Naturopathy and Homeopathy Update

New Concerns Raised about Naturopath Prescribing

A large coalition of seven Canadian allergy organizations recently wrote to the British Columbia Minister of Health, George Abbott, protesting the plan to allow naturopaths to perform allergy testing and treatment. See their letter here. (PDF)  They make important comments about the serious potential impact on individual health as well as public health issues related to giving non-science-based individuals an expanded role in health care. Two of the most important are:

  • “Unproven (e.g. electrodermal vega) and inappropriate (e.g. specific IgG to foods) testing methods are presently being carried out by Naturopaths for the diagnosis of food allergy. The use of such methods at the same time as food challenge testing can result in confusion and a diagnosis that is not evidence based. “ Vega testing is non-science based and completely bogus.  It is apparently banned in Canada, but that does not stop naturopaths from openly advertising the testing.
  • “Naturopaths’ lack of support for immunizations may extend to inappropriate beliefs that children are “allergic” to immunizations or components of their material. This has the potential to decrease herd or community immunity and increase the risk for epidemic disease. “ Kudos to the coalition for pointing out that naturopaths have been reported as being anti-vaccination – a point already acknowledged by the BC government!.

Why should pharmacists care about naturopaths, and naturopath prescribing? Because as a science-based profession, pharmacists need to speak up for the rational use of medications.

Homeopathy Awareness Week

While HAW has already passed, Dr. Steven Novella wrote an excellent article on homeopathy: its unsupported premise, its lack of efficacy, and why this elaborate placebo system seems to persist. Unfortunatly, pharmacies are a big part of problem when it comes to homeopathy. As I’ve pointed out before, pharmacists that endorse homeopathy are one of the biggest obstacles to keeping pharmacy a science-based profession.

Plus, if you didn’t already see this, here’s what might happen in a homeopathic emerg (CAN) /E.R. (USA) /A&E (UK):

Keep Libel Laws Out of Science: The Simon Singh Affair

free debate

What’s the icon above about? You may have noticed it on the Science-Based Pharmacy website for the past several weeks. Simon Singh is a science writer who wrote about the British Chiropractic Association, and their stated claim that chiropractors can treat childhood conditions, like colic.  His comment, published in the British newspaper The Guardian, was as follows:

The British Chiropractic Association claims that their members can help treat children with colic, sleeping and feeding problems, frequent ear infections, asthma and prolonged crying, even though there is not a jot of evidence. This organisation is the respectable face of the chiropractic profession and yet it happily promotes bogus treatments.

The BCA was offered the opportunity to respond in writing in the Guardian. Instead of providing evidence to support their claim, the British Chiropractic Association decided to sue Simon Singh for libel. English libel laws are probably the most difficult for bloggers, authors, skeptics or anyone that critically appraises evidence, as the burden of proof lies on the defendant, not the group alleging libel. Continue reading

Preventing and Treating Macular Degeneration: Is TOZAL the Answer?

tozal

Nobody wants to lose their vision. Once you hit age 65, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of vision impairment/loss, affecting about 1 in 5 people. [1] [2] There is some evidence that vitamin supplements can help protect your eyes. But can a new supplement actually improve your vision? If you have seen the marketing for the TOZAL supplement, you might think so. Let’s look at AMD, the science supporting supplements, and then the clinical study conducted with TOZAL. Continue reading