1 The Wit & Wisdom of Harriet Hall,M.D. the SkepDoc Top Te Thigs You should Kow AbouT AlterAtive Medicie 1 alterative v. covetioal MeDicie I m a equal opportuity skeptic. I m skeptical about alterative medicie, pseudosciece, ad quackery; but I apply the same stadards of skepticism to covetioal medicie. I do t write about covetioal medicie so much, because I do t eed to. Sciece itself is iheretly skeptical ad scietific medicie is self-criticizig ad self-correctig. Whe better evidece comes alog medical practices chage.
2 2 Swie flu vaccie fearmogerig Betwee April 15 ad July 24, 2009, there were 43,771 cofirmed ad probable cases of H1N1 iflueza ( swie flu ) i the U.S. There were 5,011 hospitalizatios ad 302 deaths, 39% amog those aged 25 to 49, i cotrast to the usual flu where 90% of the deaths are i people over age 65. The ati-vaccie zealots are scary. They are ot isae, just self-deluded ad misguided. I hope the swie flu wo t develop ito a reprise of 1918; but if it does, the false iformatio these people are spreadig could be resposible for a great deal of death ad sufferig. These people are irresposible fearmogers. They are wrog, ad they are dagerous. D.D. Palmer, a grocer ad magetic healer, iveted chiropractic o September 18, He did somethig to a deaf ma s back. The ma said he could hear agai. This is particularly iroic, because the erves to the ear do t go aywhere ear the spie, ad o chiropractor today claims to be able to cure deafess. Chiropractic theory is based o three priciples: (1) boy displacemet causes all disease; (2) displacemet iterferes with erve fuctio; (3) removig the iterferece allows Iate (a vitalistic force) to heal the body. All three of these priciples are false. (1) Chiropractic subluxatios have ever bee demostrated; (2) No impairmet of erve fuctio has bee documeted; (3) No such vitalistic force has bee detected. 3cHiropractic: a little physical therapy, a lot of osese 4 vaccies ad autism: a DeaDly MaufactroverSy There is o vaccies-autism cotroversy. The evidece is i. The scietific commuity has reached a clear cosesus that vaccies do t cause autism. There is, however, a maufactroversy a maufactured cotroversy created by juk sciece, dishoest researchers, professioal miscoduct, outright fraud, lies, misrepresetatios, irresposible reportig, ufortuate media publicity, poor judg-met, celebrities who thik they are wiser tha the whole of medical sciece, ad a few maverick doctors who ought to kow better. Thousads of parets have bee frighteed ito rejectig or delayig immuizatios for their childre. The immuizatio rate has dropped, resultig i the retur of edemic measles i the U.K. ad various outbreaks of vaccie-prevetable diseases i the U.S. Herd immuity has bee lost. The public health cosequeces are serious ad are likely to get worse before they get better a load of uscietific osese has put us all at risk.
3 There s evidece that several thigs might be goig o with placebos: expectacy, motivatio, coditioig, ad edogeous opiates. (1) Expectacy: If we expect to feel pai we are more likely to feel pai. If we are told to expect a strog pai-killer, we re more likely to get pai relief. (2) Motivatio: Patiets who are strogly motivated to get well are more compliat ad follow health advice more coscietiously. Ad patiets who are more compliat about takig their placebo pills regularly get a stroger placebo respose. (3) Coditioig: People lear to associate pills ad medical treatmets with relief of symptoms. (4) Edogeous opiates: pai-relievig chemicals produced i the brai mimic the effects of opium-like drugs (morphie, etc.). There is some evidece that whe patiets respod to placebos, their brais produce more of these chemicals. Imagig studies have show activatio of opioid receptors i the brai whe people are told that a placebo is a paikiller. 5 the placebo effect 6wHat to eat: food. ot too MucH. MoStly plats Orgaic has become a meaigless buzzword; I flich whe I see it o a label: it iclies me ot to buy that product. What we really wat is sustaiable agriculture that does miimal damage to the eviromet ad produces food that is utritious, tastes good, ad has o uecessary cotamiats. Orgaic food as curretly defied does t ecessarily achieve those goals. Produce may have bee trucked log distaces usig up fossil fuels ad makig it less fresh tha local produce; it may cost more ad ot look as pretty. It may ot use lad efficietly. Abset pesticides, plats may produce higher levels of atural pesticides for self-defese could that be bad for us? Sometimes locally grow foods that are ot techically orgaic are a better choice. We should ask questios rather tha reflexively buy orgaic. 7HoMeopatHy: Still crazy after all these years Homeopathy was iveted by Samuel Hahema i the late 1700s. It is based o the ow-outdated priciple that like cures like, ad the more dilute the dose the better i homeopathy. How dilute? Serious dilutio, as i comparable to oe drop diluted i all the water o Earth. Whe they realized that o molecules of the origial substace were left i most homeopathic dilutios, homeopaths ratioalized that the water must remember what it had come ito cotact with as i clusters of water molecules somehow holdig the memory of their ecouters with the allegedly curative substaces. Ufortuately, homeopaths have failed to explai how water ca remember what it s supposed to remember, ad forget all the other memories of comig ito cotact with various trace cotamiats, elemets, bacteria, ad what ever else happeed to float by at the time. I m rather fod of my recipe for the the Commo Cold colum: start hope that the water remembers the homeopathic Oscillococcium from my Curig with duck liver, dilute the duck out of it, ad duck. I my opiio, all that leaves is a quack.
4 PAN. 8acupucture There were origially 360 acupucture poits (based o the umber of days of the year rather tha o aatomy). Curretly more tha 2000 acupucture poits have bee discovered, leadig oe wag to commet that there was o ski left that was ot a acupucture poit. There were either 9, 10, or 11 meridias take your pick. Ay umber is as good as aother, because o research has ever bee able to documet the existece of acupucture poits or meridias or chi. Acupucture has bee show to work to relieve pai, ausea, ad other subjective symptoms, but it has ever bee show to alter the atural history or course of ay disease. Studies have show that acupucture releases atural opioid pai relievers i the brai: edorphis. Veteriarias have poited out that loadig a horse ito a trailer or throwig a stick for a dog also releases edorphis. Probably hittig yourself o the thumb with a hammer would release edorphis too, ad it would take your mid off your headache. 9but it S atural, ad atural is good! Whe you really stop to thik, is there ay reaso a remedy should be better just because it s atural? There are plety of atural poisos, from hemlock to strychie. Plats have to protect themselves from predators, ad they have iveted quite a array of chemical defeses. We go orgaic out of cocer for artificial pesticide residues i our food, but atural pesticides make up 99.99% of the pesticides i our diet. Plats have o itetio of helpig us. If there s a chemical i a plat that s medically useful to us it s ot atural: it s uaturally good luck. 10 Detoxify this! People who wat to detoxify ofte do t have ay idea what toxis they re talkig about. They may vaguely believe that moder life cotamiates us with lots of bad thigs that we ought to get rid of. It s remiiscet of religious fastig ad purificatio rites. Orthodox Jewish wome go to a ritual bath (Mikveh) that restores them to purity after childbirth or mestruatio. Shamas used smoke for purificatio. Numerous religios observe periods of fastig. America Idias used sweat lodges for purificatio ad sacred ceremoies. It s mysticism, ot sciece. Our bodies come equipped with livers, kideys, stomachs, itesties, ezymes, ad metabolic processes that deal with toxis efficietly with o outside help. There is o medical evidece to support ay other methods or beefits of detoxificatio. THYROID CEREBRUM NOSE PITUITARY BLADDER STOMACH TRANS. coccyx N PINEAL NASAL CAVITY Sm. It. NECK KIDNEY DUODENUM ANUS ASAL CAVITY EYE LYMPH TRAPEZIUS solar plexus RENAL GLND. KIDNEY URETHRAL CANAL LUNG COLON SMALL INTESTINE RECTUM SCIATIC NERVE GENITALIA DESCENDING COLO HAEMORRHOIDALIS HEART SPLEEN E A R GALL B. KNEE SHOULDER
5 For more of our famous free dowloads visit skeptic.com: THE SCIENCE BEHIND WHY PEOPLE SEE GHOSTS Do you kow someoe who has had a mid alterig experiece? If so, you kow how compellig they ca be. They are oe of the foudatios of widespread belief i the paraormal. But as skeptics are well aware, acceptig them as reality ca be dagerous TOP 10 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE BY THE SKEPDOC, HARRIET HALL, M.D. Topics iclude: chiropractic, the placebo effect, homeopathy, acupucture, ad the questioable beefits of orgaic food, detoxificatio, ad atural remedies. WHO BELIEVES THEM? WHY? HOW CAN YOU TELL IF THEY RE TRUE? What is a cospiracy theory, why do people believe i them, ad why do they ted to proliferate? Why does belief i oe cospiracy correlate to belief i others? What are the triggers of belief, ad how does group idetity factor ito it? How ca oe tell the differece betwee a true cospiracy ad a false oe? LEARN TO BE PSYCHIC IN 10 EASY LESSONS TOP 10 MYTHS ABOUT EVOLUTION (AND HOW WE KNOW IT REALLY HAPPENED) If humas came from apes, why are t apes evolvig ito Psychic readigs ad fortuetellig are a aciet art a combiatio of actig ad psychological maipulatio. humas? Fid out i this pamphlet! " YOUR DONATION MATTERS SKEPTICS SOCIETY DONATION CARD Fudraisig, Wie Tastig, Dier, ad Star Parties YES! I d like to support the Skeptics Society i its efforts to ivestigate cotroversial claims & promote sciece & critical thikig. I am eclosig my tax-deductible support i the amout of: $25-$49 $50-$99 $100-$249 $250-$499 $500-$999 $1000 ad above Other $ Please make your check payable to the Skeptics Society. Mail this card to P.O. Box 338, Altadea, CA You may charge your gift by phoig 626/ , or fax the iformatio to 626/ Or doate olie at NAME ADDRESS CITY STATE ZIP PHONE NO. We accept: Accout No. EX. DATE Moth Year Sigature Prit ame EXACTLY as it appears o card The Skeptics Society is a 501(c) (3) oprofit corporatio ad all cotributios are tax deductible. F or doatios of $500 or more you are ivited to joi Michael Shermer i his cliff-side home whe he hosts a fudraisig dier party ad wie tastig evet. We ll have a spectacular suset view of all of Souther Califoria, ad a 8-ich Meade telescope for some star gazig that ight. Dates to be determied. To get o the list to be iformed of upcomig diers ofte with special guests call our office at 626/ Good cause, good fu. Joi us! Michael Shermer, Executive Director, Skeptics Society
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