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Alt-med woo kills a small child. Again.

Discussion in 'Health News and Research unrelated to ME/CFS' started by Sean, Dec 12, 2019.

  1. Sean

    Sean Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    https://www.theguardian.com/austral...six-year-old-died-undergoing-slapping-therapy
    I have no words, other than may Mr Xiao rot in jail for a very long time.
     
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  2. Barry

    Barry Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  3. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Wonder how much they paid for the privilege.

    Forms of slapping therapy are not unknown in custodial institutions.
     
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  4. Sean

    Sean Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Last edited: Dec 14, 2019
  5. Hip

    Hip Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    There word "again" in the title suggests alternative medicine is a common cause of death, but alternative medicine is used by around a third of the population in developed countries, with a fairly negligible fatality rate.

    This story is really about a nutter who thought that slaps to the body can cure any illness.
     
  6. Cheshire

    Cheshire Moderator Staff Member

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    https://www.cancernetwork.com/news/how-use-alternative-medicine-hurts-survival-rates-patients-cancer

    The Samoan outbreak of measles is partly due to alt practitioners who recommended not to vaccinate. Do I have to remind how many child died?
    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-50682881

    Is that negligible enough to you?
     
  7. Diluted-biscuit

    Diluted-biscuit Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Again is a word that should be used more often to counter the false belief that alternative medicine is harmless. It is not.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 14, 2019
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  8. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Doctors have faced the death penalty, I think, for similarly dangerous practices (laetrile), at least in the USA.
     
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  9. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Both regular medicine and alternative medicine have risks. Some forms of alternative medicine are just dangerous with no mitigating effects, just unfounded belief. Like laetrile.
     
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  10. Hip

    Hip Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Alternative medicine is in general incredibly safe.

    Of course, if someone foregoes conventional medicine where it is critically important, such as in this case of diabetes, and replaces it with alternative medicine, then of course you are asking for trouble. But it was not the alternative medicine that killed this boy.



    The increase in measles deaths is due to the beliefs of anti-vaxers, not to taking alternative medicine per se.

    And possibly the reason we have so many anti-vaxers is because medical officials have been economical with the truth about the safety of vaccination. They always say "vaccination is perfectly safe", or words to that effect. Whereas in fact there are adverse events following vaccination, and indeed, some estimates suggest around 1.5% of ME/CFS patients had their illness triggered by vaccination.

    People are not stupid, and if medical officials are obscuring the truth about the very slight risks of vaccination, the general public will cotton onto that, and that starts to create hearsay and suspicion. I think it is better to be scrupulously honest in these things. Medical officials should state something like "the chances of having a major adverse effect from a vaccine are very small, less than 1 in 100,000" (or whatever the correct figure is).

    Nothing is completely safe, and for medical officials to suggest otherwise is not wise. I think if medical officials were more honest with the general public, we would have more people happy to have vaccinations.



    But if you want to take the above vaccination story as evidence that alternative medicine does harm because an alternative practitioner was involved, well that logic can also be used to show that conventional medicine does harm too, as it was a medical doctor named Andrew Wakefield who was responsible for a huge amount of mothers shunning the MMR vaccine.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2019
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  11. Sean

    Sean Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I wouldn't go that far. But I can understand why some would want to.
     
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  12. Sarah94

    Sarah94 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I agree - it wasnt the "alternative med" that caused this child's death, it was the lack of conventional medicine.
     
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  13. Cheshire

    Cheshire Moderator Staff Member

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    The lack of conventional medicine was caused by the belief (widespread in alt medicine) that conventional medicine is chemical and dangerous and bad.

    Anti-vaxers tropes are part of alt medicine.

    And the article I linked to is pretty clear, it links to several studies, not anecdotes, that show there's a loss of life expectancy with the use of alternative medicine.

    And please, spare me your preach about conventional medicine. I know how bad it is. But alt medicine is even worse, because it uses untested medicine, or medicine that has been proven useless, despite clinical trials.
     
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  14. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I would say alt medicine has held the ME/CFS field back. From what I see, a lot of patients and their families have spent a lot over the years and very often donated nothing to medical research or be focused on raising money privately for research through fundraising, leaving money in their wills, etc.
     
  15. Hip

    Hip Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Some alternative medicine practitioners may have antivax views, and according to this paper (I am providing references for you!), this may influence the decision-making of their clients when it comes to getting vaccinations. But I would doubt if alternative medicine users as a group will have particularly strong views on this subject.

    And as I mentioned above, I think the antivax movement may well be fueled by the less-than-honest official statements about vaccine safety that come from scientific authorities.

    And don't forget, there's still a distinct possibility that the introduction of the poliovirus vaccine in the 1950s caused huge rise in the incidence of type 1 diabetes and ME/CFS in the decades which followed. Yet very little research is done on this possible major side effect of the poliovirus vaccination program.





    Have you ever spent any time
    pursuing alternative treatments for an ailment? Or when healthy, pursuing alternative treatments to improve physical or mental performance? If you are an athlete, or an academic looking to sharpen mental faculties, you will understand process of searching for herbs, supplements or off-label drugs which improve performance.

    There's no guaranteed success; supplements which work for one person will not work for the next.
    But if alternative medicine was a useless as you say, we would not need to have anti-doping agencies to test athletes for banned substances. And in academic circles, about 25% of university students and professors are using so-called smart drugs and supplements (nootropics) to improve mental performance.

    I understand why some people have little interest in alternative medicine, because often it is a hit and miss affair. However, unless you've got involved in the process of seeking out alternative remedies, I don't think you really understand the thinking behind it.







     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2019
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  16. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

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    Since context seems important to you, can I first point to my own background of about a decade immersed in alt. med. - as patient, practitioner and with wide contacts with other alt med practitioners a few decades ago.
    https://www.s4me.info/threads/my-experience-with-alternative-therapies-a-personal-journey.908/

    The paper you refer to is specific to Oregon in the USA. I think attitudes vary quite a lot around the world. Back in my alt med days the ones who were most strongly anti vax were the homeopaths who claimed to have alterative homeopathic versions but had no research evidence to back it. Such research would be unethical anyway as it would require large numbers to be deliberately unvaccinated and have to take into account herd immunity from those who are vaccinated.

    I don't think it's a good idea to spread rumours like this if you don't have solid evidence not just of an epidemiological association of rises of conditions over time, but of a causal link back to the vaccine.

    As far as I am aware the use of supplements and drugs off label is pushed to athletes by orthodox medical practioners and nutritionists, not by alt med practitioners.

    But I do agree with you that the sad case at the top of this thread was not alt med, it was crime.
     
  17. Hip

    Hip Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    OK, then you probably appreciate the general mindset involved in alternative treatments. I think a lot of that mindset comes down to having the patience and enthusiasm for trying different things. In my experience, most of the time, alternative treatments don't work; but maybe 1 time out of 10 you might find something that offers some (usually mild) benefits. So you have to be happy to accept it's a hit and miss activity, that's usually more miss than hit.




    I suppose that comes down to how one defines alternative medicine / alternative treatments. I tend to think of it as treatments which have not been sanctioned by licensing authorities like the FDA, or the MHRA in the UK.



    There is both an epidemiological association in terms of the timescale of appearance, as well as a plausible theoretical explanation for why the introduction of the poliovirus vaccination program may have led to the great increases in T1D and ME/CFS we saw in the decades since the 1950s.

    This paper on the incidence of T1D in Estonia and Finland details the theory. The study notes that T1D is 3 times less prevalent in Estonia compared to Finland. Now Estonia uses the live attenuated poliovirus vaccine (which is closer to a wild poliovirus infection), whereas Finland uses the killed poliovirus vaccine.

    Before the polio vaccine, most people would have been naturally exposed to wild poliovirus (poliovirus is usually caught asymptomatically), and this poliovirus infection then trains the T-cell response to effectively fight enteroviruses. But once wild poliovirus was no longer circulating because of the vaccination program, that anti-enterovirus T-cell training was lost. So then when later in life coxsackievirus B comes along, the body has a harder time fighting it off. So in other words, wild poliovirus was a sort of natural vaccination against coxsackievirus B. That's the theory anyway.

    As we know, both ME/CFS and T1D are associated with coxsackievirus B.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2019
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  18. Draggin'

    Draggin' Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Yes. This case is about frightened parents looking for an answer that was better than a lifetime on insulin, and a deeply dishonest pile of vileness that masqueraded as a healer of some sort. It boggles the mind that anyone, no matter how desperate, would ever think that roughing up a seriously ill child could have any benefit at all, let alone medical, or would subject their child to what without the trimmings and bells would clearly look exactly like child abuse.

    ----is because there are very real side-effects, some of them life-long, a very few of them lethal, from vaccinations and the 'Inactive' ingredients that form the bulk of their content.

    And, as another poster here commented (forgive me for not scrolling back to get the name, I'm really beat), because medical professionals treat their patients like children and lie to them, mislead them, or soft-pedal any potential dangers til they just melt away into jabbering mist.

    It's also because there are a lot of dim, malleable people around who will buy any lunacy that's presented to them if it's delivered by a smooth talker in a decent suit of clothes who's capable of reading their audience and guiding their pitch accordingly.

    In some cases. those attributes are enough to carry you to the highest offices in the land. Selling medical double-speak for profit is pretty much a stone cinch.

    Comparing the number of deaths from what can be called standard alternative medicine, like herbs, supplements of various sorts ranging from vitamins to isolated aminos and beyond; homeopathy; acupuncture; and several others I'm overlooking because of current brain fog, to the number of deaths calculated to have been caused by various failures of conventional Western medicine yields an interesting picture:

    "A recent Johns Hopkins study claims more than 250,000 people in the U.S. die every year
    from medical errors. Other reports claim the numbers to be as high as 440,000.
    Medical errors are the third-leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer."

    I'm pretty sure the next post or so is going to cite the potential errors/problems in that study, in spite of the esteem in which Johns/Hopkins is generally held, and point out how hard it is to actually nail down deaths by allopathy as opposed to say, medical misadventure or (one of the medical community's favorites here) failure of the patient to follow procedure and/or medication protocol, so let me say right now, I won't be responding. Too weary, too brain-dead, too tired of fighting every inch of ground.

    Just saying my tedious little piece before I trot off to attempt another bit of unrefreshing, interrupted, sporadic sleep.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2019
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  19. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    If not many people have died directly from alternative medicine approaches like homeopathy, one interpretation is that they not very medically powerful and are just placebos and the like. Drinking a little water by itself which is basically what homeopathy is in my mind, isn’t that dangerous.

    The fact that many medical interventions like surgery and medication can sometimes cause harm just suggests to me that they are powerful interventions.

    The benefits need to weighed up with the risks in all interventions of any sort.
     
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  20. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I would make a distinction between approaches like vitamins and supplements which are biochemically active and approaches like homeopathy which in my mind are just placebos.
     
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