Dianthus Medical Blog Archive

Index of Pseudoscience

In the pay of Big Pharma

Anyone who has ever been involved in any online discussion of quack alternative medicine will no doubt be familiar with the "pharma shill gambit". It's a favourite debating technique of supporters of various forms of quackery, pseudoscentific alternative medicine, and woo. When a supporter of homeopathy or whatever has the facts pointed out to them, they respond by saying that the other person is obviously being paid to say that by Big Pharma.

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The festive season is upon us, and no doubt many of us are looking forward to celebrating with a drink or two. I certainly am.

I thought, then, that this might be a suitable time to write a few words about Alcopal. According to its manufacturers, "Alcopal tablets guarantee to improve impairments caused by consuming alcohol".

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WDDTY and Tesco's corporate irresponsibility

I’ve written before about the magazine “What Doctors Don’t Tell You”, but just to refresh your memory, it is a dreadful pile of nonsense, carrying dangerously misleading health advice. It includes such gems as suggesting vitamin C can cure AIDS or that homeopathy can cure cancer. If you want to know more about just how outrageously irresponsible the magazine is, you might want to visit http://wwddtydty.com or look at Josephine Jones’s impressive list of links.

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More evidence of Burzynski's dishonesty

I've been following the story of Stanislaw Burzynski, fake cancer doctor and proven fraudster, for a couple of years now. Regular readers of this blog may recall that I've written about him on more than one occasion before. However, I've just spotted something new about the dodgy way in which he disseminates his research findings. I'm surprised I hadn't spotted this one before, but in case you haven't either, then I'm going to share it with you.

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Polypill update

I wrote a few weeks ago about a website that was promoting an unlicensed medicine, the Polypill, and also about the serious conflict of interest of the doctors paid to prescribe it (yes, doctors who are openly paid to prescribe a specific pharmaceutical company's product: just think about that for a moment). I also recorded a piece about it for the Pod Delusion, along with the the wonderful @sparklewildfire, which you can listen to here if you're so inclined.

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Homeopathy for asthma

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about well-meaning but misleading information from Asthma UK on complementary and alternative treatments for asthma. This was prompted by a flurry of activity on Twitter about Asthma UK's website, as a result of which Asthma UK said they would review the information they provide on homeopathy for asthma. However, as I write this, their information remains uncorrected.

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Complementary and alternative investments

Many people with money to invest are interested in trying schemes that may help their money grow rather than just relying on conventional financial advice.

Investment schemes such as boiler-room investments, Ponzi schemes, online gambling, land banking, and Nigerian 419 schemes are usually referred to as complementary investments.

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The Polypill doctors' conflict of interest

I wrote yesterday about a website marketing an unlicensed medicine to the general public. I've had another thought about it since then, but first I would like to direct you to another excellent blogpost on the Polypill by Anthony Cox, an academic pharmacist who understands more about the legal implications of selling unlicensed medicines than I do. You should go and read it now. I'll wait.

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The Polypill: conventional medicine or quackery?

Simvastatin, hydrochlorothiazide, losartan, and amlodipine. If asked to classify those things as either "conventional medicine" or "quackery", most people would doubtless choose the former.

However, everything depends on context.

A combination of those 4 drugs is currently being marketed as a "Polypill". The idea is that the combination of drugs helps to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, which in turn reduces the risk of heart attack or stroke. Now, the idea of using drugs to reduce blood pressure or cholesterol and hence reduce cardiovascular risk is nothing new, and is undoubtedly a well established part of conventional medicine, with an impressive evidence base to back it up.

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A challenge to the Society of Homeopaths

Vaccination is much in the news at the moment, given that low vaccination rates a few years ago have now led to a serious measles outbreak in south Wales. This is serious. About 60 children have so far been hospitalised, and if the outbreak continues, then it is quite possible that someone will die.

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