Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Your Tax Money Is Paying for Homeopathy Research

It's always worth asking - of the bad thinking that really sticks in your rationalist craw, which beliefs cause the most damage? Alternative medicine has to be one of the worst.

There is, and has been, funded government agency called the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. (It's part of the NIH for crying out loud.) It's not just homeopathy, but lots of other absolutely unfounded ideas. As Randi alludes below, the Chicago Tribune reported on this recently - and it's not just tax dollars, but human life, that's in the balance. Tom Harkin (D-IA) created the NCCAM; here's a piece by David Gorski on him.

From the Tribune article: "The researchers failed to inform the subjects that one risk of the treatment was death. In consent form documents, they made a confusing statement about the study drug, implying it was safer than it was." If there's a cardinal sin in medical research, it's deceiving patients like this.

Also interesting from the article: "The researchers overseeing the study stepped up background checks on the doctors involved after some physicians ran into disciplinary problems unrelated to the chelation trial. Two doctors consulting on the trial have been convicted of crimes." And: "In its 12 years of existence, NCCAM has found itself funding clinical trials of therapies with weak scientific foundations, from distant prayer as a treatment for AIDS to a risky regimen for pancreatic cancer involving coffee enemas." Here's James Randi:

Remember, what do you call alternative medicine that's proven to work? Medicine.

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