Reimagined and Revamped. Fighting the spread of nonsense often feels like a Sisyphean task. However, the joy is in making the information available, not the hope of conversion.

Needling a Dead Horse

I woke up a little early today (mostly because I realized my car got towed last night, ugh) and was noodling around the internet. Then, in through one of my feeders, came this. Its amazing that this crap still gets published. Lets start out with the main claim.

Acupuncture can be used to help relieve the pain of cancer patients, as well as the nausea and vomiting induced by chemotherapy, a leading acupuncturist said on Monday

Wow really? This is amazing news! A leading acupuncturist said that acupuncture is good for something? What will happen next, a psychic will say that astrology can predict someone's future? Will a water dowser claim that water can be found using dowsing? Oh wait, don’t tell me, a homeopath will announce to the world the drinking pure water with nothing in it will have the same or better effect on disease than medicine with active agents!

"China has been using acupuncture as a form of anesthesia for 2,600 years," said Wang Caihong of Shanghai University's Traditional Chinese Medicine Institute, adding that the technique had an extremely long and well-tested history in China

Well she is right about some of that. It does have a long history, and that history has lead to such amazing life spans as 30 years. The same as bloodletting as a practice was giving us. I’m not sure that the word “tested” means what she thinks it means. Bile from a bears gall bladder was “tested” for just as long, is that a good treatment for something also?

"Nausea is caused by a blockage in circulation and acupuncture can relieve that," she added.

Nausea is not caused a blockage in circulation, and acupuncture doesn’t do anything to your circulation, it supposedly affects non-existent energy. Nausea comes from your brains confusion between what your eyes are telling it and what your ears (in the vestibular apparatus) are telling it. This can happen from motion, or from food poisoning or other things.

Wang is part of a team of Chinese doctors who are helping to set up an acupuncture center for cancer patients in Hong Kong's Prince of Wales Hospital.

Well that’s a shame for the resident's of Hong Kong who will be paying for placebo treatments.

An increasing number of studies and clinical trials in recent years in Western countries have shown that acupuncture may actually work better than painkillers for people with chronic headache or those who are recovering from major surgeries such as those for head and neck cancer.

Excuse me? Do I live on the same planet as the writers of this article? There may in fact be more and more studies showing acupuncture efficacy. But more bad studies don’t make it more right. I think there is an expression, a growing pile of shit doesn’t eventually turn into gold. Well, done studies, like those that include blinding (its hard to double blind acupuncture), and fake retractable needles, or using sham acupuncture points all show the same thing. Fake acupuncture works the same as real acupuncture, both are placebo. I shouldn’t even have to link since this is all over the internet as well as detailed in Trick Or Treatment (which I am reading and is very good in laying out how we know what we know with respect to medicine).



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