Here we go - Tom Harkin is trying to get quack therapies

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BWV 1080
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Here we go - Tom Harkin is trying to get quack therapies

Post by BWV 1080 » Fri Jul 24, 2009 12:50 pm

covered in the National Health Plan

as I have said before, interest groups in Britain have managed to get homeopaths and chiropractors subsidized by public tax dollars
Senators seek coverage for alternative therapies
By Michael Kranish
Globe Staff / July 24, 2009
Email|Print|Reprints|Yahoo! Buzz|ShareThis Text size – +
WASHINGTON - Naturopathic doctors, herbal healers, mind-body specialists, and acupuncturists often have been scorned by the US medical establishment, but growing numbers of Americans are seeking such care, and now an influential group of US senators believes the time has come to embrace an array of alternative therapies.

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Senator Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat who is a longtime supporter of nontraditional medicine, is at the forefront of the effort to win insurance coverage for such providers as part of national healthcare legislation.

“It’s time to end the discrimination against alternative healthcare practices,’’ Harkin said at a congressional hearing.

Harkin is the cosponsor of an amendment that says healthcare plans will not be allowed to “discriminate’’ against any healthcare provider who has a license issued by a state, an amendment Senate aides said was designed to provide coverage for alternative medicine. Backers of the amendment say it could save tens of billions of dollars in the long run by providing less expensive and better alternatives to drugs and surgery in a variety of cases. The amendment was adopted by a Senate committee writing health legislation, but details are still being negotiated.

With hundreds of disciplines falling under the general category of alternative medicine, and with a variety of sometimes-conflicting studies about their effectiveness, there is much disagreement about the value of including such providers in a national health insurance program.

State by state, there is a wide disparity of coverage of alternative medicine. For example, Massachusetts licenses acupuncturists, and many health insurance plans cover the service, but most do so only on a limited basis, by restricting the number of visits or the dollar amount of coverage.

Forty-four states license acupuncturists. Fifteen states, not including Massachusetts, license naturopathic physicians, who use natural remedies in their treatment.

Many practioners of alternative medicine say mainstream caregivers don’t want the competition.

But the American Medical Association says there is little evidence to confirm the safety or efficacy of most alternative practices. “Much of the information currently known about these therapies makes it clear that many have not been shown to be efficacious,’’ the association said in a policy statement. The association denies that it is trying to stifle competition and says it is only trying to ensure that medicine is based on science.

Dr. Harriet Hall, a retired Air Force flight surgeon who examines medical claims for Skeptic magazine, said she worries that ill-informed members of Congress will elevate practitioners of alternative medicine to the same level as medical doctors.

If it were shown to be truly effective, it would be part of regular medicine,’’ she said.
http://www.boston.com/news/health/artic ... therapies/

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Re: Here we go - Tom Harkin is trying to get quack therapies

Post by Corlyss_D » Fri Jul 24, 2009 4:07 pm

Dr. Harriet Hall wrote:If it were shown to be truly effective, it would be part of regular medicine,’’ she said.
:lol: Right. "Regular medicine" has lagged behind innovative therapies so often, no wonder people think of their skepticism as a "rice bowl" issue. Their job security depends on their gate-keeper function. (Pace, Teresa) A very illustrtive example of that is the continued resistence to h.pylori as the cause of ulcers. As of a couple of years ago, a shocking number of allopaths still don't test for h.pylori in ulcer patients. Some openly reject the evidence on the pesky bacteria as a cause of many ulcers. I have used osteopaths for most of my adult life and I swear by spinal manipulation's effectivity; now that I live in Utah, I rely on a both an acupuncturist and chiropractor. I'm not stupid enough deny the benefit I get from such treatment because some true-believers would ban both as quakery.
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Re: Here we go - Tom Harkin is trying to get quack therapies

Post by Chosen Barley » Fri Jul 24, 2009 4:36 pm

A couple of decades ago, or maybe a little more, the Office of Technology Assessment (an arm of Congress) found that the majority of treatments (I think it was 70-something per cent) used by MDs regularly, and taken for granted by everybody and his dog, had no scientific basis whatsoever. That is, these treatments had never been subjected to the double-blind and other demanding "proofs" that hidebound folks (hey, I'm not mentioning names) demand non-orthodox methods be subjected to.

But whatever cures you use, it would first be a good idea to decide what you mean by "cure" in the first place. From my point of view, any treatment of chronic or serious illness should improve overall health, not just remove the bothersome or worrisome symptoms. If all you want is a temporary cessation of symptoms, I don't give a hoot, it's your life, but please understand that all you are doing is driving your disease deeper with your cut, burn 'n' poison routine.
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Re: Here we go - Tom Harkin is trying to get quack therapies

Post by BWV 1080 » Fri Jul 24, 2009 4:51 pm

If you all want to rely on anecdote and feelings rather than science for your medical treatment, go right ahead. Just don't expect the rest of us to pay for it

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Re: Here we go - Tom Harkin is trying to get quack therapies

Post by Chosen Barley » Fri Jul 24, 2009 8:03 pm

BWV 1080 wrote:If you all want to rely on anecdote and feelings rather than science for your medical treatment, go right ahead. Just don't expect the rest of us to pay for it
Nothing wrong with observing people who have gone for regular orthodox treatment getting hooked on drugs, or their symptoms return, and then making one's own decisions.

"Science"? Ha ha ha! The scientists of the 1930s gave the doctor who invented lobotomy as a cure for neurosis a Nobel Prize. Look it up.

We should all pay for our own damn medical treatment, regardless if it comes from an illiterate old crone, or a whole passel of guys at the Mayo. Freedom and all that. Instead of paying directly for poor folks to access the dubious advantages of cut-burn-poison style medicine, with no choice in the matter, I say let the government just pay their insurance fees and let them go to whatever doctor (or crone) they prefer.
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Re: Here we go - Tom Harkin is trying to get quack therapies

Post by Werner » Fri Jul 24, 2009 8:06 pm

One of my (our) closest friends and one of the finest personal and professional people I've known was an orthopedic surgeon, highly up on the state of the art in his field. If you got him started on chiropractic versus medicine, you'd get a thorough picture of his disapproval and disdain.

Our friend has been dead for thirty-four years now, and we have seen certain aspects of chiropractic, homeopaty, and acupuncture accepted as valid treatments. I'm not a physician, but besides Corlyss' experience with these treatments I've read that they do have some acceptance as valued treatments in some institutions.

The word "quackery" keeps flying around, and there surely is a lot of it - but if there is to be an objective evaluation of constituents of health care, it should probably include sorting out what is and what is not considered effective treatment. I believe that other countries that have functioning and effective health care schemes do not exclude some alternative treatment.
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Re: Here we go - Tom Harkin is trying to get quack therapies

Post by BWV 1080 » Fri Jul 24, 2009 10:01 pm

Werner wrote:One of my (our) closest friends and one of the finest personal and professional people I've known was an orthopedic surgeon, highly up on the state of the art in his field. If you got him started on chiropractic versus medicine, you'd get a thorough picture of his disapproval and disdain.

Our friend has been dead for thirty-four years now, and we have seen certain aspects of chiropractic, homeopaty, and acupuncture accepted as valid treatments. I'm not a physician, but besides Corlyss' experience with these treatments I've read that they do have some acceptance as valued treatments in some institutions.

The word "quackery" keeps flying around, and there surely is a lot of it - but if there is to be an objective evaluation of constituents of health care, it should probably include sorting out what is and what is not considered effective treatment. I believe that other countries that have functioning and effective health care schemes do not exclude some alternative treatment.
so tell me one instance where homeopathy has been accepted as a "valid treatment" and why water should have any medicinal value

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Re: Here we go - Tom Harkin is trying to get quack therapies

Post by Chosen Barley » Fri Jul 24, 2009 10:08 pm

BWV 1080 wrote: so tell me one instance where homeopathy has been accepted as a "valid treatment" and why water should have any medicinal value
Homeopathy in my experience is pretty useless. But others claim to have benefited from it. So let people go to homeopaths if they want. At least it doesn't do any harm, which you can't claim for standard MD medical practice, which has badly hurt so many people I know. Just let everyone go to hell in his own way, okay?
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Re: Here we go - Tom Harkin is trying to get quack therapies

Post by BWV 1080 » Fri Jul 24, 2009 10:39 pm

Chosen Barley wrote:
BWV 1080 wrote: so tell me one instance where homeopathy has been accepted as a "valid treatment" and why water should have any medicinal value
Homeopathy in my experience is pretty useless. But others claim to have benefited from it. So let people go to homeopaths if they want. At least it doesn't do any harm, which you can't claim for standard MD medical practice, which has badly hurt so many people I know. Just let everyone go to hell in his own way, okay?
You are right, lets value feel-good anecdotes over empirical evidence. After all, public health and life expectancies in the past when all people had was "alternative" medicine can't have been that much worse than modern scientific medicine has provides us today.

Lets refrain from criticizing practices which make other people feel good, but by all means vigorously attack anything that actually has scientific evidence as to its efficacy.

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Re: Here we go - Tom Harkin is trying to get quack therapies

Post by Werner » Fri Jul 24, 2009 11:30 pm

I'm no expert on homeopathy and have no opinion on whether it's good or not, except to remember a 96 year old cousin in London who swears by her homepath - she seems to get some definite help from him - on the other hand, I'm not sure whether that's not possibly what we'd call a chiropractor here. But then, look at Corlyss' experience with chiropractors and osteopaths over a long time. Her experience has been positive, and there are more such cases - not just a few. So if you want to get a compregensive picture of health care options, I don't see how you can exclude that.

But the thing i really want to come down on emphatically is Chosen Barley's unsupported claim of harm done by the medical profession. That's worse than silly. You are talking about professionals who have devoted their lives to curing ills - not everyone they see, nobody is successful in every case, but this sort of claim is unjustified and dangerous. And if there are indeed a few incompetent doctors, that's no indictment of the profession.

Let me tell you a little story of my own. I've led a fairly unspectacular life in every way and have had no particular health problems over time. One thing I used to do regularly, and that Donald is continuing to do, is to donate blood, which is an easy and non-burdening way to accomplish a lot of good.

One day they checked me over in geting ready for another pint of the good stuff but turned me down because they found my blood pressure high. Three more tries with the same result. That was a hint, and I took it by going to my doctor, who confirmed the finding and put me on a regime of medication.

For twenty-six years, going through three primary care docs, I've been on the same regime with occasional revisions, and here I am, eighty-seven years old, no longer in shape fr the more strenuous activities but functional and in reasonable shape and spirits.

The contrasts: my father died at fifty-eight, my brother at sixty, and my mother at seventy-one. I'm sure that in each of their cases, blood pressure control played no part in their lives, and they all died of one circulatory problem or another.
Last edited by Werner on Sat Jul 25, 2009 11:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Here we go - Tom Harkin is trying to get quack therapies

Post by Corlyss_D » Sat Jul 25, 2009 2:25 am

BWV 1080 wrote:After all, public health and life expectancies in the past when all people had was "alternative" medicine can't have been that much worse than modern scientific medicine has provides us today.
Well, there's a useless observation. Modern medicine alone does not account for lengthening life expectancies and you'd be hard pressed to prove it does.
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Re: Here we go - Tom Harkin is trying to get quack therapies

Post by RebLem » Sat Jul 25, 2009 5:14 am

BWV 1080 wrote:covered in the National Health Plan
WASHINGTON - Naturopathic doctors, herbal healers, mind-body specialists, and acupuncturists often have been scorned by the US medical establishment, but growing numbers of Americans are seeking such care, and now an influential group of US senators believes the time has come to embrace an array of alternative therapies.
http://www.boston.com/news/health/artic ... _therapies
I object to the lumping together of all these thereapies. Homeopathy, naturopathy, herbal healers ARE quacks. Chiropractic is a bit different. Chiropractors do do a lot of good, but they make expansive claims for their approach that are simply not justified, and they recommend spinal manipulation as exclusive treatments for virtually all disease, which is nonsensical and dangerous. In its place, its a valuable tool, but it is not the be all and end all that chiropractic claims. And if there is still anyone who claims acupuncture is quackery, then you can pretty much be assured he is the quack, not the acupuncturist. Same with osteopaths, who are now universally recognized as the medical equivalent of MDs.
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Re: Here we go - Tom Harkin is trying to get quack therapies

Post by BWV 1080 » Sat Jul 25, 2009 10:08 am

RebLem wrote:
BWV 1080 wrote:covered in the National Health Plan
WASHINGTON - Naturopathic doctors, herbal healers, mind-body specialists, and acupuncturists often have been scorned by the US medical establishment, but growing numbers of Americans are seeking such care, and now an influential group of US senators believes the time has come to embrace an array of alternative therapies.
http://www.boston.com/news/health/artic ... _therapies
I object to the lumping together of all these thereapies. Homeopathy, naturopathy, herbal healers ARE quacks. Chiropractic is a bit different. Chiropractors do do a lot of good, but they make expansive claims for their approach that are simply not justified, and they recommend spinal manipulation as exclusive treatments for virtually all disease, which is nonsensical and dangerous. In its place, its a valuable tool, but it is not the be all and end all that chiropractic claims. And if there is still anyone who claims acupuncture is quackery, then you can pretty much be assured he is the quack, not the acupuncturist. Same with osteopaths, who are now universally recognized as the medical equivalent of MDs.

Osteopaths are doctors like optometrists are doctors

take away the pseudoscience from either chiropractic or osteopathy and you are left with a masseuse

as to acupuncture, recent double-blind study showed no difference between a group of patients given "real" acupuncture and a control group given "fake" acupuntcure (just pricking them with needles but paying no attention to the "correct" points:
In a 2004 study of 570 people with osteoarthritis, the average WOMAC pain score for those receiving acupuncture had declined 40% after 14 weeks; for sham acupuncture, it was 30 percent; for those receiving only education about their condition, it was 22 percent.[60]
A controlled study of 300 migraine patients, reported in 2005, found that both needling at non-acupuncture sites and real acupuncture resulted in improvements compared with patients on a waiting list, with no significant difference in benefit between the two groups.[61]
A study by Ted Kaptchuk et al., of 270 participants with arm pain, reported in 2006, showed that sham acupuncture exerted a stronger effect on pain than an inert pill did, and concluded: "Placebo effects seem to be malleable and depend on the behaviours embedded in medical rituals."[62]
In a Mayo Clinic study, 103 postmenopausal women between the ages of 45 and 59 who reported that they had at least five hot flashes per day and were not using any other treatments for them were recruited. Half were randomly assigned to receive a series of standardized acupuncture treatments. For those receiving real acupuncture, the needles were placed at the same spots in the arms, legs and lower belly and the other half received sham treatments in which needles were placed superficially near the same locations but away from so-called pressure points. The researchers knew who was receiving sham treatment, but the women did not. By the end of the six weeks, there was no difference between the groups. 61 percent of the sham group were still experiencing hot flashes, while 62 percent of the women who got actual acupuncture still reported having hot flashes as well.[63]
An analysis of 13 studies of pain treatment with acupuncture, published in January 2009 in the journal BMJ, concluded there was little difference in the effect of real, sham and no acupuncture.[60][64]
In study done by H. H. Moffet, acupuncture was determined to be more than just a placebo effect, but sham acupuncture was also considered not to be just a placebo effect. "Thus, the traditional theories that describe specific points and stimulation techniques to differentiate ‘‘true’’ from ‘‘sham’’ are unreliable and yield null outcomes, that is, do not result in different outcomes."[65]

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Re: Here we go - Tom Harkin is trying to get quack therapies

Post by BWV 1080 » Sat Jul 25, 2009 10:17 am

Corlyss_D wrote:
BWV 1080 wrote:After all, public health and life expectancies in the past when all people had was "alternative" medicine can't have been that much worse than modern scientific medicine has provides us today.
Well, there's a useless observation. Modern medicine alone does not account for lengthening life expectancies and you'd be hard pressed to prove it does.
Ok so name one public health advance in the 20th century due to alternative, rather than modern scientific medicine

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Re: Here we go - Tom Harkin is trying to get quack therapies

Post by Werner » Sat Jul 25, 2009 11:24 am

Steve, your answer to Corlyss is spot-on. But I must disagree with your view on osteopathy.

My own primary care physician is not, as it happens, an MD but a DO - Doctor of Osteopathy. He's been my primary care man for many years, after i deliberately left an MD for him. And he's Donald's primary care doc as well as my wife Charlotte's, who has spent her career, starting as an RN, and subsequently in various areas of health care journalism. Her judgment in this area I trust completely.

This man, as devoted to his profession as anyone I've met, is one of several DOs active in our excellent community hospital. They all run full-scale medical practices and are board certified in various specialties. I hear about one or the other from time to time but naturally know mine best. I can see no reason why I'd leave him.
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Re: Here we go - Tom Harkin is trying to get quack therapies

Post by Chosen Barley » Sat Jul 25, 2009 10:25 pm

BWV 1080 wrote:
as to acupuncture, recent double-blind study showed no difference between a group of patients given "real" acupuncture and a control group given "fake" acupuntcure (just pricking them with needles but paying no attention to the "correct" points:
So 'alternative' doctors (i.e., quacks) can produce cures thru the placebo effect - that is wonderful! Nothing wrong with that. Why can't MDs do the same?

Who cares? I sure don't. That the patient is satisfied is what counts. I wouldn't give a hoot if my turntable goes 33-1/3 RPM by an expensive motor or a squirrel on a treadmill. So if Werner is happy taking drugs for decades, to deal with his High Blood Pressure, that is no business of mine. It is my business, though, when my family members have been damaged by the depredations of MDs who have no capacity to admit their standard procedures caused harm when milder alternatives would have done the trick.
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Re: Here we go - Tom Harkin is trying to get quack therapies

Post by RebLem » Sat Jul 25, 2009 11:08 pm

Werner wrote:Steve, your answer to Corlyss is spot-on. But I must disagree with your view on osteopathy.

My own primary care physician is not, as it happens, an MD but a DO - Doctor of Osteopathy. He's been my primary care man for many years, after i deliberately left an MD for him. And he's Donald's primary care doc as well as my wife Charlotte's, who has spent her career, starting as an RN, and subsequently in various areas of health care journalism. Her judgment in this area I trust completely.

This man, as devoted to his profession as anyone I've met, is one of several DOs active in our excellent community hospital. They all run full-scale medical practices and are board certified in various specialties. I hear about one or the other from time to time but naturally know mine best. I can see no reason why I'd leave him.
Many HMOs have DOs and MDs working side by side as equals, too.

As for acupuncture, it can't be just psychological because it works on cats and dogs, too. And my own father contracted gout in a shoulder in the early 1980's, and got put on all kinds of pain meds by his MD, serially, but none of them worked; he often woke up screaming from pain in the middle of the night as he shifted position, causing pain. Finally, his doctor told him that he had an acupuncturist coming in to his office once a week for about three hours and he might want to try him. My father said yes. He went in for one treatment and felt better. Then the acupuncturist said he could afford to give treatments less expensively if my father came to his office in Chicago instead of the doc's office in Elmhurst, so my father went in and had two or three more treatments. It completely cured him of all pain for aboutg 10 years. After that, my father told me, he started to feel just a bit of dull pain every now and then, but nothing like what it had been before, and not bad enough for him to seek any treatment for it, from an acupuncturist or anyone else.
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Re: Here we go - Tom Harkin is trying to get quack therapies

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Jul 26, 2009 6:37 am

RebLem wrote: As for acupuncture, it can't be just psychological because it works on cats and dogs, too.
I just know I'm going to be sorry I asked....

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Re: Here we go - Tom Harkin is trying to get quack therapies

Post by RebLem » Sun Jul 26, 2009 6:45 am

jbuck919 wrote:
RebLem wrote: As for acupuncture, it can't be just psychological because it works on cats and dogs, too.
I just know I'm going to be sorry I asked....
If you Google veterinary acupuncture, you get 406,000 hits. Here's one: http://www.acupuncture.com/newsletters/ ... /main1.htm
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Re: Here we go - Tom Harkin is trying to get quack therapies

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Jul 26, 2009 8:13 am

RebLem wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:
RebLem wrote: As for acupuncture, it can't be just psychological because it works on cats and dogs, too.
I just know I'm going to be sorry I asked....
If you Google veterinary acupuncture, you get 406,000 hits. Here's one: http://www.acupuncture.com/newsletters/ ... /main1.htm
Well, that accounts for about half of the 857,000 hits you get if you google "quackery." I didn't check "placebo effect."

Of particular interest was the phrase "libido can be treated." I've always wondered where to go to get my libido treated.

It's already bad enough that we tolerate standards that are uncomfortably close to those of the third world with respect to access to health care among parts of the population. I don't think we want to be the only nation of the first world that also models itself on the second world (i.e., China).

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Re: Here we go - Tom Harkin is trying to get quack therapies

Post by Teresa B » Sun Jul 26, 2009 9:12 am

Chosen Barley wrote:
BWV 1080 wrote: as to acupuncture, recent double-blind study showed no difference between a group of patients given "real" acupuncture and a control group given "fake" acupuntcure (just pricking them with needles but paying no attention to the "correct" points:
So 'alternative' doctors (i.e., quacks) can produce cures thru the placebo effect - that is wonderful! Nothing wrong with that. Why can't MDs do the same?
They can, of course! For years now I have been curing warts on children ages 3 through 7 or so by treating them with a Q-tip application of very weak medication, but adding a piece of tape which I solemnly declare to be "magic".
Who cares? I sure don't. That the patient is satisfied is what counts.
Certainly true to an extent (And Corlyss, you may be surprised that I won't disagree with "Alternative" medicine in every instance. :) ). If the patient is satisfied, much of the battle is won. But consider this: What if I started treating high blood pressure with my "magic tape" technique, without offering the patient a tested antihypertensive medication? The patient might feel good about it, but if his blood pressure skyrockets and he has a stroke, was I practicing good medicine, or quackery? How about the everpresent alternative cancer treatments, when there may be "mainstream" treatment that could be curative? Obviously the patient may choose, but unless he is educated about the choices and the cure rates, etc, he is not, in my opinion, being given good (or even morally acceptable) medical care. Serious illness treated with placebo or unproven modalities is serious business.

I don't believe alternative treatments are all ineffective. I personally tried acupuncture, Chinese herbs, magnesium, feverfew, CoQ, hypnotherapy and neuro/biofeedback for migraine, after I had already tried several drugs, botox and adjustments in HRT. I felt the alternative things were worth a try, as they had some evidence to back them, and they could cause little potential harm. (I might have tried chiropractic, but since I learned the neck cracking procedure could precipitate stroke, I held off.) Still, the only thing that actually works for me is "mainstream"--sumatriptan upon the onset of a headache, and avoiding certain foods.

I don't believe chiropractic is quackery UNTIL they get into "curing" every type of disorder with manipulation and/ or herbs, etc. Osteopaths are now educated very well in mainstream medicine. DO's often train alongside MD's in accredited residency programs.

There are criteria that can be weighed as far as what is effective medicine. Outcomes can be studied as far as risk vs benefit. Rather than declare any form of therapy "quackery" (although Courlyss, I do love your typo of "quakery" :wink: ) the best way is to individualize a treatment plan for each patient, and offer him/her your best choice(s) based on the knowledge available.

Teresa
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Author of the novel "Creating Will"

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Re: Here we go - Tom Harkin is trying to get quack therapies

Post by BWV 1080 » Sun Jul 26, 2009 9:28 am

RebLem wrote:
As for acupuncture, it can't be just psychological because it works on cats and dogs, too.
Think about what you are saying. Of course the placebo effect applies to cats and dogs - the owner's perception of the animal's behavior is what is changed. Fido is acting listless, so the therapist sticks a few needles in him and tells the owner a bunch of mumbo jumbo and the owner, who now has an incentive to not feel like a fool, is now predisposed to look for behavior that confirms the success of the therapy

this is a well-documented phenomenon in regards to quack autism treatments. Children are given some supplement or special diet, which then sets up a confirmation bias of the parents where they attribute any positive behavioral or developmental changes to the treatment when in fact, these changes occur normally on their own.

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Re: Here we go - Tom Harkin is trying to get quack therapies

Post by BWV 1080 » Sun Jul 26, 2009 9:34 am

Werner wrote:Steve, your answer to Corlyss is spot-on. But I must disagree with your view on osteopathy.

My own primary care physician is not, as it happens, an MD but a DO - Doctor of Osteopathy. He's been my primary care man for many years, after i deliberately left an MD for him. And he's Donald's primary care doc as well as my wife Charlotte's, who has spent her career, starting as an RN, and subsequently in various areas of health care journalism. Her judgment in this area I trust completely.

This man, as devoted to his profession as anyone I've met, is one of several DOs active in our excellent community hospital. They all run full-scale medical practices and are board certified in various specialties. I hear about one or the other from time to time but naturally know mine best. I can see no reason why I'd leave him.
you may be right, there are some branches of it, like chiropractic that make wild claims of treating all types of diseases

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Re: Here we go - Tom Harkin is trying to get quack therapies

Post by Teresa B » Sun Jul 26, 2009 10:33 am

Just for the record, schools of chiropractic and schools of osteopathy are entirely different. Not that there are not chiropractors and osteopaths who use questionable modes of treatment, but in general, osteopaths (DO's) are pretty close to MD's in their training (particularly more recent ones who have done accredited residencies with university medical programs). Chiropractors have far less training in general medicine, and are not really qualified to treat anything except spinal/joint related problems that may be amenable to physical manipulation. Unfortunately, they often branch out into treating many disorders of the GI tract, etc, and some of them are into things like odd herbal/kinesiology stuff that is basically quackery (yep).

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Re: Here we go - Tom Harkin is trying to get quack therapies

Post by Chosen Barley » Sun Jul 26, 2009 11:27 am

An interesting post, Theresa.

Re migraines. Dr. Oliver Sacks reported that he once cured a brilliant mathematician of migraines, only to discover that the man could no longer do his work! He wrote, "Along with the pathology, the creativity also disappeared, and this made it clear that one has to inspect the economy of the person...it is not sufficient just to make a diagnosis of migraine and give a pill. One has to inquire into the entire human drama that surrounds" an illness.

Re the mild medicine + magic tape for children's warts. Why did you bother putting any medicine at all on the warts if you, like the kiddies, have faith that mention of the magic tape would do the trick? By the way, my dad (he of the Grade 8 education) dabbed muriatic acid on my & my brothers' and sisters' warts and they went away and never came back. I mean the warts, not the brothers & sisters.

You refer to devising treatment individually, "based on the knowledge available." Exactly. No doctor of any type, scientific or nonscientific, is familiar with all approaches & methods. That is why we need medical freedom instead of argumentation that one style is good and the other is useless. I say, take Oliver Sacks' advice about looking into the entire human drama that surrounds an illness, as some "alternative" practitioners (who just may be MDs) have been doing for ages. It is bad medicine to take a serious or chronic illness as just a collection of symptoms and then obliterating those symptoms. A smart doc knows when to do just that, and when to investigate further into the larger drama at work.

As to high blood pressure, not everyone has to take drugs. In TCM they don't even recognize it as such but rather as part of a pattern of disharmony. And every TCM practitioner I have ever gone to has a blood pressure device in his or her office.

Alternative cancertreatments hardly ever work, because the patient has first greatly weakened himself by doing the cut-burn-poison routine first. Anyone who survives standard cancer treatment does so because of an inherently strong constitution. Just as many die after the treatment as live another 5 years, a strange & magical definition of "cure" if I ever saw one. :lol:
STRESSED? Spell it backwards for the cure.

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Re: Here we go - Tom Harkin is trying to get quack therapies

Post by BWV 1080 » Sun Jul 26, 2009 11:52 am

Chosen Barley wrote: Alternative cancertreatments hardly ever work, because the patient has first greatly weakened himself by doing the cut-burn-poison routine first. Anyone who survives standard cancer treatment does so because of an inherently strong constitution. Just as many die after the treatment as live another 5 years, a strange & magical definition of "cure" if I ever saw one. :lol:
Here are the results of choosing alternative medicine over scientific in regards to cancer treatment:

http://www.ariplex.com/ama/amamiche.htm

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Re: Here we go - Tom Harkin is trying to get quack therapies

Post by Teresa B » Sun Jul 26, 2009 11:53 am

Thoughtful post, Chosen. I'd like to address a few of your points:
Chosen Barley wrote:An interesting post, Theresa.

Re migraines. Dr. Oliver Sacks reported that he once cured a brilliant mathematician of migraines, only to discover that the man could no longer do his work! He wrote, "Along with the pathology, the creativity also disappeared, and this made it clear that one has to inspect the economy of the person...it is not sufficient just to make a diagnosis of migraine and give a pill. One has to inquire into the entire human drama that surrounds" an illness.
True. (I adore Oliver Sacks, by the way.)
Re the mild medicine + magic tape for children's warts. Why did you bother putting any medicine at all on the warts if you, like the kiddies, have faith that mention of the magic tape would do the trick? By the way, my dad (he of the Grade 8 education) dabbed muriatic acid on my & my brothers' and sisters' warts and they went away and never came back. I mean the warts, not the brothers & sisters.
Well, glad you clarified that. :wink: I dab the medicine on because (a) it causes a reaction on the wart and does help therapeutically and (b) the child's parent is generally in the room. With the kiddies, it's quite possible that the tape alone will work (there are reports of duct tape working, for example), but one has a harder time convincing the parent who is paying for services unless one employs something the parent perceives as therapeutic. (Note: the magic tape results are far better than the medicine alone in this age group.)
As to high blood pressure, not everyone has to take drugs. In TCM they don't even recognize it as such but rather as part of a pattern of disharmony. And every TCM practitioner I have ever gone to has a blood pressure device in his or her office.
Agreed. (What is TCM? Chiropractic? if they have a BP cuff, it doesn't of course mean they can effectively treat hypertension.) There are people who will respond to various other treatments, such as dietary changes, weight loss, biofeedback methods, stress reduction etc.
Alternative cancertreatments hardly ever work, because the patient has first greatly weakened himself by doing the cut-burn-poison routine first. Anyone who survives standard cancer treatment does so because of an inherently strong constitution. Just as many die after the treatment as live another 5 years, a strange & magical definition of "cure" if I ever saw one. :lol:
This statement is without merit. You would need to post studies that show Alternative therapies work just as well as mainstream when given as primary treatment. You can't just say "they don't work because the patients are weakened first", because you have no way of knowing that.

We have children with lymphocytic leukemia now cured more than 90% of the time, when it was once a death sentence. Yes chemo regimens are brutal and do not always produce better results, but we also have research on much more narrowly-targeted chemo regimens as well as immunotherapies on the horizon that will markedly reduce the toxicities while ever-more closely targeting the individual patient's tumor. And saying "just as many die after the treatment as live another 5 years" makes no sense...you're saying across the board, that in all cancers, there is a 50% 5-year survival? It's never that simple, and if you're dealing with cancer, the best thing is to look at everytreatment within plausibility, and discuss it with your doctor(s).

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Re: Here we go - Tom Harkin is trying to get quack therapies

Post by nut-job » Sun Jul 26, 2009 12:09 pm

Chosen Barley wrote:Alternative cancertreatments hardly ever work, because the patient has first greatly weakened himself by doing the cut-burn-poison routine first. Anyone who survives standard cancer treatment does so because of an inherently strong constitution. Just as many die after the treatment as live another 5 years, a strange & magical definition of "cure" if I ever saw one. :lol:
Some cancers are so resilient that no treatment has much chance of success. For many others, the rate of long term cure is very high and people who would have died can gain decades of normal life. To claim that cancer mortality is caused by treatment is simply absurd.

As far as your point that alternative therapy fails only because the patient has already been weakened by conventional treatment, we can look at the case of Steven Jobs. He contracted a highly treatable form of Pancreatic cancer. Instead of seeking treatment, he underwent alternative therapy. After a year of that the cancer continued to progress. He finally went to Stanford Medical Center for the treatment he needed but it was evidently too late, it had spread to his liver, which had to be transplanted. He probably would have been fine, but now I suspect he'll be out of the picture soon.

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Re: Here we go - Tom Harkin is trying to get quack therapies

Post by RebLem » Sun Jul 26, 2009 2:55 pm

Teresa B wrote:What is TCM? Teresa
I just Googled it and it means either Turner Classic Movies or Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is my conjecture, as Corlyss would say, that Chosen Barley meant the latter. She could have meant Turner Classic Movies, I suppose, but I don't know where they'd put a sphygmomanometer, or why they'd have one. :wink:
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Re: Here we go - Tom Harkin is trying to get quack therapies

Post by Chosen Barley » Thu Jul 30, 2009 9:37 am

BWV 1080 wrote:
Chosen Barley wrote: Alternative cancertreatments hardly ever work, because the patient has first greatly weakened himself by doing the cut-burn-poison routine first. Anyone who survives standard cancer treatment does so because of an inherently strong constitution. Just as many die after the treatment as live another 5 years, a strange & magical definition of "cure" if I ever saw one. :lol:
Here are the results of choosing alternative medicine over scientific in regards to cancer treatment:

http://www.ariplex.com/ama/amamiche.htm
I went to that site you quote and there is not much info as to what is going on. Can you fill us in. All I see are gross pictures. Your specialty, I guess.
STRESSED? Spell it backwards for the cure.

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Re: Here we go - Tom Harkin is trying to get quack therapies

Post by BWV 1080 » Thu Jul 30, 2009 9:49 am

Chosen Barley wrote:
BWV 1080 wrote:
Chosen Barley wrote: Alternative cancertreatments hardly ever work, because the patient has first greatly weakened himself by doing the cut-burn-poison routine first. Anyone who survives standard cancer treatment does so because of an inherently strong constitution. Just as many die after the treatment as live another 5 years, a strange & magical definition of "cure" if I ever saw one. :lol:
Here are the results of choosing alternative medicine over scientific in regards to cancer treatment:

http://www.ariplex.com/ama/amamiche.htm
I went to that site you quote and there is not much info as to what is going on. Can you fill us in. All I see are gross pictures. Your specialty, I guess.
The gross pictures are the result of a woman stopping chemo and pursuing alternative medicine

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Re: Here we go - Tom Harkin is trying to get quack therapies

Post by Teresa B » Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:20 am

The previous link is to someone's personal website showing a tragic case of a young woman with breast cancer who elected "alternative" treatment. Obviously it is one anecdote and not definitive proof of anything. Here is a good article from a blog on "alternative" therapies for breast cancer.
http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/ ... ult_in.php
Especially cogent, I think, is the point made near the end, in which the author states that "alternative medicine" is not really a valid term; there are therapies that work (or are at least beneficial), and those that do not. Evidence of benefit, scientifically shown, is what is required for a therapeutic modality to be acceptable. What is currently deemed "alternative" could at some point become "mainstream" if it proves actually to help patients. On the other hand, there have been so-called "mainstream" treatments that have been jumped on, and then shown to be ineffective--case in point, bone marrow transplant after irradiation for metastatic breast cancer.

Human nature, good or bad, tends to cause us to grasp onto all sorts of hopes for cures when we are faced with such awful diseases and threatened mortality. These hopes can propel us as patients to seek not only totally unproven "cures", but also as physicians to encourage patients to pursue "mainstream" treatments that may not be in their best interest. We as physicians have a hard time admitting we have nothing further to offer someone. The unfortunate other side of the issue comes in when we do have something to offer, but a stricken patient is convinced by the sellers of snake oil or by earnest "alternative" practitioners to buy into a treatment that is ineffective.

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Re: Here we go - Tom Harkin is trying to get quack therapies

Post by BWV 1080 » Thu Jul 30, 2009 12:26 pm

Teresa B wrote:The previous link is to someone's personal website showing a tragic case of a young woman with breast cancer who elected "alternative" treatment. Obviously it is one anecdote and not definitive proof of anything. Here is a good article from a blog on "alternative" therapies for breast cancer.
http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/ ... ult_in.php
Especially cogent, I think, is the point made near the end, in which the author states that "alternative medicine" is not really a valid term; there are therapies that work (or are at least beneficial), and those that do not. Evidence of benefit, scientifically shown, is what is required for a therapeutic modality to be acceptable. What is currently deemed "alternative" could at some point become "mainstream" if it proves actually to help patients. On the other hand, there have been so-called "mainstream" treatments that have been jumped on, and then shown to be ineffective--case in point, bone marrow transplant after irradiation for metastatic breast cancer.

Human nature, good or bad, tends to cause us to grasp onto all sorts of hopes for cures when we are faced with such awful diseases and threatened mortality. These hopes can propel us as patients to seek not only totally unproven "cures", but also as physicians to encourage patients to pursue "mainstream" treatments that may not be in their best interest. We as physicians have a hard time admitting we have nothing further to offer someone. The unfortunate other side of the issue comes in when we do have something to offer, but a stricken patient is convinced by the sellers of snake oil or by earnest "alternative" practitioners to buy into a treatment that is ineffective.

Teresa
Now Teresa, if our friend here was capable of understanding empirical studies like Orac comments on, then he would not believe so strongly in alternative medicine to begin with. Anyway concepts like "logic" and "evidence" reflect a cultural bias against other forms of knowledge that come from intuition and feelings. A real holistic practice of medicine would favor emotional reaction to anecdotes over a bunch of boring papers full of statistics and biology

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Re: Here we go - Tom Harkin is trying to get quack therapies

Post by Teresa B » Fri Jul 31, 2009 6:46 am

BWV1080 wrote:Now Teresa, if our friend here was capable of understanding empirical studies like Orac comments on, then he would not believe so strongly in alternative medicine to begin with. Anyway concepts like "logic" and "evidence" reflect a cultural bias against other forms of knowledge that come from intuition and feelings. A real holistic practice of medicine would favor emotional reaction to anecdotes over a bunch of boring papers full of statistics and biology
Yeah, you have a point there about holistic practices. Unfortunately, we have a false dichotomy between "Mainstream" and "Alternative" or holistic medicine. It is true that the holistic practitioners I have encountered are generally steeped nearly entirely in holistic methods to the exclusion of evidence-based medicine, and many "mainstream" practitioners can forget how important emotional issues are in human illness. My personal philosophy is (and of course I was trained solely in "mainstream"), use mainstream therapeutic modalities, but also try to get a feel for the individual and his/her emotional issues, because I will get far better results nearly every time if I address what really concerns the person, and I do not gloss over something I may think is unimportant. On the other hand, if I use nothing except empathy and encouragement (along with some snake oil perhaps) to treat melanoma, the patient is going to suffer and possibly die from the cancer.

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Re: Here we go - Tom Harkin is trying to get quack therapies

Post by RebLem » Fri Jul 31, 2009 12:28 pm

I would like to recommend a book. Doctors who work for the Indian Health Service are often forced into learning to practice holistically because they find many American Indians still have faith in the old healing practices, and getting them to accept modern medicine is a difficult task. But sometimes, when they are investigated, a kernel of truth is found in the old practices.

When I moved to Albuquerque in 2002, one of the first things I did was take a course @ the local community college, then TVI (Albuquerque Technical and Vocational Institute), which has been renamed CNM (Central New Mexico College) in the history of New Mexico to help me become a better, more knowledgeable citizen. One of the books that was required reading was The Scalpel and the Silver Bear: The First Navajo Woman Surgeon Combines Western Medicine and Traditional Healing by Lori Alvord and Elizabeth Cohen Van Pelt (Paperback - Jun 6, 2000).

Here is a review cited at Amazon:

From Publishers Weekly

When Alvord, who is half Navajo, dissected her first cadaver, she broke an important rule in her culture: "Navajos do not touch the dead. Ever." In the process of becoming a "white man's doctor," Alvord discovered that among the indigenous customs her medical training forced her to ignore were valuable healing practices that are sorely needed in allopathic medicine. In this inspiring memoir, Alvord, assisted by Van Pelt, describes her endeavors to integrate a Navajo approach to healing with high-tech medical procedures. She left the pueblo at age 16 to attend Dartmouth on scholarship, survived the numbing vicissitudes of surgical training at Stanford and returned home jubilantly to work as a general surgeon at the local medical center, only to discover that her demeanor and her state-of-the-art skills frightened her patients. Working within her traditional culture, which strongly resists the removal of organs from the body, she soon realized that a trusting relationship with the patient and harmony in the operating room were as necessary as the correct procedure to the success of the operation and the recovery process. As an introduction to Navajo healing principles, this short book offers intriguing ideas about humane health care. While it is unlikely that many physicians will embrace the sacred bear spirit, which is a source of strength and courage for the author, Alvord's message about how to improve a patient's peace of mind is utterly credible.

After a few years, she left to teach medicine @ Dartmouth and has advanced through the academic system there. Here is a fuller description of her and her life's work.
http://aianhealthcareers.org/page1/page ... age92.html
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Re: Here we go - Tom Harkin is trying to get quack therapies

Post by Evelyn Laden » Mon Aug 03, 2009 10:53 am

Rather than answer individual comments, I would like to state that today, "alternative medicine" is more often (in many hospitals) called "complementary" medicine. This adds a wholly different dimension to its meaning as well as use. Various hospitals have established departments for the use of complementary medicine methods. A growing number of physicians are asking to have one or the other of these methods used for their patients, as a "complementary" treatment to standard medicine. Many patients benefit from this combined form of treatment. Often these complementary methods achieve comfort for patients in pain that cannot be achieved by other means. Comfort for patients in constant pain can at times be more important to severely or chronically ill patients than medical improvement or a "cure."
As further proof that some complementary treatments are coming under closer scrutiny for their possible benefits, NIH (National Institutes of Health) added some years ago a (funded) Department for Complementary Medicine along established, standard ones, with the specific objective to research these methods.

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Re: Here we go - Tom Harkin is trying to get quack therapies

Post by BWV 1080 » Mon Aug 03, 2009 11:02 am

Evelyn Laden wrote: As further proof that some complementary treatments are coming under closer scrutiny for their possible benefits, NIH (National Institutes of Health) added some years ago a (funded) Department for Complementary Medicine along established, standard ones, with the specific objective to research these methods.
Yes, another Tom Harkin-led boondoggle that has squandered $2.5 billion of taxpayer money with absolutely nothing to show for it

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Re: Here we go - Tom Harkin is trying to get quack therapies

Post by Evelyn Laden » Mon Aug 03, 2009 4:19 pm

BWV,

Next time you have intractable pain, which medication relieves only partially if at all, and you remain uncomfortable in every bone of your body (or even in only a few), it might just be that one of the complementary methods provide some, or even complete relief at least for a while. I don't agree that this is a waste - I've seen it happen to enough people to know (without the research). Besides, not everything can be "evidence based." Subjective reactions are difficult to measure, and vary from person to person. If it's any consolation to you, the Complementary Medicine Dept at NIH was the least funded, last I heard.

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