Beware of alt med – It’s a dirty business

Paul Offit has a new book coming out. It certainly looks worth checking out.
Book raises alarms about alternative medicine

The 12-year-old girl arrived at the hospital wracked with abdominal pain.

Doctors diagnosed her with acute pancreatitis, in which pancreatic enzymes begin digesting not just food, but the pancreas itself.

The most likely cause of the girl’s condition: toxic side effects from more than 80 dietary supplements, which the girl’s mother carried in a shopping bag, says Sarah Erush, clinical pharmacy manager at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where the girl was treated last summer.

The girl’s story illustrates the serious but often little-known risks posed by some forms of alternative medicine, a loosely regulated industry that includes everything from herbal supplements to crystal healing and acupuncture, says Offit, author of Do You Believe in Magic? The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine, being published Tuesday

She was being treated for chronic Lyme disease. With supplements. That made her sick. Ponder that. It’s a clear lesson that “natural” (whatever that means) is not better and that self-treatment by non-science-based practitioners (or know-it-all parents) is NOT better.

This article is a very important expose of the hazards of the poorly regulated industry of dietary supplements. Thanks to certain members of Congress and a huge lobby of those in the industry to want as little regulation as possible. That would be OK if this wasn’t a problem. It is a health problem, we find these stories every week of people making terrible and uniformed or misinformed health choices. And also as the article notes, the alt med industry is not concerned as much about healthy people as making money. The science shows that much of these products are ineffective or potentially harmful. Is that ethical to keep promoting them based on belief and poor evidence?

It’s about damn time someone raised an alarm on alt med. It’s slid through scrutiny for a long time and those of us who know it has no basis in reality and no clinical data to support these treatments have felt a bit like outsiders in the Western world where alt med is “not harmful” or “works for me” (both nonsense).

This is a very important article. Also mentioned: Dr. Oz, Joe Mercola, Stanislaw Burzynski, and Rashid Buttar. Book mark it, pass it on.

And, as always, we recommend you research alternative or complimentary treatments to see THE POTENTIAL PROBLEMS, not just the promoted benefits. Use these two sites:

Science-based Medicine
Quackwatch

  3 comments for “Beware of alt med – It’s a dirty business

  1. Bob
    June 18, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    I’ve read a chapter. It was mostly right. :)

  2. Chris Howard
    June 18, 2013 at 3:32 PM

    I’m just glad to see that all the work that you, and Brian, and all the others in the community have done is starting to filter into the mainstream. Thanks for your tireless work.

  3. Chris Howard
    June 18, 2013 at 3:33 PM

    And you as well Bob. Thanks for your contribution.

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