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OT: Conventional v alternative medicine

Discussion in 'Single Player Forum' started by pharphis, Apr 3, 2015.

  1. pharphis

    pharphis IncGamers Site Pal

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    Posts prior to 7 April 2015 (post 32) were moved from the EMB. Thyiad

    This is the kind of thing that the educationally misinformed group of naturopaths tries to do:

    http://www.naturopathicdiaries.com/naturopathic-scope-of-practice-expansion-killed-in-north-dakota/

    Fortunately, we have some people who realized their naturopathic training set them up to believe in quackery such as homeopathy and are fighting against naturopaths who try to extend their scope of practice to primary care physicians.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 7, 2015
  2. pharphis

    pharphis IncGamers Site Pal

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    It's wordy but highlights some of the lies often pushed forth by naturopaths regarding their training and expertise and how it actually matches up to the training of real doctors...

    tl;dr:
    1) They spend way too little time learning real medicine, both in the class room and in a clinical setting
    2) Much of what they learn is absolute nonsense, including but not limited to Homeopathy, which is a MAJOR portion of their curriculum
    3) They're tested and licensed according to people only within their own profession (and chiropractors) and the tests that they make are not made public, so no one really knows how difficult the tests are or how much they even reflect reality
     
  3. kamap

    kamap IncGamers Member

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    Our physician practices "real medicine" and Homeopathy it does have its merrits but can't solve everything.
     
  4. kestegs

    kestegs D3 Monk Moderator

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    That's how I feel as well. My mom is a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine and even she admits that some things can only be cured by "real medicine"
     
  5. pharphis

    pharphis IncGamers Site Pal

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    homeopathy has NO merits. Maybe you don't understand what it is:

    1) take something you believe will cure something (like cure likes)
    2) Dilute it anywhere from 10^10 to 10^300 times so that there statistically can't even be one molecule of the supposed active ingredient
    3) Profit off of the sick

    The belief is that water somehow has "memory" .This disagree with simple physics which dictates that it changes its "memory" on the femtosecond scale

    Homeopathy is physically, chemically and biologically impossible.

    Here is just one video among many that addresses what homeopathy is and how absurd it is



    edit: The only thing homeopathic "medicine" can solve is dehydration, and there are safer, better regulated alternatives for that such as tap water

    edit 2: and ofc, the better the clinical trial (blinding, large number of patients, placebo controlled) show that homeopathy is no better than placebo. By every definition of the word "works", homeopathy does NOT
     
  6. pharphis

    pharphis IncGamers Site Pal

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    Just out of curiosity, did she have to go to school to be a doctor in TCM? Where? I'm wondering if this is just a specialization of training to become an ND, or something completely different.

    I think it's already obvious that I reject TCM as mostly pseudoscience
     
  7. kestegs

    kestegs D3 Monk Moderator

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    She went to school, like 4 years IIRC. It's a school in Denver, not sure what one though.

    Tcm is not homeopathic by any means. She gives purple natural herbs and does acupuncture.

    I think most people have a very different definition of homeopathic than you gave, I know I certainly do. Not saying I'm right, just saying that's not what I'd been led to believe.
     
  8. pharphis

    pharphis IncGamers Site Pal

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    My description may have been harsh but it's pretty indicative of what homeopathy is. IT literally is the dilution of something to a level at which none of it is remaining, and then either consuming the water leftover or sprinkling it on sugar pills for the solid alternative.

    Most people aren't working under a different definition from me. Most just don't know anything about homeopathy, except that anecdotally it's great! Ofc, anecdotes are meaningless when it comes to something that defies all our understanding of nature and medicine, and when the best trials prove it is no better than placebo.

    More here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeopathy#Evidence_and_efficacy

    As for TCM:

    1) herbs are at least plausible in helping various symptoms or diseases. We derive many great products from plants or synthesize them ourselves (ideal). However, it is generally much safer and efficacious to figure out
    a) what the active ingredient(s) are responsible for the medicinal effect and
    b) isolating and regulating those active ingredients to ensure consistent quantities and safety

    2) acupunture is a mixed bag of things, but in general it is
    a) based on non-existent "meridians" or "chi"
    b) the better the study is when evaluating acupuncture, it continuously shows that it is no better than placebo in effect, and that even the position of the acupuncture points do not matter (which makes sense given it's based on ancient mythology)

    This page goes into much more detail https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/reference/acupuncture/
    I'd like to also point out that although the large bulk of the literature on acupuncture is negative (doesn't work) that all papers coming from China are positive. 100%. This is clearly a systematic bias based on some kind of dogma. Either the negative trials aren't published because they're discouraged (this has a hint of truth for all medicine) or the Chinese are purposefully doing poorly designed studies.

    Ofc, it is not without risk, either. I found the below video to be fairly objective (honestly, too kind to acupuncture) and goes over one specific example of where toothpicks are better than acupuncture

     
  9. thefranklin

    thefranklin IncGamers Member

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    Pharphis is f'ing up my chi.

    Jet Li used acupuncture in "Kiss of the Dragon.". 100% real, no doubting it is real.
     
  10. Ariadne

    Ariadne IncGamers Member

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    It may be fytotherapy, which is herbal remedies that have been around for ages and are not diluted. In fact my own gp recommanded some pure herbal remedies as a relief for my non-life threatening symptoms, since the real medicins gave such nasty side effects.

    I've said this before and I'll say it again:
    1) Proper and decent alternative healers will never claim they can heal all kinds of serious ailments, but are often right in saying their therapies relieve the small annoying ailments we get in life - cramps, bad responses to certain foods. A good alternative healer will always first sent you to a real doctor to rule out anything serious.

    2) Real doctors often don't have the time and don't listen very well, people do sometimes get misdiagnosed and take bad medicins that make them sick when it's not going to help (worst case) or, with doctors not having the time, they are not helped with the side effects of real medicin which may also be helped by alternative healing. Also, often the attention and care proper and decent alternative healers give will help.

    3) The placebo effect is seriously underestimated. For smaller ailments you're better off with one as it does virtually no damage but wil help you feel better in the head. The regular doctors will often give you some bad medicin anyways. For a smaller ailment I once got a serious real medicin which made me so incredibly sick I had to phone up the emergency doctors but then was too sick to speak to them. Turned out, real medicin. Went to see a decent alternative healer, she gave me a good herbal remedy (no,not a watered down one) and was starting to feel better.

    Quacks and frauds must be dealt with, esp when they make terrible promises, but there are some good people out there, who want to help, don't charge you a ridiculous amount of money for it, and sometimes it helps. You can't take away people's choice to believe in something you don't believe in (unless as I said it makes serious bad claims, then it should be addressed), people have the free choice to do whatever they like.

    There are people who spent thousands of euros on a handbag just because it has a certain brandname on it (I am always amazed by that). I think that's also fraud, it's just a bag, maybe a good quality one but still. I think it's stupid. But that's my opinion, if people want to be that mental, who am I to tell them what to do?
     
  11. pharphis

    pharphis IncGamers Site Pal

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    1) Except naturopaths are sadly very often convinced that they know what is best for someone, and are brainwashed into believing that they have the expertise to deal even with the little stuff of which they rarely are, either. There is a ton of detail below on exactly how poorly trained naturopaths are. The "bad responses to certain foods" and other similar issues are vastly overstated by NDs, as well. They use bogus allergy testing extremely often to diagnose all kinds of allergies.
    http://www.naturopathicdiaries.com/an-inside-look-at-my-education-and-clinical-training/

    2) There will always be misdiagnoses. This is ofc unavoidable. However, would you rather put you money in with the crowd with the proper training and expertise, or with the crowd of people who believe they have the training but have actually invested money into becoming MISeducated on fundamental health topics (such as homeopathy being a main subject of their education). You're right that doctors don't have the time people want or perhaps deserve. This would be fixed by having more doctors or people trained specifically more towards something that requires more time, like a therapist. It's this extra time that gives the illusion of the ND being useful. Side effects are always clearly labeled on real medicine, which is highly regulated, unlike the alternative which is not. Just one more reason to not see NDs and other alt. med practitioners.

    3) Doctors consider it unethical to give placebos because it IS unethical. I don't consider this a problem. That said, would it not be better to receive cheap, or no treatment for minor issues than to receive something unregulated? Unregulated medicine = no proof necessary for claims made and does not even need to contain what the label says it does. Not only that, someone who has been miseducated is likely to diagnose some non-existent disease like "leaky gut" or one of many several others or allergies which ofc would spiral into a complete lifestyle change on no basis and at some cost.
    I can't say anything about your anecdote because I don't know anything about your health, the drug, or the herb. I wouldn't have the expertise, anyway. I'm sure you know why anecdotes aren't very useful in science, though.

    I figure 99% of alternative med practitioners want to help, but that doesn't make them able to. It may seem inexpensive but perhaps that depends on where you are and how your government deals with healthcare and alternative medicine. It seems to vary a lot with how much this kind of thing is covered and how expensive it is. IT certainly isn't cheap, and for example NDs usually have a policy of a general meetup for ~an hour when you first visit them. The likelihood that you'll be misdiagnosed in that time is pretty high, and the 1 on 1 time could be argued to be negative for this reason since the patient will be bound to trust them more and more. Alternative medicine practitioners technically shouldn't even exist. If it works, it's called medicine. It's honestly as simple as that and if it wasn't we wouldn't call these people "alternative". With most of the supplements and dietary advice given being unregulated and unfounded, they're unreliable when it comes to health. All to often NDs have co-opted diet and exercise and pretended that it is their own specialty. The fact is, they take bits of scientific truth and stretch it out with ton of unfounded nonsense. This isn't even to mention that NDs and chiropractors have a very high prevalence of antivaxxers, because vaccines go exactly against their dogma (especially chiros, who reject germ theory). The claims made are usually unfounded claims. It isn't just a small percentage of the claims they make. The evidence they use for their decision making is minimal, at best.

    edit: not to mention the homeopathic alternative to vaccines, nosodes
     
  12. kestegs

    kestegs D3 Monk Moderator

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    You act like real doctors and medicine is always right, while their diagnosis rate is in reality very bad. Couple that with the fact that doctors are essentially paid on commission, and will actually make less by curing you without surgery or long term prescriptions and I trust them a lot less than most people.
     
  13. pharphis

    pharphis IncGamers Site Pal

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    Perhaps you can cite evidence that NDs or other alt med practitioners diagnose correctly more often than doctors or even at a comparable rate? I find it incredibly unlikely to be true, given that their education doesn't reflect reality, so I'll require some strong evidence for that.

    I didn't say that real doctors and medicine is always right. I said that real doctors and medicine is evidence-based (at least 99% of it, anyway), whereas alt med doctors and medicine is NOT. Not even close. I will admit that many of the idea comes from poor studies or anecdotes which suggests they could maybe be useful, but poor evidence is exactly that: poor.

    Diagnosis of diseases can be difficult. That's why we should use the most evidence-based methods to do so. Perhaps you can give an actual number for "very bad" diagnosis rate. The only thing I'm aware of is the over-prescription of antibiotics which is a serious problem.

    Besides, it sounds as though your defense is "they're kinda bad, too" rather than "we're not so bad". My argument is that NDs and other alt med practitioners are SO bad as to be useless or detrimental. They shouldn't be allowed to practice on such pseudoscience and it's the scientifically illiterate (majority) who will suffer as a result.
    I understand you will have some bias in this because of your mother's job and background.

    So you think doctors are more likely to want to suggest surgery or long term prescriptions because of commission? How does this commission work, exactly? I know the US healthcare system is kinda screwy but I don't know the details. I will accept that a small minority of doctors are in the pocket of "big pharma" whether intentionally or not (it's easy to be kind to those who are kind back, through gifts, etc.)
     
  14. bodry

    bodry IncGamers Member

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    Would love to see a real reference to back up this sentence.
     
  15. Goldtru

    Goldtru IncGamers Member

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    In all cases, unfortunately, you have to educate yourself as best you can and be your own best advocate. I recall a long time ago that my ex came down with pneumonia because an ER doc erroneously concluded that he was gay based on where he lived and his profession (musician) and gave him a course of treatment that you only prescribe to people who have a specific kind of infection that's related to AIDS. He ended up terribly sick with a really bad case of pneumonia. It was something like that - my memory is a bit hazy.
    With chronic things like fibromyalgia you have to try and see what helps. My dermatologist said that if an alt treatment wasn't going to hurt, then he didn't see the harm in trying it.

    It's a thorny issue, no doubt about that. And I decree that we call Phar "The Professor" on account of all his lecturin' of us miseducated folks. ;)

    On another note, I had my first real sangria of the year! Yay!
     
    Dazliare likes this.
  16. kestegs

    kestegs D3 Monk Moderator

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    I never said that other methods necessarily had less errors, just that "real" doctors and medicine weren't as perfect a method as you make them sound.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/natio...71a374-9af4-11e2-a941-a19bce7af755_story.html This is one of the first articles I found about misdiagnosis, was not hard at all to find and it's well cited.

    Diagnosis of disease is indeed difficult, which is why you shouldn't claim to have the only method that works. Up to 20% of boys in school now are diagnosed with ADHD in america. But we can't even agree if ADHD is a real disease. I think that goes against your method that you claim they are using.

    I am not more biased because of my mother's background, I am more informed. I didn't just believe what society told me to believe, I formed my own opinion.

    Healthcare in America is indeed screwy. Doctors get kickbacks for prescribing more drugs, and they get silly amounts for a surgery. It's part of the American psyche to trust doctors blindly, and that's a recipe for disaster. I have no idea about any other country though.

    See above.
     
  17. pharphis

    pharphis IncGamers Site Pal

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    How do you determine if an alt treatment isn't going to do harm? Remember, we're talking about things that have little to no basis in reality and little to no evidence put forth in investigating their safety and efficacy. Would it not be better to sign up for a clinical trial for something with real potential (not many things make it to the clinical trial stages in science-based medicine) so as to better increase your chance of success and to be a data point for the future? While I think people should be advocates for themselves and be as informed as possible, the best way to do this is to avoid alt med and get multiple doctors' opinions.

    I "lecture" because I consider these topics super important, as I think you all do, as well. I'm not a doctor but I do have a background in science (Chemistry) and have spent half of my free time over the last 2 years reading, listening and watching scientific skeptics such as David Gorski, Aron Ra, concordance, Myles Power, and many others. We're all miseducated to some extent, which is why I recommend the browser app RbutR to everyone to help reduce the amount of misinformation we absorb. Keep in mind that there is good reason that scientific institutions don't take alt med seriously (and when they do, they are harshly critiqued for wasting time, money, and giving credibility to unscientific nonsense)
    Oh, and I have anecdotes, too:
    http://whatstheharm.net/
    If I made doctors sound perfect or near perfect, then I apologize, because that wasn't my intent. My intent was to illustrate the point that their medical practices are based on strong science and evidence. Their training is significantly longer and more inclusive of information that reflects reality than that of alt med practitioners (no homeopathy here!), and hence, they are more reliable than any alt med practitioner. That, and alt med practitioners aren't reliable at all, since their education is full of pseudoscience.
    Better ADHD controversy info here than regular google search. What I see is a consensus that ADHD exists in the literature, but I only skimmed the article. I didn't bother to read about over/misdiagnosis because I'll concede that it is probably one of the things doctors frequently do incorrectly. given the list of 5 items on the link I provided. The prescriptions are evidence-based and the existence of ADHD is evidence-based, however, so it is not unscientific.

    I don't think being the son of someone in the alt med community makes on more informed. I would argue for the exact argument, since you're likely to have heard a lot of anti-science propaganda over the year because that's what these people are led to believe after their 4 years or so of study. It's easy to allow confirmation bias and anecdotes convince someone that what they do is not only safe and effective, but better than the alternative, when you've been trained to think that way. For example, it seems like just about every clinical trial on something like acupuncture or homeopathy that doesn't show efficacy will have a conclusion that says "more study needs to be done". How much study is needed? Why didn't they just finally design a study with good sample size so they wouldn't have this excuse? Oh wait, the best-designed studies show no efficacy.

    This is the kind of propaganda I'm talking about:
    "It's part of the American psyche to trust doctors blindly, and that's a recipe for disaster. "
    How much do doctors get in kickback? I'm aware that some doctors have this issue and have admitted that. Is it really so pervasive that one should see an alt med practitioner who's diagnostic tools, treatment, and existence of disease are questionable to begin with?

    Ok, as for the misdiagnosis article. Yes, misdiagnosis is a big deal and it's hard to improve that. Unsurprisingly, the way to improve that is through scientific means. To quote a few parts of your article:

    “There is probably nothing more cognitively complicated” than a diagnosis, he said, “and the fact that we get it right as often as we do is amazing.”

    But doctors often don’t know when they’ve gotten it wrong. Some patients affected by misdiagnosis simply find a new doctor; unless the mistake results in a lawsuit, the original physician is unlikely to learn that he blew it — particularly if the discovery is delayed.

    Overconfidence in our abilities is a major part of the problem,” said Graber, who believes doctors have gotten a pass for too long when it comes to diagnostic accuracy. “ Physicians don’t know how error-prone they are.” (I highlighted this one because it exactly describes alt med practitioners.

    Anyway, since you have clarified your position,
    "I never said that other methods necessarily had less errors, just that "real" doctors and medicine weren't as perfect a method as you make them sound."
    can you tell me whether or not you believe that alt med practitioners (you can be more specific, such as TCM or NDs or whatever) are better at diagnosis than doctors?
     
  18. Ariadne

    Ariadne IncGamers Member

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    Pharpis, I'm sure you're a smart guy and you're probably much better educated than me, but all of that does not make you the right person to tell others what to do. My post specified that. I specifically ruled out frauds or people who want to harm others, or people who just want to make money from others. This includes doctors, alternative healers, anyone. I also said that alternative healers are no doctors and that proper ones will always, always first sent you to regular doctors for diagnosis, and that alternative healing will not cure major things but will make life easier in easying small symptoms and nuissances. No idea what makes you say I said that I think alternative healers should make diagnosis, idiotic idea.

    Doctors can be both benficial and harmful. Goldthru gave a good example. Over here, it's different. The medical industry is a big player but from my experience with bad diagnosis, it's very often doctors not caring, not wanting to spent a second longer on you than they have to, not wanting to look further than a quick generalisation.

    Frauds, in any business, must be dealt with. But someone who sincerely wants to help people will often end up helping up people by care and attention.

    Notice that this is the same point I made as I did with religion. Just because I don't belong to any church or religion doesn't mean I believe everyone else is wrong, or that it doesn't do good or that it doesn't help people. Just because it sometimes does harm, just because there are idiots who measure with two different standards (again Goldthru provided an excellent example) doesn't mean that everything about it is wrong or bad.

    You can't tell and order people what to believe, what to choose, and how to live their lives, unless you're a dictator of some sort. You don't like christians forcing their beliefs onto you - then restrain from forcefeeding your believes onto others. You're welcome to disagree, but it is not a matter of I'm right and you're wrong: it's a matter of opinion, and my uneducated, peasantgirl, pragmatic opinion is worth as much as yours.
     
  19. pharphis

    pharphis IncGamers Site Pal

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    I never suggested that I'm an authority on what people should and shouldn't do. My authority is scientific consensus (aka expert consensus) because that's the most reliable way of knowing the truth. When you want your car inspected and possibly fixed would you rather see a mechanic (expert) or a witch doctor (not expert) who claims that mechanics are all just in it for the money. The witch doctor deserves some credit, though, because a group of witch doctors all have "licensed" this witch doctor with their very own degree, but ofc unless you go through and do the training yourself you're not allowed to see what kind of education is necessary or what information is tested for on their licensing exam.

    I also don't think that the majority of alt med practitioners are frauds. I believe that most of them want to help people, and believe they are helping people. I also believe that they're mostly wrong and the best evidence we have (or lack of evidence) agrees with me (the scientific consensus).

    Placebo is not "helping" people as I've already said. It's unethical for doctors to give a placebo and it's unethical to charge for placebos. I understand that having a more one on one environment with your healthcare provider is ideal. The best way to do this would be to increase the number of real doctors so they have more time on average. That doesn't mean that the treatments or diagnoses provided by the one on one alt med practitioner is reliable, though. IF it is JUST the discussion that is helping, then we have therapists and support group things that people can try out instead, without all the baggage of "oh, you have leaky gut, so you should stop consuming milk or eggs or anything" and other dubious dietary or medical advice.

    My argument isn't that "they sometimes do harm" but that they are more likely to do harm than doctors because their education and training is not based in reality. they're also less likely to help, for the same reason. No treatment is without risk (by definition, it affects the body) and so it's best to receive treatments that have a basis in reality than those that do not.

    Actually, I'm fine with Christians discussing their beliefs with me because I've heard most of it all before already (this lies within the same hobby of scientific skepticism, more often than not) and consider it an important topic (like medicine). What I am against is non-secular laws (creationism in the science class, forced prayer and other silly things in school). I'm absolutely fine with the discussion as I think is evident by now. I can sympathize with evangelists in that they want to "save" people. I want to teach people to second-guess their reasons for believing things, because beliefs (even non-theological ones) do impact our lives and the decisions we make. I don't want people to believe in nonsense because it harms them and harms everyone else, too.

    It is not simply a matter of opinion, actually. Whether something is true or not is an empirical claim (does medicine X do Y?) and it is up to scientists and doctors to answer these questions. Whether or not you decide to take a certain treatment is certainly opinion and I agree with freedom of choice on almost everything (except perhaps vaccines... measles and polio could have been eradicated by now).
    Alt med practitioners are dabbling in those medicines that either 1) have been shown to NOT work (acupuncture, homeopathy, "healing crystals", etc.) or 2) have not been shown to work (virtually everything else which hasn't been studied).
     
  20. Ariadne

    Ariadne IncGamers Member

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    Your post is too long.
     

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