Britain’s National Health Service about to ban homeopathy

Not before time!

Why Evolution Is True

Reader Barrie called my attention to an article in The Independent  that offers some good news: Britan’s NHS, based on a 48-page document about items that shouldn’t be prescribed in primary care medicine, seems set to stop prescribing Magic Water, otherwise known as homeopathic medicine.

The motivation for the whole document was to eliminate, as a cost-cutting measure, those prescribed items that were of low clinical effectiveness. So there are many drugs listed, but on page 14 you’ll find this:

Actually, given Prince Charles’s fondness for this quackery (he even uses it own his own farm animals), I’m surprised the expenditure by the NHS is less than £100,000 per year, but it sends an important signal to people that the government health agency sees homeopathy as ineffective. Now I’m sure that patients who want Magic Water can still buy it themselves, but at least doctors can’t prescribe it.

Here’s a…

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Readers’ Comments

Over the last few days there have been a number of comments on my blog post Revelation TV & Felicity Corbin Wheeler Revisited. A number of interesting points have been raised, and rather than reply to individual comments I will attempt to respond to them here.

William Scully started things off with this post:

She has dropped the “Dr” title on her twitter account as well, I have asked for an explanation in a tweet, don’t expect I’ll get a reply. She is an odious woman, but on Revelation TV, she is in good company

William had spotted something I had missed. The Reverend Doctor is now plain Felicity Corbin Wheeler. I suspect that she is worried about the possible legal consequences of calling herself Doctor and handing out medical advice. Her (newly revamped) website has a very comprehensive Quack Miranda.

Legal Disclaimer: Any information provided on http://www.hippocratesineurope.com or http://www.felicitycorbinwheeler.org (this website), including its discussion forums, is for educational purposes only, is not medical advice, does not create a doctor-patient relationship or liability, is not exhaustive, does not cover all conditions or their treatment, and will change as knowledge and time progress.

The use of the word ‘odious’ prompted an angry response from Will.

like most people who are derogatory towards FCW i feel compelled to ask you.
Are you just being a little bit biased. Are you just following the crowd and acting out of a herd instinct and mentality. Are your claims that she is an “odious woman” based on clinical trials and double blind trials ? Or perhaps, based on anacdotal evidence. You know the type of evidence that Nucella on this Blog site calls “unscientific” reason.
There is a saying that goes: “As a man thinks, so He is” Then the question for you to answer is this: Are Your thoughts more a reflection of your own Being, Is it You that is the “Odious” one.
How pathetic of you, to make such a judgement of Being. I hope other’s think the same. You are probably an atheist which means you believe all life started a pond scum and became the beautiful specimin you are today. So why do you seek so eagerly the return to the pond scum from which you evolved from. Just goes to show you deny the very faith of evolution by your actions. At least FCW i believe would not wish to stoop to such low standards as you set for yourself.

Suddenly we switch to atheism and evolution. How did that happen? I’ve always considered Felicity Corbin Wheeler to be deluded, ignorant and narcissistic. I wouldn’t have used the word ‘odious’ to describe her – until now. Recently she has confirmed what I long suspected. She is an anti-vaxxer. I’ve blogged on that topic before and I consider anti-vaxxers to be the lowest of the low. Incidentally Will, atheism is a lack of belief in god and just that, nothing at all to do with evolution.

William Scully responded by asking about the dropping of the Dr title again, but Will has the creationist bit between his teeth and treats us to a rant about Cosmology, Astrophysics and Abiogenesis, seemingly under the mistaken impression that these are covered by the Theory of Evolution. William Scully persists but Will gets angry:

What !! No, You Can’t explain, Well I won’t be loosing any sleep over you.
So why not just crawl back into that prebiotic pool of slime your ancestors came from.
You won’t be too much of a loss to Humanity, because I doubt if you actually met its criteria anyway.

Then things turn really silly. Will comments;

 but as Nucella knows from her training as a nutritionist – if she really is one – it is information that gives birth to matter

What? I am neither female nor a nutritionist and have never claimed to be either. I could be a nutritionist if I wanted to be. It’s not a protected title in the UK so all I’d have to do is call myself one, set up a website and make lots of money by selling useless products to vulnerable individuals. For some people that’s a valid business model as Sheila Pringle has discovered.

Goodness me, this started out as a post re FCW, who does charge extortionate prices to help people, as a Christian and saying she works for God does she really need to charge so much, I tried wheatgrass and it seemed to upset me , she wanted £50 for an E Mail consulation to give me advise. She stated to me by E Mail that she worth that price, she gets free advertising by giving out her ideas on REV TV. Why has this ended up as a slanging match about creation, if people chose to disbelieve Gods word that’s up to them but they dont need to be so personal and abusive to other people on here. FCB also didnt answer my E Mail that was uncomfortable for her to read on some true facts, she isn’t a Dr of medicine anyway at all, she is running a business with REV TV as a real advantage and their discernment is dreadful they never answer you either just make threats, switch her off like I have is my opinion, if she wants to make such profit to fulfil her lifestyle out of people let her, she will answer to God and be judge one day.

Thanks Sheila for trying to calm things down and bringing the discussion back on topic. I suspect that Sheila and I come from entirely different perspectives but I think we both feel that Felicity Corbin Wheeler is exploiting people for monetary gain. Please correct me if I’m wrong Sheila.

Felicity Corbin Wheeler is currently using Revelation TV to promote another unproven treatment which will be the subject of my next blog post.

 

Edit.

A brief exchange of comments with Will resulted in this extraordinary outburst:

I am going to do what everyone should do on here and pull the plug on all your crap sick and ugly insults that your warped little humanoid brain can muster, No wonder Rev Tv don’t reply to you, you odious creature. most of the small number of posts here are years old so you obviously have a huge fan base, i don’t think. Well, i shall enjoy this last post because there won’t be anymore. I ‘m done with loser’s like you who can find no greater purpose for their life than devote their time moaning about christians. You really are a low life. I don’t spend my time doing that to atheists. There is nothing upbuilding and positive about you. Do you know what i will be so happy about when you read this, is the fact that others will read it and know your a first class jerk for all to see, while only a she male like you could have a name like Nutella.
Ayway, you can continue to be the odious little twerp you are, but you know it’s not even worth you replying to this because im out of here and you will never have the satisfaction of me reading your crap replies any more. So go into your bedroom and do what all lonely immature little boys do in private.

You are a has-been and i will never read the crap you sell on here again, so glad to be gone for good.

Yours Gone for good,

Ha ha ha hAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

There’s no answer to that.

Juicing for Health?

Sky News recently ran a news item entitled ‘Second-Rate Care’ for Heart Attack Patients. It highlighted the difference in heart attack survival rates between Sweden and the UK attributable to how quickly the heart attack victim received primary angioplasty after the event. The report was accompanied by a video which featured someone who had survived a heart attack because of the prompt treatment he received. Unsurprisingly the gentleman concerned has made changes to his lifestyle and in the video is described as a ‘paragon of healthy living’. To illustrate that point, the video includes a scene to show how his life has changed.

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Those who aspire to be paragons must take up juicing it seems.

Juicing is a staple of many quack treatments and comes in a variety of forms. One extreme version is the Gerson Therapy which claims to be a cure for a wide range of diseases including cancer. Followers of this therapy are required to drink one glass of juice hourly, thirteen times a day. This, it claims, ‘ boosts the body’s own immune system to heal cancer, arthritis, heart disease, allergies, and many other degenerative diseases.’  Cancer Research UK warns that, ‘Available scientific evidence does not support any claims that Gerson therapy can treat cancer.’

Other proponents of juicing are more modest in their requirement for the volume of juice consumed but just as extravagant in the claims of health benefits. Most of these are centred around the pseudoscientific notion of detoxing, It seems that our unhealthy lifestyles cause a build up ‘toxins’ in our bodies which can only be eliminated by a juicing regime.

We believe there is fundamentally only One Disease and therefore One Solution. The body gets sick due to two basic things – Toxicity and Deficiency. If we remove the Toxicity and replace any Deficiencies, the vast majority of common ailments improve or go away completely. We believe it really is that simple.

The above quote is taken from the website of Jason Vale, the Juice Master, who is, ‘one of the UK’s leading authorities on health, addiction, and most obviously, juicing.’ Despite being a ‘leading authority’ Jason seems to be remarkably ignorant when it comes  to basic human physiology and Germ Theory. (A programme on Revelation TV featuring Felicity Corbin Wheeler alerted me to the internet presence of Jason Vale.)

Jason’s website is littered with the usual quack red flags – celebrity  endorsements, personal testimonies, anecdotes, a complete lack of evidence-based science and of course, lots of things to spend your money on.

Every food on the planet has come under some criticism with the notable exception of fruit and vegetables. These foods nourish every cell in the body, help prevent disease, flush the system of waste and contain more vitamins and minerals than you can rattle a plum at, and there isn’t a single person on the planet with any shred of common sense that could possibly argue against these magnificent foods! Jason Vale – Why Juice?

There are some people who argue against such a sweeping generalisation. David Colquhoun’s blog, Improbable Science has an excellent post entitled ‘We know little about the effect of diet on health. That’s why so much is written about it’. In it he quotes epidemiologist John Ioannidis who says,

Almost every single nutrient imaginable has peer reviewed publications associating it with almost any outcome.

That would seem to rule out juicing as an answer to all our ills.

There is no convincing scientific evidence that extracted juices are healthier than whole foods.

American Cancer Society

What Doctors Don’t Tell You & Sainsburys

Since the print edition of What Doctors Don’t Tell You appeared in September 2012 it has attracted a lot of attention from the skeptic community, bloggers, social media, and more recently mainstream media including the Guardian and The Times.

The magazine, whose masthead proclaims, ‘Helping you make better health choices’, promises to ‘uncover the hard-to-get facts about health and the causes of illness.’

In practice, this means promoting all manner of quackery and woo. This has been exposed by a large number of bloggers so I won’t spend time covering the issues here. Anyone who is interested should visit Josephine Jones blog where they will find and an extensive and ever-growing list of links to relevant sources.

Many bloggers take the view that retailers should consider whether or not they should continue stocking and selling the magazine. Please note, this is not a campaign for a ban on the magazine. It is a call for retailers to consider whether or not selling WDDTY is in the best interests of the retailer and their customers.

My position is clear. WDDTY contains articles and advertisements which are inaccurate and misleading which put the ill-informed and vulnerable at risk. Retailers who sell the magazine are doing their customers a disservice. I was pleased when I saw this series of tweets on Twitter.

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I do my shopping at Sainsburys. When WDDTY was first published I looked through the magazine section at my local store but couldn’t find a copy. I assumed they didn’t stock it. When I visited the store yesterday (Nov 5th 2013, 9.15 am) I was surprised to see this:

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When I got home I posted the picture on Twitter. I made no comment, no complaint, no demands. The response was immediate.

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I visited the store later in the day.

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True to their word, Sainsburys had removed WDDTY from the shelves.

WDDTY and their supporters will complain about censorship, denial of free speech and so on. This is nonsense. Mike Ward, posting on the WDDTY Facebook page (until he’s banned and his posts deleted) sums it up nicely:

No one is suppressing anything. If you wish to read or write nonsense about any subject under the sun, feel free, The (cyber) world is your oyster. Once, however, you start selling products or magazines and advertising them, you have to meet certain ethical and legal standards. Preying on vulnerable people with serious medical conditions like cancer, offering them false hope, and dissuading them from seeking evidence-based medical interventions does, I submit, not meet such standards.

Ask A Homeopath?

I am indebted to Blue Wode (@Blue_Wode) for this tweet a few days ago:

Email your query re homeopathy to homeopathyhelp@nelsons.net and get an answer within 24 hrs http://bit.ly/LmZPKb#ten23#HAW

My curiosity got the better of me so I decided to submit a query. This is what I wrote:

I suffer from cluster headaches which conventional medicine cannot cure. Can homeopathy do anything to help me?

My reason for submitting that query is simple enough. I suffer from cluster headaches. A cluster headache is a particular type of headache affecting about one person in a thousand. Wikipedia does a pretty good job of describing what they are like:

Cluster headache is a condition that involves, as its most prominent feature, an immense degree of pain that is almost always on only one side of the head. Cluster headaches occur periodically: spontaneous remissions interrupt active periods of pain. The cause of the condition is currently unknown. It affects approximately 0.1% of the population, and men are more commonly affected than women.

I’ve suffered from cluster headaches for about ten years but was only diagnosed three years ago. My attacks are episodic, a cluster lasts for around three months and then I have a period of remission of perhaps two years. During the cluster, alcohol and exercise act as triggers and have to be avoided. I take 480 mg of Verapamil during a cluster and have used sub-cutaneous injections of Sumatriptan as an abortive. I have just come to the end of a cluster, stopped my medication, and life is returning to normal. I’ve never considered using homeopathy but was curious to know what advice I might be given. My inquiry elicited this response:

Dear Mike

Thank you for contacting us about your cluster headaches.  There is no reason why homeopathy should not help your headaches, however in order to be able to treat them a full description of the symptoms is needed ie what makes them better and worse, when they started, and other such details.  Just as you would seek expert advice from a Doctor it is often best to see a qualified homeopath in order to get the best remedy for you.

However there are two remedies which may be able to help you:

Nat Mur is a remedy for headaches with a bursting pain that may feel like a hammer in one spot.  It is worse in the morning on waking at 10am to 10am – 3pm.  It is worse for sun and can start after a grief.

Belladonna is for headaches that are very intense, described as throbbing.  They begin in the right occiput and extend to teh right forehead or eye.  They aer worse at 3pm or at night, worse for light and the sun.  Hands and feet are icy cold during the headache.

Hopefully this is helpful to you.

All the best in your future good health!

Rachael Leffman

MA Cantab RSHom

on behalf of Nelsons Homeopathic Pharmacy

One of the first things that struck me were the ‘qualifications’ of the homeopath. They are always, it seems to me, very keen to put strings of letters after their names. According to her website, Rachael Leffman has a degree in French and Spanish and is registered with the Society of Homeopaths. I am assuming therefore that her knowledge of science and scientific method is limited.

Her first recommendation is Nat Mur (Natrum muriaticum) which is sodium chloride – better known as table salt. So to treat a condition thought to be caused by an abnormality of the hypothalamus, I have to use salty water? Correction: I have to use salty water which doesn’t contain any salt. Her other recommendation is Belladonna, originally extracted from the plant Atropa belladonna, or Deadly Nightshade. Homeopathic belladonna has been investigated (Ultramolecular homeopathy has no observable clinical effects. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled proving trial of Belladonna 30C,) and found to have ‘…………….no observable clinical effects.’

So my online consultation gave me two possible treatments, salty water and a homeopathic remedy which has been shown not to work. I’ll stick with Big Pharma.

Anyone who is suffering from cluster headaches or knows of someone who is a sufferer should visit the website of the Organisation for the Understanding of Cluster Headache (OUCH UK)  where they will receive help and information which is evidence based.

Revelation TV & Felicity Corbin Wheeler

In a previous blog post, I wrote about Revelation TV promoting Felicity Corbin Wheeler and her views on diet and health. I made reference to her lack of scientific background and my concern that she was advocating the use of unproven therapies and treatments for the prevention and treatment of cancer. I emailed the channel to express my concerns but, undeterred, they have broadcast two more programmes featuring the reverend doctor once again giving her a platform to tell viewers how cancer can be cured by diet. More of that later. First of all, a little more about Corbin Wheeler.

A section of her website is titled ‘Scientific Research’. Purveyors of woo are always keen to legitimise their claims by using science but by so doing, they highlight their ignorance. Trying to validate the use of laetrile for cancer treatment Corbin Wheeler’s website contains the extraordinary statement,

In the mid 1950’s, the American biochemist called Ernst Krebs, known to all medical students for the “Krebs Cycle”, took up the research in Nevada. He was studying the absence of cancer in certain non-industrialised peoples. There are tribes on earth now such as the Hunzas, who do not have cancer. When these people start to eat a western diet, high in animal protein, they succumb like the rest of us.

The Krebs Cycle is, of course, named after Nobel Prize winning biochemist Sir Hans Krebs. Ernst Krebs was a quack. Hopefully no medical students would make such an elementary mistake.

Back to Revelation TV. The programmes were hosted by presenter Howard Conder who is quite happy to tell viewers about his lack of science education. He sets the background by declaring that the programme will look at ‘both sides’. The ‘other side’ turns out to be reading from a print-out of the CancerResearch UK website. Next we have the staple of ‘alternative’ therapies – YouTube videos. A succession of naturopaths and chiropractors give their views about cancer and diabetes being lifestyle choices. Both programmes ramble through an assortment of quack therapies but fortunately Revelation TV has provided a handy downloadable summary rather oddly called Gary Tunsky on Cells with header.(pdf) In this document Corbin Wheeler sets out the steps we need to take to prevent and treat cancer, complete with scientific explanations. Let’s take a look at a few examples:

  • All disease originates at the molecular and cellular level, not at the organ or system level as we’re led to believe by Western medicine. This is a meaningless statement but the use of the term ‘Western medicine’ sets the scene for what’s to come.
  • We need photon light and electromagnetic energy, and our cells need photon light and electromagnetic energy. Photon light? ‘Photon’ is a sciencey word – that’s why it’s there.
  • The DNA helix coils act as transmitters and receivers of cellular information in the form of electromagnetic pulse energy sent to neighbouring and distant cells, similar to a radio antenna that receives and transmits frequency messages. Absolute gibberish!
  • A healthy body functions best when it’s slightly alkaline. To measure the body’s pH you’d have to put it through a blender first. That’s not recommended. There follows a lengthy explanation of how we must have an alkaline body achievable by eating alkaline foods. This nonsense has been thoroughly debunked by Quackwatch.
  • Over 90% of western population is dehydrated through over-consumption of acidic and dehydrating foods and beverages ….. . Over 90% of people have kidneys that don’t function?
  • It’s my conclusion based on years of research that cancer and AIDS are nothing more or less than a cellular disturbance of the electromagnetic balance. This is stupidity beyond words.

So Corbin Wheeler has the answer to virtually all our health problems. It is of course, eating raw foods, a vegan diet, juicing, colonic irrigation and an alkaline diet. Scientists, oncologists, and doctors are prevented by their ignorance and the influence of the drug companies from treating us in the appropriate manner.

Howard Conder said the programmes would be looking at both sides. He obviously visited the CancerResearch UK website. He must have missed the pages which show that:

(Source: CancerResearch UK)

These results haven’t been achieved by quack diets. They’ve been achieved by hardworking, dedicated scientists using evidence based medicine to relieve suffering.

Feeling Tired ………….?

……………. having trouble getting up? Feeling run down and stressed? You could be suffering from adrenal fatigue! Never heard of it? The term was coined in 1998 by Dr James L Wilson to describe the symptoms produced by “sub-optimal adrenal function”. Dr Wilson is described as “an expert on endocrine imbalances and their impact on health ….” and is “a scientist as well as a physician”. Another of his claims to fame is that  he is one of the founding fathers of the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. Go to his website http://www.adrenalfatigue.org/ and you will be able to buy lots of “cures” for this condition. For example, Adrenal Power Powder is available for the bargain price of $58.95. A quick look at the list of contents suggests it is no more than a mixture of vitamins and minerals, most of which would be readily available in a normal balanced diet. The very small print tells the more observant reader that “This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.” That’s just as well because according to the Endocrine Society, an organisation which represents 14 000 USA endocrinologists, the disease does not exist. “Adrenal fatigue” is not a real medical condition. There are no scientific facts to support the theory that long-term mental, emotional, or physical stress drains the adrenal glands and causes many common symptoms.

So, invent a disease, sell a cure (which isn’t a cure), and make lots of money.