alternative medicine

The harms of alternative medicine: what we see is just the tip of the iceberg

Many people seem to think that the value of a therapy is determined by its efficacy: a treatment that is…

Beware the believers: why it’s a problem if researchers only ever get positive results

One of the most obvious questions in any type of healthcare is ‘does this treatment work?’ If we want to…

Why debates with alternative health gurus so often turn ugly

‘They would say that, wouldn’t they?’ This bon mot has been attributed, not entirely correctly, to Mandy Rice-Davies giving witness…

Sorry, alternative health people: feeling better after a therapy is no proof it works

For more than two decades, I have been in regular contact with practitioners of this or that alternative therapy. Whenever…

North Korean wonder drug

From cow urine to a North Korean wonder drug: the weirdest alternative health stories of 2016

Picking out the highlights in alternative medicine in 2016 got me thinking for quite a while. There have been many…

Leah Wood

Alternative medicine kept Ronnie Wood young? You could have fooled me

Leah Wood, the 39-year-old daughter of Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood, has become an activist for alternative medicine. In an…

Dubious health claims thrive online. Here’s how to avoid them

The media have long had a keen interest in alternative medicine and report regularly on the subject. But all too…

slapping therapy

‘Slapping therapy’ death: don’t say alternative medicine is harmless

Any therapy that is not supported by sound evidence showing that it generates more good than harm should not be…

How to fool the public with a clinical trial that can’t fail

When it comes to testing whether a therapy works, the randomised clinical trial (RCT) is usually the methodology of choice.…

holistic

Real doctors are ‘holistic’. Alternative practitioners are anything but

One of the most common claims of alternative practitioners is that they take a holistic approach to healthcare. It is…

Germany’s ‘alternative’ clinics offer false hope to cancer patients like Leah Bracknell

It was reported last week that the ex-Emmerdale actress, Leah Bracknell, has started a campaign to raise funds for alternative…

Iridology: Prince Charles may like it, but the evidence shows it’s bogus

Ignaz von Peczely (1826-1911) was a Hungarian physician who entered the history books for one of the most bizarre ideas in…

Eight slogans that quacks love to use: if you hear these, find a proper doctor

In the first of this two-part article, I discussed six popular tricks of the quackery trade. Some readers pointed out…

When will pharmacists stop selling bogus medicines?

Occasionally, pharmacists invite me to give a lecture about alternative medicine. The aspect I am always keen to debate with…

Are all alternative therapies useless? Not quite. Here are three that work

In my last article I stated that alternative treatments are therapies that either have not been proven to work or…

Noel Edmonds thinks his odd machine cures cancer. This is old mumbo-jumbo

Noel Edmonds has been all over the UK media in the last few days — not because of his quiz…

The internet is full of nonsense ‘cures’ for cancer. Don’t be taken in

When given a diagnosis of cancer, most people understandably go into some sort of mental shock. The prospect of many…

I used to think homeopathy was helpful. Now I’m a critic. So what happened?

As a young doctor, almost 40 years ago, I worked for several months in a homeopathic hospital. This experience impressed…