Monday, October 19, 2009

Good News

Simon Singh PhD MBE is the renowned British science writer, author of several learned books on E@L's shelves - Fermat's Last Theorem (I never finished it), The Code Book (I never finished it), Trick or Treatment (I haven't even started it) - who has been sued by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) for libel after claiming that their wacky, bullshit theories, in particular relation to claims of efficacy in such childhood disease such as juvenile asthma, ear infections and intestinal colic are "bogus" (as in bad, wacky and bullshit), is in a good mood, finally.

It seems that though he lost the preliminary judgement he has won his appeal, on the grounds the idiot judge who oversaw the first case is an idiot. (Hope no-one in England reads this or I'll be had up for libel too.)

Basically here is a scientific writer who, having researched the topic for (TorT), says that he and the medical profession in general can find no scientific evidence for these treatments, and he is sued by a vested interest group.

What the fuck? Have IQ points dropped sharply while I was away?

The story is nicely explained, as usual, in Ben Goodacre's Bad Science blog and there is much discussion elsewhere, such as the blog of British lawyer Jack Of Kent, which gives a bit more info. As in a LOT more info.

A good point is made on Dr Aust's blog, that the way Singh wrote the paragraph under contention (in an article, not in the book) was a rhetorical device that misfired; he put the conclusion, or the topic sentence, at the start for emphasis and then followed up with the evidence to back it. I guess people, like the BCA, who disagree are going to have their eyes roll back straight away and not read, or at least not take in, the rest of the paragraph.

E@L is died-in-the-wool skeptic about ALL alternative medicines (and even a lot of conventional medicine), even though he has been cupped and acupunctured in a Taipei hospital (just to shut them up about my sneezy head-cold - no it did NOT get better). My neurologist was once obviously thinking about something as was smiling in his reserved, self-conscious way when he said that he could send me to an acupuncturists about my feet if I wanted, but that he had doubts that I would be a suitable (suitably gullible) customer... It won't work he said, but at least we'll (I'll) have tried another option to give you (me) the sense of us (him) doing something.

Only fruitcakes, loonies, flakes and fairies-in-the-bottom-of-the-garden type people, and most of China, believe in this sort of fucking bullshit. Chiropractic, what a wank. Double body massage, now that's therapy!

To quote an American Doctor on his blog (shit, I've lost the link):

"I am often asked my opinion of chiropractic care. My usual answer (based on evidence) is that it can be somewhat helpful in the treatment of low back pain. That’s it. Any further claims are complete and utter [expletive] …"


Reading those other above-mentioned blogs (and some others I haven't linked to) for the first time, I'd have to say that in certain areas IQ points are through the fucking roof.

But not here at



HKMacs said...

In similar vein Bill Maher's getting a lot of flak for his tirades against vaccinations

Lost in Melbourne said...

Any suggestions for a travelling book for me to take in while wandering around Europe and also directions to a cheap bookshop in London?
Prefer non fiction and happy to expand the mind

expat@large said...

Scott: don't have your email on this computer since Plaxo went "professional"...

Not much idea about London. Big city, lots of bookstores. Charing Cross obviously used to be the place, there might still be a quaint old store there.

Non-fiction - shit, I got a billion of them. Just picked "What Makes Us Human" series of essays, Charles Pasternak ed., various authors, about what separates us from the amoeba. Cooking (my fave), opposable thumbs, curiosity, language, Twitter, our perpetual obssession with weather... Might be hard to find though.

OR Simon Singh's Trick or Treatment. Provides logical immunity to alternative medicines...

OR The Anatomy of Disgust, William Ian Miller: why some things turn us right off and others turn us on. This sacred/profane thing has been niggling in my brain since I read Jonathon Haight's The Happiness Hypothesis - also a good read.

Creepy said...

"he has been cupped and acupunctured in a Taipei hospital."

Did they talk you into a rusty trombone?

I will say while considerable treatment from several different chiropractors never did anything for the chronic back pain I had been suffering for (yet three weeks with a physical therapist gave me wonderful results), I do find them useful for little stuff like pinched nerves and seriously painful knots.

expat@large said...

Creepy: the public thinking of Chiropractic is just that, OK for some back pain. But the real chiropractic started 100+ years ago and is based on the false premise, that the spinal nerves control the disease process in all organs. Now we know so much more about phsyology in genreal and endocrinology, hepatology, urology,in particualr and even non-spinal nerves (the sympathetic and non-sympathetic systems which control blood vessel tone, etc) we have to dismiss the whole thing.

Basically, the 'crack' is caused by a sudden decompression within the facets joints in which air comes out of suspension from the joint fluid. It is not the realignment of the bones at all. It is merely cracking the knuckles in your back. Yes, air. You can see it in joints after exercise or just movement, on ultrasound.

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