We have a lot to cover today, but first things first: the Big Question. If you'll cast your memory way back (thanks, Van) you'll remember that a good question to ask altmed followers is the one of abandonment: what would it take for them to abandon a modality? Well, the answers are in, and the one's who answered just didn't get it. For example:
[T]he question was: "Can you please give specific examples of alternative medicine theories and modalities that have been abandoned because they have been found to be ineffective?"
The short and honest answer to this is no-- I cant. But my reason is that the only area I focus in is natural herbal remedies... I dont concern myself with homeopathy, or acupuncture, etc. I have a science background and use it to research the pharmacology of these products and I handpick a few that can be of some value...
Yeah. OK. Right. So, what you're saying is, "well, the question doesn't apply to me because I only look at practices that work."
Science: you're doing it wrong.
You see, first you come up with a hypothesis, then you test it, then you look at the data to see if your hypothesis holds up. The other (incorrect) alternatives are: 1) look into something that's already settled, for example hypothesize that the earth revolves around the sun, and test it. Not very interesting; or 2) claim to be immune from that fancy science-y stuff. This commenter chose the former. If you want to see what a real scientist who studies pharmacognosy does, go over to TerraSig.
The fact is, many "natural" substances have been tested for clinical value---some have been found to be useful, many not. You cannot investigate "herbs" and find them ALL to work. No one is that good.
OK, moving on...
As my readers know, I hate the Huffington Post's "science and health" reporting. The main reason is that they approach health and science the same way they approach politics: ideologically. I have no problem with people holding particular political ideologies. My medical partners and I have very different political views, but we all practice the same science-base medicine, and that's what unites us (that, and our daily kumbaya sessions). But science in service of ideology is always problematic.
I'm not sure what HuffPo's underlying scientific ideology actually is but it appears to be a sort of post-modernist, "other ways of knowing" kind of thing. Be that as it may, delivering bad health information to the public does everyone a terrible disservice.
For example, their resident village idiot, Kim Evans, took a shot at swine flu today. I am not amused. This is a very serious public health issue, both because it is a potentially serious public health problem, and because crises often bring out the worst in people. In the case of a potential pandemic, people will tend to panic and do stupid things (and be encouraged in this by idiots with or without agendas) and people will try to sell you things you don't need.
I'm sure it will only be a matter of hours before horribly overpriced "flu kits" hit the market, offering masks, potions and what-not. So in times like this it's important to be vigilant against charlatans.
Now, the CDC has actually been doing a rather good job so far on this. They are being open, giving lots of information to the public and health care providers, and putting boots on the ground. But people who want your money and ideological loyalty will explain how the CDC, FDA, Pharma, etc. are somehow out to get you. They will say that this is all a big plot to vaccinate you, sell you Tamiflu, or whatever. But if you look just under the surface of these paranoid rants you will find two things: a sales pitch, and and absence of an alternative.
So back to the immoral rantings of Kim Evans. Immoral? What's that you say?
Yes, immoral. This is a time when the public needs good information, and HuffPo and Evans are failing spectacularly. She is ramping up the fear by recommending that people stay home and start wearing facemasks if forced to go out. This is not a current official recommendation because there is no indication that this would in any way be helpful. Current recommendations are to use masks in places like waiting rooms and ERs when people have suspicious symptoms. This kind of targeting makes sense. But after the burning, fear-mongering stupid, she turns the idiocy up to "11".
The above is all pretty basic stuff, I'm going to offer more as well. But before I do, you should know that I'm a huge proponent of body cleansing, or removing the accumulated waste that most people have stored in their bodies. I've been a fan for years and have seen cleansing work miracles in myself and others, but in circumstances like this, I believe deep cleansing could actually save your life.
Oh, Kim, oh Great Seller of Enemas, I hope you have a good explanation for this one.
...you should know that I'm a huge proponent of body cleansing, or removing the accumulated waste that most people have stored in their bodies. I've been a fan for years and have seen cleansing work miracles in myself and others, but in circumstances like this, I believe deep cleansing could actually save your life...
[...skipping bizarre analogy to save your neurons...]
...many people have found that disease disappears when this waste is gone, and that when the body is clean it's much more difficult for new problems, like viruses, to take hold in the first place. And it's my understanding that many people who took regular enemas instead of vaccines during the 1918 pandemic made it out on the other side as well.
She then goes on to explain why her colon cleanse is better than the competition. In other words, this immoral sack of shit is using the current health crisis to con you into buying something you don't need.
She should be deeply ashamed.
But of course, she has no shame.