[Discussion] Medical Quackery

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This is a follow up to the thread "Medical quackery in the US upsets me very, very much". The aim of this current thread is to take up the discussion on medical quackery (widening the scope since the US isn't the only country concerned), discuss news item pertaining to it and the potential responses to address it.
The definition of medical quackery is not up for debate and includes, among others, homeopathy, vaccine skepticism, naturopathy, crystal healing, psychic healing.

I was going to post in the old thread, but hey! New D&D section!

Came across this news item this week and it just breaks my heart:
European region most skeptical in the world on vaccine safety
Largest ever global survey of vaccine confidence maps attitudes across 67 countries

The new study, published in EBioMedicine, is led by researchers from the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, together with co-authors at Imperial College London and the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore.

Nearly 66,000 people were surveyed across 67 countries to discover their views on whether vaccines are important, safe, effective, and compatible with their religious beliefs.

Although overall sentiment towards vaccines was positive across the countries surveyed, the researchers found significant variation in attitudes around the world.

The European region had seven of the ten countries in the global sample that were the least confident in vaccine safety (France, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Russia, Ukraine, Greece, Armenia and Slovenia). France was the country least confident in safety, with 41% of those surveyed disagreeing that vaccines are safe, more than three times the global average of 12%. France was followed by Bosnia & Herzegovina (36%), Russia (28%) and Mongolia (27%), with Greece, Japan and Ukraine not far behind (25%).

The Southeast Asian region was most confident in vaccine safety across countries, including Bangladesh (fewer than 1% did not think vaccines are safe), Indonesia (3%) and Thailand (6%).

The authors say the negative attitudes in France may come as a result of a number of controversies in the country over the past two decades, including controversy over suspected side effects of the Hepatitis B and HPV vaccines, and hesitancy among a significant proportion of GPs as to the usefulness of some vaccines.

I weep for my fellow countrymen. I knew there was skepticism in France, but I didn't know we'd come out ahead (or behind, rather...). I can confirm that there have been controversies lately, namely on the supposed link between the hepatitis B vaccine and multiple sclerosis, and there was a couple of "increased fatigue" cases in young girls when the HPV vaccines came out. The courts threw the cases out.
And then there was the H1N1 vaccine debacle when our Minister of Health ordered 50 million vaccines "just in case" and people were incensed, because how dare the government force people to get vaccinated.

In keeping with the thread's scope, here's what we currently have in place, safeguard to stem the tide of obscurantism. All children admitted in public daycare (which is the vast, vast majority of daycares) MUST have had their vaccinations as required by the government: diphteria, tetanos, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, whooping cough, haemophilus influenzae, at the very, very least.
There have been very, very few cases of doctors falsifying records, but the last time a pediatrician got caught, he lost his license. Aside from forcing people to get vaccinated, we have to keep doing what we do: explain how important this is.

I had seen an article about this pop up in one of my social media feeds this past week. I can't find it now, but the headlines was along the lines of "You think America has a problem with vaccines? You should check out France!"

Speaking of medical quackery and former P&C, Dr. Oz will be going over Trump's test results.

sometimesdee wrote:

Speaking of medical quackery and former P&C, Dr. Oz will be going over Trump's test results.

So, still not releasing his own medical records, just talking with another TV personality who sometimes plays at his "job" in the real world too.

Or as John Oliver would say "Hey, check this sh*t out with some guy named Mehmet".

Part of the reason SEAsians (and probably Bangladeshi) are very confident about the safety of vaccines is because we actually have poor coverage, so herd immunity is not a given. Blame corruption. We have measles and mumps outbreaks. We see how bad things can go. I have actually seen a case of measles meningitis, which should be outstandingly rare in a covered population. So people see how bad it can be, and the very occasional bad side effect or even more rare serious complication becomes extremely acceptable.

Frankly, I do not know how to combat that. Once it gets past a generation, people as a group forget why vaccines are necessary and start having stupid impressions about how things could be. Generally, they grossly underestimate how bad things could get. Maybe we ought to think about having Science History in class.

That was my assessment as well, that countries which don't have sufficient coverage still remember just how bad it can get. We're seeing better coverage with some diseases more than others (perhaps we'll even see eradication of poliomyelitis in our lifetime, here's hoping!).
But overall, some countries should really check their privilege when it comes to vaccines.

*grumble* Offshore firm accused of publishing junk science takes over Canadian journals

with such shining examples of published works as

The paper’s rambling abstract claims that the United Nations and governments around the world are adopting a “new strategy of population control” that includes “chemically-induced sterility and morbidity.”

The article’s conclusion? “All epidemics and pandemics of the past 30 years are fabrications of the UN system and its partners in crime.”

the last thing patients and doctors need is a push towards publishing more bs, conspiracies, and woo and less medical science :/

Walking into my son's orthodondist's building and see signs for other offices...

Dr. Blahblahblah - Chiropractor

I barely restrain myself from walking into their offices and proclaim "You know you're not Doctors, right?! You insult Doctors, every time you print that!" (I'm including PhD holders in the insulted group - Engineers, Geologists, all of them, not just MDs).

Just as much a Doctor as Motley Crue - Dr. Feelgood, indeed.

I shall now be known as Doctor_LoveGun!

Not all chiropractors are quacks. It really depends on their treatment philosophy.

Wink_and_the_Gun wrote:

Walking into my son's orthodondist's building and see signs for other offices...

Dr. Blahblahblah - Chiropractor

I barely restrain myself from walking into their offices and proclaim "You know you're not Doctors, right?! You insult Doctors, every time you print that!" (I'm including PhD holders in the insulted group - Engineers, Geologists, all of them, not just MDs).

Just as much a Doctor as Motley Crue - Dr. Feelgood, indeed.

I shall now be known as Doctor_LoveGun!

They still have doctorates.

According to Wikipedia (probably "close enough") - 87% enter the chiropractic school with a baccalaureate degree (unspecified, could be in Art, for all I know), 3% with a graduate degree - so 10% get in with no degree at all.

I can get into (the main chiropractic school in Canada) with a (minimum) 2.50 GPA in 90 credit hours of undergraduate university study. No mention of what courses. Walk out the other side of 5 years of their training with a D.C. (doctor of chiropractic). The W.H.O. requires 4200 combined hrs of class, lab, and clinical experience.

I feel like I'm not making a point, just rambling.

TIL - doctorates are everywhere, and very few apply to healthcare. In it's most broad term = "allowed to teach" in subject X.

So psychologists are also quacks?

90 credit hours would take 3 years to accumulate, and the WHO's 4,200 hour requirement would be met with a 5 year program.
Getting a medical doctorate in Canada isn't much different

Psychology is Healthcare, isn't it?

I'm not arguing whether PhDs exist, or aren't relevant, they absolutely are, but I think my point is that "Dr." is being used as a marketing/legitimacy term - the (sweeping generalization incoming) public view the term "Doctor" as "medical professional" (usually with some sort of sub-specialization - surgeon (neuro/cardiac/etc), Family Medicine, Pediatrics, Psychology/Psychiatry (one can prescribe medication, the other can't), etc...).

Nerds (ie: me, and probably most of us), will accept a "Dr. Henry Jones (PhD in Archeology (or was it anthropology, or both?))" for instance, but ask Joe America what a doctor is, and it's "lab coats and stethoscopes."

Is it time to start being a bit more granular in or labeling of such? "Henry Jones PhD Arch."

I don't know...

Chiropractic is healthcare too, at least according to both of our countries' governments, insurance companies, and many of their medical institutions.
The big problem is the efficacy many of them claim to have for fixing health problems. The good ones will admit that mostly they can just offer temporary relief from a problem, and point you in the right direction to actually fix the problem. They can get your back/shoulder/neck to stop hurting, but can't get rid of whatever caused it to hurt in the first place. They'll send their patients home with exercises and information they can use to address the root of the problem, so they won't need to be doing regular visits for the rest of their life, but the good ones are few and far between. (edit - and most patients won't follow through anyway, so even the good ones get repeat customers who'd rather just go once or twice a month than make a lifestyle change)
So if you're going to hate on chiropractors, make sure you're doing it for the right reason, and not because "they're not real doctors."

A chiropractor pretty much saved my life when I was young; my back was a shambles, and he was able to put me back together, and show me how to keep myself running. I have a problem where the uppermost bone in my neck (the atlas, I believe it is) tends to rotate out, which causes a reflexive twist halfway down my back, and then a counter-reflexive twist at the bottom, which can very rapidly and thoroughly cripple me. (I was in a pretty severe bicycle accident as a young teen, which may have been how the original damage was done.)

Solution: if my back is at all sore, massage the atlas back where it's supposed to be. It doesn't move far, maybe a quarter inch at most, but that's enough. My back feels better within a couple of hours. (well, for this specific problem, anyway, I can still pull my back like anyone else can, and the atlas trick doesn't work for anything but fixing the problems it creates.) I don't need to pay anyone to do it for me, either, I can do it myself.

I doubt any regular MD would have figured that particular trick out. My quality of life would have been enormously worse if I hadn't gone to him as a teenager.

That strikes me as a physiotherapy... how many physiotherapists are petitioning governments for primary care status? Chiropractors are - they want (as a broad group) to be your physician.

Well, I can say for sure that this particular guy was not qualified to be a primary care anything, but he was very, very good with backs.

He also had books like 'Sharks Don't Get Cancer' in the waiting room. So you had to be, um, kind of careful about which of his opinions you paid attention to.

What it strikes you as is irrelevant. That's what chiropractic care is. The quacks are somewhat* easily identifiable because they think they can do more than that.

*Some will advertise their woo-ness for everyone to see, others won't reveal it until your first visit.

Also, Google tells me quite a few physiotherapists are trying to get primary care status, either by being integrated into primary care teams, or by being allowed to be primary care provideders themselves

ah yes, the old "sharks don't get cancer" ..except for all the times they do and

the slaughter of millions of sharks via the industry for shark cartilage pills, which are sold to desperate cancer patients under the false pretense that they can help reduce or cure their illness.

that results.

I suspect sometimes patients bring and leave this crap in waiting rooms but I don't hesitate to bring the "Dr." mercola crap I find in the cancer center to reception to see how they respond or deal with it. If they ever implied they put it there or wanted it to be taken seriously by patients I'd say 'oh, guess I can skip these appointments and just take more vitamin D then, bye" and walk out to find somewhere better suited to dispensing care.

What it strikes you as is irrelevant. That's what chiropractic care is.

Well, I'm here to tell ya, not all of it. Without the diagnosis of the twisting my neck does, I'd have had a lifetime of pain. I was seeing regular doctors too, and they had nothing for me but Flexeril and maybe Vicodin.

Malor wrote:
What it strikes you as is irrelevant. That's what chiropractic care is.

Well, I'm here to tell ya, not all of it. Without the diagnosis of the twisting my neck does, I'd have had a lifetime of pain. I was seeing regular doctors too, and they had nothing for me but Flexeril and maybe Vicodin.

My response was to Wink claiming that what the chiropractor did for you struck him as just physiotherapy. There's overlap, but that doesn't mean that all the actually effective things chiropractors do is really just them practicing unlicensed physiotherapy.

Oh, I understand now, I missed the context there. I'm sorry.

With regard to chiros being primary care, though? At least from my own limited experience, that's an appallingly bad idea. I can recognize and respect the sheer good that mine did for me, while simultaneously realizing that he'd have been one of the worst possible choices for most other ailments.

I agree that many chiropractors promise more than they're qualified to deliver. However, they are still doctors, albeit with limited scope. If Joe America (or, in Wink's case, Joe Canada) can't figure out that not all doctors are MDs, that's his problem. My elementary school principal had a doctorate, but even six-year-old me knew not to go to her to treat any illnesses.

Malor wrote:

Oh, I understand now, I missed the context there. I'm sorry.

With regard to chiros being primary care, though? At least from my own limited experience, that's an appallingly bad idea. I can recognize and respect the sheer good that mine did for me, while simultaneously realizing that he'd have been one of the worst possible choices for most other ailments.

Same here. The one my wife went to before her current one was good at recognizing the limitations of what he can do, but after having a heart attack he started recommending all sorts of woo for the stuff he couldn't.

If I recall correctly, states vary wildly in how chiropractors are licensed. In some states anyone listed as a chiropractor will be pretty dependable as people to go to to help with back issues. In others, a large proportion of chiropractors focus exclusively on woo.

Because ... SCIENCE!!!!!!!

The FDA finally released it's policy on homeopathic labeling, and the news is very good.

Makers of over-the-counter (OTC) homeopathic drugs and products that claim to cure or treat ailments will now have to clearly disclose in their advertisements and labeling that: 1) there is no scientific evidence that they are effective, and 2) that any claims of effectiveness are only based on homeopathic theories, which are not accepted by modern medical experts.

glad to see the FDA take a stance but I'm guessing more fine print on labels is not going to sway anyone :/

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