To Be Confirmed

Archive for June 2009

I have been taking part in a debate recently on Richard Wiseman’s blog after his post Chiropractic evidence: The curious case of the missing study.

This basically follows on from the British Chiropractic Association who are suing Simon Singh for libel following his comments in a guardian article.

Wiseman points to a controlled study by Olafsdottir and colleagues in 2001 which showed that chiropractic manipulation of the spinal cord worked no better than a placebo when treating infantile colic. This is of course key to the central argument of Simon Singh’s article which is that the BCA do not have the evidence to back up (no pun intended) their claims that they can treat certain types of childhood illnesses.

Richard Wiseman questions;

Yesterday I put in the search terms ‘chiropractic research infant colic’ into Google, and looked at the chiropractic sites that offer evidence about the efficacy of the chiropractic treatment for infant colic. I couldn’t find one that described the Olafsdottir study.

Of course, it is up to them which evidence they list, but I would have thought that a major study like that deserved a mention somewhere.

A perfectly reasonable question to ask and yet in the comments a couple of chiropractors/chiropractics (which is it?) have posted various comments complaining about the LACK of studies published and claiming that they have loads of studies just they are all sat on shelves of hundreds of universities about the land. They complain that big pharma are evil and that it’s all about money. None of the comments tackle the negative study or answer Richard’s initial question as to why chiropractic instiutions fail to mention this study.

Ignoring the evidence and arguing completely irrelevant and alternate points, attacking the source of the argument rather than the argument itself and changing the subject to attack other professions. These are the actions that we are used to seeing from homeopaths, creationalists and cults and now these are the actions we are seeing from chiropractors.


With all the negative press teenagers get the media would have you believe that Britain’s kids are out of control, knife wielding, hooligans with nothing better to do than take drugs and earn themselves an ASBO.

Well this little study  conducted by Penguin books suggests that perhaps they aren’t all that bad after all, they are happy to say that family and friends are more important than religion and 59% are insightful enough to suggest that religion “has a negative influence on the world”.

That has brightened up my Tuesday afternoon.

This is seriously going to piss off all those creationists who laugh at the idea dinosaurs evolved into birds.

Got to love the evidence; although the artists reconstruction does look a little like it is a two headed monster. There is two of them there right?

Thanks to @Richard_Dawkins on Twitter for the link.

Yes that’s right, according to the British Homeopathy Association from June 14-21 is Homeopathy Awareness Week. Presumably the less of us that know about it the more powerful effect this week will have on the community.

So to help raise awareness here are the two basic rules of homeopathy;

Like cures like, so if you take something and it makes you alert, like caffeine, this will cure you if you are having trouble sleeping. Seriously I’m not making this up.

The more you dilute something, traditionally in water, the stronger it becomes.

Home made homeo

Take 1 part caffeine to 30 parts water then shake, then add 30 parts water another 100 times, keep shaking, and you have your very own homeopathic sleeping remedy! Lucky you.

This is the nonsense that the NHS decided to spend millions of tax payers cash on last year. And to think of the fuss we made over the expenses scandal!

Stories like this depress me, so a freedom of information request by More4 News revealed that the NHS are spending millions of pounds on a treatment that time and time again has shown to work no better than a placebo.

I especially detest the ridiculous arguments made in defence of this clear shameful promotion of a pseudoscience. Check out this gem from David Peters, director of integrated medicine at the University of Westminster;

The overarching question is what is the NHS prepared to pay for? The people who go to the homeopathic hospital go there because they want to and they like it. They say it makes them better, it makes them feel better.

Well that maybe so David but I can think of plenty of things that I like doing that make me feel better, should I get the NHS to pay for them as well?

All we want is a health service that provides care and treatment that is backed up by evidence, is that so much to ask for?