Posted: 01/08/2007 14:41

People need to know that what is banned from open sale here will be clamped down on, no matter what the route of supply, e.g. internet. The Irish Medicines Board already works in conjunction with Customs and Excise to prevent medicines coming into the country via the internet, or by any other route. A number of people I know have had vitamins bought over the internet or by mail order returned to sender by Customs and Excise, because they are in breach of Irish regulations already in existence. ood supplements (vitamins and minerals) which are over the permitted limit will automatically be classified as medicines, so the above applies. To think otherwise would be a mistake.

Bill  Posted: 01/08/2007 15:05

Medical error is NOT the 3rd biggest cause of death. Even a minute’s reflection should tell you that that statement is utter nonsense. Think of all the people you know that have died. What per cent were killed by their doctors? All useless supplements and remedies will be banned eventually, including in Ireland. The government is right to stop scientifically & medically illiterate sick people being conned. I saw a so-called “health food” shop recently that sells this rubbish with a large sign asking people to come and sign a petition to stop the EU. Now why was that? Was it because they make serious money from selling snake oil to their foolish “customers” by any chance? As regards buying them online, you would want to be a double fool to buy this rubbish online. Much of the drugs sold online are fake. How will you know which is and which isn’t? Some “herbal remedies” sold online contain dangerous amounts of lead, arsenic and other chemicals.

Eam  Posted: 01/08/2007 17:40

Well Bill, doctors themselves tell us that they ARE the 3rd leading cause of death. Who am I to disbelieve them? For a start, Institute of Medicine, Thomas et al, 1999 and 2000 gives this statistic. JAMA (Bates et al, 1995 Jul 5;274[1]:29-34) stated: "Over a million patients are injured in U.S. hospitals each year, and approximately 280,000 die annually as a result of these injuries. Therefore, the iatrogenic death rate dwarfs the annual automobile accident mortality rate of 45,000 and accounts for more deaths than all other accidents combined." At a press conference in 1997 Dr. Leape released a nationwide poll on patient iatrogenesis conducted by the National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF), which is sponsored by the American Medical Association. The survey found that more than 100 million Americans have been impacted directly and indirectly by a medical mistake. Forty-two percent were directly affected and a total of 84 percent personally knew of someone who had experienced a medical mistake. Dr. Leape is a founding member of the NPSF. I note you didn't dispute the fact that properly prescribed medicines are the 4th leading cause of death, but while I'm at it I'll give you a reference for that statistic too: Lazarou J, Pomeranz B, Corey P. Incidence of adverse drug reactions in hospitalized patients. JAMA. 1998;279:1200-1205.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 01/08/2007 20:15

Eam, don't try to confuse Bill with facts. He is so totally driven by his ideology that one has to wonder whether he is just astroturfing for the pharmaceutical industry. Most of us have known people personally who have died at the hands of well intentioned doctors through some inadvertent oversight or error. ALL people make mistakes, occasionally fatal to themselves or others and doctors are no exception. Neither are chiropractors or other alternative practitioners. And even scamming is not limited to alternative practitioners. We had a case locally here with a major regional medical center which made nationwide news where doctors were doing totally unnecessary heart surgery on a massive scale in order to rip off the government and private insurance companies. A number of patients died as a result. They tried very hard to cover it up, but medical staff at the hospital started to talk, the federal government moved in and started to audit the data and the rest is history other than the long string of lawsuits. Bill's posts are a joke and hopefully he doesn't represent the views of the medical community in Ireland. That would be very sad.

Anonymous  Posted: 02/08/2007 08:36

Eam, any consumer is entitled to purchase their medecines (with the appropriate prescription) from a pharmacy anywhere in the EU. The IMB can prevent medicines coming in only where there is no perscription or the medicine is counterfeit. They have no control or jurisdiction of supplements - i.e. non prescription items and to suggest so is simply scare tactics.

Bill  Posted: 02/08/2007 10:42

As you ignored my question, let me try again. What percentage of the people you know who have died died because of their doctors or medicines? Saying, you know of someone indicates that very few indeed did. Unless we all know of approxiately 33.3% of our friends and relations who died from medical negligence then its obvious your silly statistic is wrong. I know of none one at all. That quoted study is deeply flawed and rejected by the vast majority of medical people.

Anonymous  Posted: 02/08/2007 12:32

But Bill you are the very one to say that a person knowing someone for whom an alternative remedy worked is "silly" unless it s subject to a scientic study. Does the same not go for orthodox medecine? Afterall, you have your official medical report in the JAMA paper

Eam  Posted: 02/08/2007 12:56

Anon - my point is that any supplement above the maximum permitted level (to be set by the EU towards the end of this year, but probably around RDA level) will AUTOMATICALLY be classified as a medicine. So the IMB will indeed have jurisdiction over supplements when this regulation comes in. I'll stick to the science Bill. I wouldn't presume to know what percentage of people I know who have died have been killed by doctors for a variety of reasons. One swallow doesn't make a summer either. Hence my references above, if you would only bother to follow them up. Which study is "flawed and rejected by the vast majority of medical people"? Please reference this statement. Statistics are there in black and white, produced by the medical profession and peer-reviewed. Go look and stop asking for anecdotal evidence, because as we all know that doesn't provide the basis for good science.

Bill  Posted: 02/08/2007 14:22

Outlandish statements do not need elaborate studies to disprove them. If the 3rd biggest cause of death of patients is by their doctors then it is statistically sufficient for me to show that none of us can state that we know that many people killed by their doctors. A very large statistic would be obvious to everyone. About 1 in 10,000 Irish people are killed on the roads each year and those killed are relatively random. Most people know of someone killed on the roads. In my case I can think of a relative 27 years ago, an old friend I haven’t seen in year’s son, a colleague’s Dad about 10 years ago and that’s about it. If the 3rd biggest killer of people after cancer and heart disease was the medical profession then I would know lots of people who were killed by their doctors. I know no one who has died due to medical negligence. Yet I know a few people who have died on the road even though only 1/10,000 Irish people a year die on the road. Quite frankly anyone who seriously believes that the 3rd biggest killer of Irish people are their doctors has a serious issue with basic maths, and lets face it anyone buying sCAM treatments normally has. "Papers" mean nothing. Just because someone does a study does not mean that it proves anything. It's amazing how non scientific people will hold up one isolated study and then ignore mountains of other studies that disprove their position. That study included deaths caused by failed operations. A certain percentage of all surgery results in the death of the patient. For example if I remember correctly, roughly 1/1,000 people die due to the aesthetic. But most people would still chose to be saved and take that risk. If you do die on the table, what killed you, the illness that you had or the fact that the operation was not a success? If the person wasn’t ill enough to need surgery then he may have died anyway. If you die of Cancer but if the doctor could have diagnosed your illness earlier then did he killed you? All this anti-medical mythology is generated by those who believe in sCAM. They want to try and warp people’s view of reality to push their snake oil. Conventional medicine is bad, magical “natural” medicine is good. Completely illogical. One proponent of this nonsensical notion that medicine is the 3rd (and often claimed the biggest) cause of death is a peddler of sCAM remedies called Gary Null who used to be a chef! Don’t believe in these daft “studies” unless you read them up in detail. If you do, you will find the “authors” are chancers, or biased, the studies are limited or badly done, they are published in the mainstream press and not the medical journals or they are unsupported by other researchers. Finally you also find other sCAM artists re-interpreting other people’s studies in a way that they original authors never intended.

Bill  Posted: 02/08/2007 14:52

Here is another set of statistics based on the admission to a UK hospital in one year. 19,000 admitted, 1,200 Adverse Drug Reactions (ADR), 00.015% died or 18 people. So of 19,000 ill people admitted to hospital 18 died as a result of ADR, how many died otherwise? Could 18 people from 19,000 admission = 3rd biggest cause of death? Hardly. That could only be true if only something like 100 people died out of the 19,000 admitted. Furthermore how many of the ADR cases was accidental or caused by a doctor? Some may simply have been because the patient was so ill that the drug pushed them over the edge. They may have died due to the ADR BUT may have died anyway within weeks due to their illness. Any statistic needs to be analysed in great detail to be understood. There are lies, dam lies and statistics. Finally if no one in the population served by the hospital took drugs how many would have died from their illnesses? Only 1,200 were admitted from the entire population served by the hospital with ADR and only 18 died. Maybe thousands would have died without their drugs? Which do we want certain death or a tiny risk that the drugs will kill us?

Eam  Posted: 02/08/2007 19:01

Quote your sources please Bill and we can all check up on them. otherwise you appear like a tiger caught in a corner. I remember an RTE programme a couple of years ago on our health service. when the head pharmacist at Tallaght hospital stated that at least one wrong prescription was given out daily from that pharmacy. And that's just one pharmacy in one hospital... I'm not getting at conventional medicine, but I am concerned that people are hoodwinked into believing that drugs cure disease and that they do absolutely no harm AND that there is no alternative. Of course it should always be a case of appropriate regulation for the various categories of substances (drugs, vitamins and minerals, herbs etc.) and, most importantly 'caveat emptor'. What you seem to be suggesting is an extension of the Nanny State, where people take no personal responsibility. No way am I advocating the free availability of any substance, but products should be put on the medical prescription list only if they have a poor risk/benefit profile. You seem to think that anything other than pharmaceutical drugs are for the birds. The Irish Medicines Board used to think that about St. John's Wort until they discovered that in fact it was a very effective herb, so effective in fact that a pharmaceutical company had sought a licence for a St. John's Wort product! The pharmaceutical industry seem to be more aware than you are of the benefits accruing to using higher levels supplements and herbs. That's why they are marketing them! They don't want to lose out, so they have a foot in both camps (conventional and alternative).

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 02/08/2007 19:39

Bill, I think you were the one who started this with the line about chiropractors killing people by breaking their necks. I'm 60 years old. I've known literally hundreds of people who frequent chiropractors. I have yet to hear of one who has died at the hands of a chiropractor and I have yet to see a study indicating that chiropractors kill any significant number of people. And that does not even address the possibility that in some cases the rare person who might get their neck broken by a chiropractor might have had some pre-existing condition that even a medical doctor might not have known about. Personally, I don't visit chiropractors, I have some real doubts as to how chiropractic is practiced, etc. But to say that they are killing people is totally off the wall unless chiropractors in Ireland are far more dangerous than the ones in the rest of the world. People have every right to choose to be treated by a chiropractor if they so choose, just like they have a right to invest in a questionable investment through a major brokerage house (which people do every day). I find it just so amazing that people like you who are totally against any regulation of mainstream multinational corporations are gung ho to micro manage the lives of ordinary citizens via overreaching and intrusive government regulation.

Full Chat  Posted: 02/08/2007 20:14

I must say that it brings a little bit of a smile to my face when I hear people refer to "alternative medicine" as if it were some form of low grade, half baked codology practiced by quacks! More often than not these therapies and formulations have their foundation in nature, have been used for centuries and have formed the basis for a lot of the so called modern medicines. The notion that it is greedy people in search of profit that push the "alternative" case is rich indeed when you consider the vast profits of the largely American pharmaceutical companies......

Bill  Posted: 03/08/2007 12:10

I recently read thar St John’s Wort contraindicates with 50% of prescription drugs. There are no solid studies done on John’s Wort and most medical people are of the opinion that it offers nothing that tested drugs do not offer. So why choose an untested, unregulated and now prescribed drug when you can purchase a tested drug that is controlled and monitored and has a known dosage? The only reason is illogicality. The quasi pagan new-age belief that so called “natural” remedies are better than scientifically researched & controlled drugs. The vast majority of drugs will not harm and certainly not kill people. So even if it is true that one prescription a day was wrong (and I am very sceptical about this claim), it doesn’t equate to many deaths. In fact the biggest risk would be that the patient falls ill because he didn’t take his correct or usual drug due to the error. But then if you are daft enough to believe that drugs and doctors are the 3rd biggest killer then you shouldn’t be taken drugs in the first place. Regarding the study I mentioned Google “Adverse drug reactions as cause of admission to hospital” The JAMA published study that was referred to earlier had as its lead author someone studying for his MSc. It was a meta study of some other studies and even the authors were circumspect about their conclusions. The “nanny state” argument that society should allow fraud is absurd. Fraud is fraud. If someone sells a medicine or supplement and claims that it cures or prevents illness then they should provide proof. If they have no proof then there is no reason to believe them. George, I do not believe that you know, “hundreds of people who visit chiropractors”. Unless you are one! It is not to be expected that you would know someone who has been killed by a Chiropractor. There have only been a few documented cases. I think you are getting mixed up with the idea that if drugs were the 3rd (or main) cause of death than you would know someone. This misunderstanding of the odds that you would know someone shows a lack of knowledge of probability on your part. Full Chat’s comments are just generalisations. Most sCAM has no basis whatsoever “in nature”. Reflexology, Homeopathy, Acupuncture, Rekki etc have no basis in anything. Stop making the logical error that alternative is the good to “Big Pharma’s” bad. As I have said before. It doesn’t matter one whit that Big Pharma is good or evil as to whether sCAM works or not. There is no logical connection.

George (NIV39780)  Posted: 03/08/2007 16:57

Bill, 1) St Johns Wort ... I have nothing against REASONABLE regulation of supplements. It would not be unreasonable in my opinion for government to require that supplements include/make available a list of interactions/potential interactions with other supplements/medications. It would also not be unreasonable to require supplements to list potential side effects. It would also not be unreasonable to require that all supplements be tested by independent lab to verify/certify contents and purity. I would very much support this type of regulation. Beyond that, the consumer should not have to obtain some sort of government approval to choose to take a supplement. 2) We all know that the risks of drugs/medical treatment is overstated. But you are also overstating and exaggerating the risk on the alternative medicine side. 3) Fraud is indefensible on any level and should be prosecuted as such VIGOROUSLY. If someone makes patently false claims as to the specific effectiveness of a supplement, they should be prosecuted, not just disbelieved. But, supplement vendors should have every right to point out legitimate studies done on supplements in question. On the other hand the concept of banning supplements outright or limiting them in terms of how much a consumer may purchase literally reeks of "nanny state" mentality. You can believe what you wish, that is your privilege in a free society, but it is not appropriate for you or anyone else to try to impose your beliefs on everyone else by force of law. I have some real problems with people I consider wackos to insist on having alternative medicine completely unregulated, to the point of its being immune to fraud investigation. But I also equally have problems with those who would use police state techniques to suppress anything outside of mainstream medicine creating a quintessential nanny state. - George

Eam  Posted: 03/08/2007 19:11

Why on earth are you so defensive Bill? I am not arguing that alternative works better than conventional. They are simply different. Efficacy is not the issue here. Freedom to choose from appropriately regulated products is the issue. I agree 100% with George when he says that fraud is fraud and all fraudsters should be subjected to the full rigour of the law. There are cowboys in all camps. Quality, safety and efficacy of herbal products now has to be assured under an EU directive. These will be licensed by the IMB under this directive. All products on the market that I know of are manufactured to the internationally recognised standard of GMP. While it is true to say that in the past vitamins and minerals, herbal and homeopathic remedies were unregulated, this is not the case anymore. What we need is sensible regulation which is proportionate to the risk posed. Nothing more, nothing less.

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 06/08/2007 11:17

Bill, your faith in the testing and regulation of prescription drugs is somewhat misplaced. Most of the clinical trials are paid for by the pharmaceutical companies themselves. If you think everything is thoroughly monitored by independent scientists, you're very naive. As the well-known journalist Dr Ben Goldacre (who writes the "Bad Science" column in the Guardian) puts it: “Everybody has some kind of interest in their results; and everyone makes mistakes, perhaps - we’ll say unconsciously - more often in their own favour. So science relies on independent replication; but drug trials are so expensive, and state funding of research so miserly, that pharmaceutical research is rarely independently funded.” (www.badscience.net/?p=397)

Joe L  Posted: 08/08/2007 18:57

It is good that the supplements are properly made but note in Germany the cost of them is jacked up (i heard zinc usually 10 euros or less is up to 60 eoros or more). Check the price of melatonin in Ireland, after a search to find a pharmacist who knew the rules it was 200 euros a bottle (in the US it is $10 or less and the Yanks die from too many burgers not melatonin) So what will it cost for the average person to get a supplement - doctor visit & a far higher cost.

Eam  Posted: 09/08/2007 12:32

You are so right Joe L - that removing something from open sale increases the price people have to pay. Just take St. John's Wort as an example. Where it used to be available at around €10, it shot up in price once it was made available on prescription only. No competition for pharmacies! Perhaps the price charged by that pharmacy for melatonin includes built-in insurance for legal costs... To the best of my knowledge it is banned throughout Europe and shouldn't even be available on prescription. (Correct me if I'm wrong). That's not to make any judgement as to its safety one way or the other incidentally.

Joe L  Posted: 12/08/2007 19:27

Clearly some people think taking supplements is nonsense but I take supplements for some very good reasons including, getting over jet lag, keeping me healthy & dissolving my kidney stones. Actually when my brother went for an operation last year to surgically remove his kidney stones he got a very bad infection in the hospital and was on the last chance antibiotic which did work and save him – but next time he may not be so lucky so we can add him to the hospital death list. My herb to dissolve the stones is cheap, grown in S America & I am sure the EU & IMB will be happy to ban it once they know about it. Interesting this whole situation reminds me of the good old days in Ireland when contraceptives & girly mags were banned but this did not stop the smart people with some money getting them (OK you did not have to be too smart to get the girly mags). Of course I am showing my age (in my 50s) here and indeed this is very relevant as other supplements (B esp.) keep me alert & energetic which is very important as I work in high tech with constant learning & change and travel to the US regularly. I compete with people less than half my age & actually have more energy than many of them – they do not mind us old folks as long as we can keep up. Also working for myself to lose the wrong day to sickness will cost me big money. So I already buy much of what I & my family need in the US & will of course continue to do so. Is this fair to the people without my means, I would say not and also hope they can buy what they need. Joe

John (johnwilliams)  Posted: 12/08/2007 20:35

For those who are interested there is very good programme starting on Channel 4 on Monday 13th August at 8pm by Richard Dawkins in which he exposes the superstitions surrounding 'alternative medicines'.

Bill  Posted: 13/08/2007 13:08

There are several ways to help relieve jet lag but taking drugs would be the last thing I would do. Avoid alcohol. Drink lots. You get dehydrated on planes. With very few exceptions, supplements do NOT "keep you healthy". Tell us which supplement gets rid of your kidney stones and whether you have been diagnosed or had treatment for kidney stones. There is no comparison between banning girly mags and banning fake medicine. The girly mag was an issue to do with freedom of expression, religion (and freedom from the religious edicts that link sex to sin) and censorship. The issue with banning supplements is more similar to banning unqualified doctors from practicing medicine or advertisers making fraudulent claims or someone selling fake football match tickets. Your "energy" doesn't come from supplements, it comes from food. Eating supplements doesn't make those over 50 "have more energy". Nor are there supplements that make your brain work better than a young person. There are foodstuffs that you can avoid that affect over 50's more than youngsters such as alcohol or coffee etc. Older people may need more exercise and even a little snooze in the afternoon. I would be interested to get a list of what supplements and "active foods" (such as Actimel) Joe L consumes.

Eam  Posted: 14/08/2007 22:16

Closed minds and cynicism are the real enemy here. Nutrients are essential for life, so you can't argue against the need for them. We all know that too much of anything can be bad for you - water, alcohol, vitamin A, sex. Guess which of these is most tightly regulated in Ireland? Vitamin A! We have had regulation of nutrients in this country for donkeys years, so why on earth does the EU have to step in and regulate for the whole of Europe as one? Simply to level the commercial playing pitch for the pharmaceutical companies who produce 90% of food supplements sold on the European market. The remaining 10% are manufactured by the small innovative companies who operate at the cutting edge of nutritional science. The Food Supplements Directive is iniquitous because it is all about facilitating big business. Safety concerns are simply a red herring in this debate.

Joe L  Posted: 15/08/2007 01:22

Well Bill, For the kidney stones I take chanca piedra - I have to feel the pain coming on as it takes 2 to 3 days to work. Check with anyone, diagnosis is very easy - severe pain, stones confirmed by ultra-sound & once out the pain goes away. So as soon as the EU knows they can add to banned list (well maybe on the list already). Yes, if you take too much it may be bad, Yes, it may interact with drugs - so what, it works for me. By taking it I save myself & the hospitals a lot of money. Also the little money I pay for chanca piedra goes to the poor farmers of S America (or some of it I hope) they do not have the millions to test it & patent it (well cannot patent it anyway it is a plant well know for years) In the past a higher power (the Church) banned what they did not like (movies, books, etc.) on the basis they would harm some people (or people were not mature enough to have them) now we have a higher power (the EU) banning what they do not like as some people may not be mature enough to handle them, but most people are. Yes if I have a bad infection, crash or bitten by a dog I will go as fast as possible to the doctors & regular medicine. So banning stuff because some is fake or some people are not mature enough to have it very similar to the past. Re energy it is mostly mental energy I need and for that I take fish & flax oils, C 500mg or more & a good B complex (100mg or more)

Joe (joet61)  Posted: 15/08/2007 14:12

Recent reports suggest that up to 6% of people in the UK suffer from serious vitamin and mineral deficiencies. The British Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition estimates that malnutrition costs the NHS more than 10 billion Euro per year [note: billion, not million]. Virtually all that malnutrition (and suffering) can be prevented by vitamin and mineral supplements, which don't need to be prescribed. But the medical establishment and the European Commission, apparently representing the interests of Big Pharma, want to restrict availability of those supplements. The whole situation is ludicrous. Also ludicrous are the suggestions that vitamin and mineral supplements are dangerous. The scientific evidence tells us that it is prescription drugs that are dangerous, not supplements.

Bill  Posted: 16/08/2007 10:35

Eam, I do not have a "closed mind". That statement is without any evidence. That I know people are being conned when they buy most supplements and pay for alternative medicine does not make my mind closed. I would claim that I have a far more open mind then most people. For example. I was brought up in holy catholic Ireland in the 70’s but was one of the first to shake off the brainwashing that went with that. I was the first pupil in my school ever to stop studying Latin. I would boast that lateral thinking is one of my strengths. Do not fool yourself into thinking that those that do not believe in magic have closed minds. The three letters from the 14th and 15th of August all contain many logical errors. That "nutrients are essential for life" does not in any way whatsoever validate supplements. Taking extra supplements does not mean that any benefit will accrue. That is not the way the body works. Your car will drive exactly the same whether there is the correct amount of oil or 10% extra. Filling your tank will not make your car go faster than half filling it (actually the full tank weighs more and might actually slow down the car a bit). Dosage is most important. It is well known and established that taking the correct amount of medicine is all that is necessary. Taking say twice as much does not help in the slightest. Extra nutrients are simply shed by the body and not used. That is a fact. A recently published 10 year study of 8,000 women states that antioxidants have no effect on heart disease or strokes. This claim has been the basis for many vitamin supplements, particularly vitamin A. There is no connection between the regulation of sex, alcohol, car tax and Vitamin A. A very common logical error people make is to try and connect unconnected things. Religious preachers do it all the time when the use analogies. Utterly useless for proving anything. Your so called "innovative nutritional companies" are just con artists. When does a small innovative nutritional company become "Big Pharma"? Is it turnover related? Would you not agree that the reason many companies are very big is that they are successful and more efficient? The myth about Big Pharma is put about by those that wish to deceive you and sell you self prescribed junk. In your case they have obviously succeeded. What evidence have you that the new regulations are being put forward by Big Pharma? Do you not see the contradiction between claiming that Big Pharma makes 90% of the supplements and that they are behind their suppression?

Joe L  Posted: 16/08/2007 18:42

Where does big pharma fit in this, actually the EU directive is a child of a motion put into Codex Alimentaris (see Bill, Latin is useful after all) on Oct 1996. Codex met in Bonn, Germany to make radical changes in the rules governing dietary supplements for member nations. The proposals of greatest concern were those made by the German delegations, which is sponsored by Hoechst, Bayer and BASF. (These are the three drug companies formed when the Nuremberg War Trials disbanded IG Farben) These rules are passed in Germany, Denmark, Norway & Australia but there is very strong opposition from the US (citizens not US big pharma) so this EU directive as least gets some of the world for them. Just search Codex Alimentaris vitamins and you will see. Re profit check the price of supplements in Germany or Norway

Anonymous  Posted: 16/08/2007 21:04

Bill, Anyone with a closed mind is not capable of realising just how closed their mind is. That is you unfortunately. You might think you were one of the first to shake of the shackles of the RC brainwashing but sorry to say, so did a large majority of your fellow teenagers including myself and all my friends. Secondly, you cannot expect anyone to think you are exactly open minded by refusing to study latin?? Latin has been a wonderful help to me in my medical studies. Do you honestly believe that legislating to prevent people from buying vitamins is a good thing? Especially in a country where there is no such legislation for alcohol for example. If you don't see as clear as the nose on your face, what the pharmaceutical companies are doing here, then you really need to sit yourself down and review that 'open mind' . I'm certainly not criticising you. All I am doing is trying to point out that you are not as open minded as you think you are. you are just being subjected to a different kind of brainwashing.

Bill  Posted: 17/08/2007 13:33

How would Latin come in useful in connection with the Codex? Are you suggesting that I should have studied Latin for 6 years to “understand” the phrase Codex Alimentaris? I never intended becoming a doctor so Anon’s point about learning Latin only applies to less than 1% of the population. Learning anything has some benefit. The question is whether or not learning a dead language is worth the effort for everyone. Clearly not, as virtually everyone followed my example and gave it up. Was it not open minded of me to oppose what I decided was a waste of time? Most of my class just went along with the status quo. This, “you don’t have an open mind if you don’t believe in hocus pocus”, is a common illogical argument used by purveyors of quackery and that is why I am challenging it. An open mind and the belief in fraud are not connected. I would state that a balanced and skeptical mind is far safer than a gullible mind that believes the sales promotion nonsense of sCAM artists. I have an open mind, prove that sCAM works and I will accept it. I can prove most sCAM cannot work. An open mind does not mean accepting what is clearly nonsense. The only reason most people buy Homeopathy is that they know nothing about it. Most people I have spoken to think it's related to herbal medicine, which it isn’t. Most are astonished to learn that it is illegal unless it does NOT contain an active ingredient. Google any supplement or herbal remedy and most of the websites that you will hit are selling it. Does that not make you suspicious? I have shown in two examples I have an open mind and can think for myself. What evidence have you that I do not?

Bill  Posted: 17/08/2007 15:31

I would like to tackle this claim. “The proposals of greatest concern were those made by the German delegations, which is sponsored by Hoechst, Bayer and BASF.” (the “concern” presumably is amongst those who sell junk supplements at their scam being outlawed.) (The link with WWII is pathetic or do you believe that anyone who drives a VW is a Nazi?) Who was this German delegation? Was it a delegation from German Pharmaceutical companies? If so naturally it was sponsored by themselves.

Joe L  Posted: 21/08/2007 15:16

I agree Bill let's leave the Germany past behind but ironically Germany actually has a very strong tradition of aternative medicine where there are are many clinics. Look up HUFELAND CLINIC and while they say you should use chemicals etc.for some problems chemicals does not always work. I think in this day of easy access to information Irish people & others should be aware of these German clinics. In fact many Americans go to these clinics. If these clinics were worthless they would have been shut down by the German gov. a long time ago. O