Weekend Reading: Long Weekend Edition

It’s the Labour Day Long Weekend! Here in Canada, the water is low, the leaves are starting to change colour,  and it’s time to go back to school. Enjoy the last few hours of summer. Here’s a few articles of interest, and some topic updates:

Coenzyme Q10: One of the most popular posts here at SBP is on Coenzyme Q10 for statin-induced muscle pain. In Australia, a pharmacy has been ordered to withdraw a pamphlet that recommends conezyme Q10 be used by those that take statins because of “misleading claims.” Here’s what Australia’s National Prescribing Service says about coenzyme Q10:

No clear evidence of benefit
No trials have shown that taking a Co-enzyme Q10 supplement with a statin prevents myalgia. Randomised controlled trials of Co-enzyme Q10 to manage statin-associated myalgia have conflicting results and do not support routine use with statin therapy.

PalMD implores you to Stop wasting money on fake medicine:

Most people have heard of these therapies and assume them to be relatively mainstream and effective, but the evidence is disappointing. Chiropractic, while popular, is based on a failed 19th century theory of “subluxations” that block the flow of vital energies. While some studies have found modest efficacy for low back pain, the bulk of the evidence shows chiropractic to be useless, and sometimes harmful. Naturopathy is another failed hypothesis about vital energies that somehow affect our health.  Naturopaths often bill themselves as primary care doctors and claim that their education is “medical school plus”. The evidence shows that nautropathic education is not only deficient in science-based medical facts, but the practice is a chaotic “hodge-podge of mostly unscientific” therapies.

Resveratrol for cancer? You’ll be a fat drunk before wine saves you from cancer, new Israeli study shows.

Neti Pots: Is rinsing your sinuses safe? I’ve blogged about neti pots before and have been cautiously optimistic that they can be used safety and effectively in some circumstances. A recent FDA warning cautions:

The agency is informing consumers, manufacturers and health care professionals about safe practices for using all nasal rinsing devices, which include bulb syringes, squeeze bottles, and battery-operated pulsed water devices. These devices are generally safe and useful products, says Steven Osborne, M.D., a medical officer in FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH). But they must be used and cleaned properly. Most important is the source of water that is used with nasal rinsing devices. Tap water that is not filtered, treated, or processed in specific ways is not safe for use as a nasal rinse.

Some tap water contains low levels of organisms, such as bacteria and protozoa, including amoebas, which may be safe to swallow because stomach acid kills them.  But these “bugs” can stay alive in nasal passages and cause potentially serious infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Improper use of neti pots may have caused two deaths in 2011 in Louisiana from a rare brain infection that the state health department linked to tap water contaminated with an amoeba called Naegleria fowleri. (Emphasis added)

Thalidomide Maker Apologizes After More Than 50 Years.

Traumeel – It’s a homeopathic remedy used for the treatment of aches and pains, with no actual medicinal ingredients or convincing evidence of efficacy. Yet this pharmacist, who happens to sell Traumeel, seems to think it works.

  • Cherry picking evidence? Check. “There are trials supporting its efficacy.”
  • Non-sequiter? Check. “We need better alternatives to OTC and Rx pain therapies.”
  • Argument from antiquity? Check. “It’s been around in Europe for 60 years, and for good reason.”
  • Anecdotal evidence? Check.  “It works for me.”

For a take on the regulatory failure that allows products like Traumeel to be sold, see Slipping through the Cracks: Health Canada, Traumeel, and Homeopathy.  Paul Ingraham has an excellent review at his blog entitled  Does Traumeel Work?

“Traditional” Chinese Veterinary Medicine – A Modern Fairy Tale On the distortion of Chinese veterinary medicine.

Should the Canadian Government Pay for CAM? Michael Kruse looks at the cost-effectiveness and value-for-money of paying for therapies not established to work, or established not to work.

Why Do Cyclists and Other Athletes Dope? An interesting read from skeptic and former competitive cyclist Michael Shermer.

Rob Breakenridge on how the Alberta government undermines its own vaccination message.

Fetal Lead Exposure from Ayurvedic Medications. Note that the CDC recommends that all pregnant women that take Ayurvedic products should have lead levels measured.

Photo from flickr user mstephens7 via a CC licence.