Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Homeopaths are dangerous for your health

Let's be frank here - I have little love for pseudo-scientists and people promoting quackery of any type, but I reserve a special dislike for homeopaths.

Why you might ask?

Well, first of all, because of their ways of distorting scientific and medical research to support their ridiculous claims, even when their whole discipline flies against everything we know about science.

It's also because of their smugness, claiming that scientists (and science-literate people) are close-minded and unable to face the truth and/or in the pocket of "big pharma" (never mind the fact that homeopathy is a billion dollar business with practically no costs involved).

But mostly it's because of the danger they pose to the people they fool with their pseudo- and anti-scientific nonsense.

This danger comes not in the form of the so-called remedies they offer, but through convincing people that those remedies can cure things better than real medical remedies. Of course, homeopaths will claim that they are not saying that people shouldn't use those remedies, but that is bullshit. If you convince people that your remedy works better than normal remedies, without the side-effects that real medicine has, then obviously people will choose to use your remedies instead.

So, what set this rant off? Well, Edzard Ernst linked this page in a tweet. Warning: it takes you to natural news, which is a quack website of the worst order.

The title of the page is "Homeopathy may offer the best radiation treatment" - this is a dangerous claim, and hopefully no one who believes it will ever be in a position to make a decision based upon it.

As bad as the headline is, the content of the article might be even worse.

Homeopathy is a truly diverse and deeply effective natural health care system for every illness under the sun. Including radiation. How is this possible?

That's easy: it's not. One useful advice is that if someone make a claim that something can cure everything, don't believe them. It's simply not possible. Even anti-biotic, the life-safer with a wide range of uses, is useless against many things.

Homeopathic treatment doesn't treat the illness. It treats the person (or animal) with the illness. There is a subtle, but deeply important difference. And it means that the labeling of an illness is of little importance to homeopaths.

What exactly is the difference between treating an illness and a person? None of course. It's not like medicine makes the illness feel better, rather it either kills of the organisms responsible for the illness or it heps the body able to fight back.

So no, there is no difference, and to claim so, is bullshit.

But first it's important to realise that as we are all mortal, not every person can be curatively treated.

That's the only honest thing in the entire article.

Although much good can be done by experienced homeopathic home prescribing, protecting against radiation poisoning may not be one of them. This is much too serious.

"may not be one of them"? Radiation poisoning is the effect of exposure to ionizing radiation in too high doses - how the heck is sugar pills or water going to protect against that? The only protection is to avoid it (or to have some kind of barrier).

The best protection from this problem, which will probably be with us for many years,

Oh really - probably "for many years"? Yes, I'd think so - radiation exists in nature, and it's not like we humans haven't helped create more radioactive stuff.

is to ensure you improve on other areas of health care, such as

- a species specific, quality, natural diet
- a quality natural supplement, preferably a plant based superfood, which also has detoxing capabilities, such as blue-green algae, chlorella, spirulina
- exercise regularly
- if you are in the fast lane, slow down, perhaps learn to meditate
- make quality time for you (to smell the roses) or take up something you love to do, perhaps always wanted to do, but never had the time or money

Notice something about all these advices? None of them are any help in avoiding radiation poisoning. None. Some of them are quite sensible for avoiding stress and other lifestyle related disorders, but for radiation? You got to be kidding me.

With this healthy regime in place, the likelihood of suffering bad radiation poisoning will lessen, even in the worst affected areas.

No. You could probably argue that general health have an effect on how badly affected you will be, but in bad cases the poisoning will be fatal, no matter how healthy you are.

People who suffer from radiation sickness tend to have some symptoms which will be common to everyone (the early ones are nausea and vomiting, followed by headache and fever). Even these early signs are common to other illnesses, such as food poisoning and gastric flu.

These can then be followed by dizziness and weakness, symptoms that are still common to other less serious ailments. Finally you can experience blood in the vomit and stools, hair loss, chronic infections and poor healing capability.

All of these symptoms are only for milder radiation poisoning (with a fairly large survival chance). The more severe poisonings also includes things like purpura, cognitive impairment, and even ataxia.

These are all common radiation sickness symptoms that you can see in people who are receiving radiation treatment.

Except much worse of course, as people receiving chemotherapy are getting radiation under much more controlled circumstances, and in smaller doses than what trigger radiation poisoning.

The more uncommon symptoms, which will point to your most appropriate homeopathic medicine may include any of the following:

- an enormous fear of death which prevents you sleeping
- an aversion to being on your own
- a desire or aversion for a particular food or drink, including its temperature
- worsening of the complaints during a specific time of day or night
- an increased intolerance to variations in environmental temperature
- if the complaints are more one sided
- the nature of your nausea (constant or intermittent)
- the nature of your vomit (saliva, undigested food, frothy, black, bloody, etc)
- how you feel after vomiting (better, no improvement)
- along with many others.

None of these symptoms have anything to do with radiation poisoning. None.

I think I have found the source of the confusion - the author of the article is confusing radiation poisoning with anxiety. Since anxiety can often be helped with placebo treatments, homeopathy could probably help there. Radiation poisoning on the other hand, can't be treated by placebo.

Because of the complex nature of health and the seriousness of radiation sickness, the best treatment may come from an experienced and knowledgeable homeopath. S/he will base your treatment on a variety of your personal symptoms and traits. It is targeted for you specifically. Ten different people who suffer from radiation sickness are each likely to receive a different medicine.

Let me make this very clear: radiation poisoning is extremely rare, and usually only occur under circumstances where the risk is well known. If you somehow happen to be unlucky enough to somehow be at risk of radiation poisoning seek medical help immediately. Don't go to a homeopathy quack who offers platitudes about targeting you specifically - if you really are poisoned you a) won't be helped by placebo, b) won't have much time to get proper help. Yes, you can survive milder forms of radiative poisoning without medical intervention, but your survival chance will rise drastically if you get proper treatment.

Whether your radiation sickness comes from the environment or from a medical treatment, you can lessen it or perhaps cure it completely, with good homeopathic treatment.

No, you can't. You really can't. Claiming otherwise is lying, and it is dangerous to the health of others.

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Anonymous cbeck said...

After reading this, I wondered if any homeopaths were suggesting walking around with an Iodine IV drip to avoid poisoning by radioactive iodine. Although a quick google search didn't find any such thing, it did find an ABC forum where a poster recommended:

"If you want to switch to homeopathy start taking Baryta Carb 30C ...first day 6 times ...then 4 times a day.

You might see progress before you go for the operation...and then might decide to give up the operation."

Which I think brilliantly describes the level of intelligence of your average nutjob, er, I mean, Homeopath.

April 12, 2011 9:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, this reminds me far, far too closely than I like of a conversation I overheard last week, where two people were discussing whether one of them would go for the 'medical route' or 'alternatives' in treating her newly-diagnosed cancer. It's things like that- and what you describe regarding radiation sickness- that are the very very real dangers of alternative therapies. It feels like I constantly hear people asking what the harm is in therapies that are little more than placebo. The problem isn't in the sugar pills. It's in the lack of real, lifesaving interventions.
Does the head in, doesn't it?

April 25, 2011 1:48 AM  
Blogger -blessed holy socks, the non-perishable-zealot said...

I notice most atheists don't have any followers. Why is that? --- We know, don't we, we A-L-L must succumb to our demise someday at sometime (that da fak, Jak -Bill Murray) - even atheists will accept that premise; however, you can deny God all you wish even till death, friend, yet that still doesn't deny the Final Judgment God proclaims to U.S. on how well YOU have lived this meeesly, earthly, finite existence. Better turn around and join Christianity... or you're more-than-likely to take the LEFT path into Hell. I'm just Warning you, dude. Not trying to judge you or nthn. I love you and I would GREATLY like to see you Upstairs for eternity at my BIG-ol, kick-ass, party-hardy celebrating our resurrection for maaany eons. But, alas, your choice. Jesus does NOT interfere with your free-will (though, He'll send you a gobba choices). God bless you. See ya soon.

April 05, 2012 11:16 PM  

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