False Balance: With Pseudo-Medicine “Controversial” is used instead as “Nuts”

False Balance: With Pseudo-Medicine  “Controversial” is used instead as “Nuts”

The Olympics has seen its share of useless pseudo-medicines. There was Michael Phelps with his cupping and Japanese sprinter Chisato Fukushima who used skin patches to

help draw out the natural healing ability of the body by placing them on the acupuncture points based on Oriental medicine.

Perhaps she should have tried cupping as she finished last. Medically useless, she did not even get a Felix Felicis effect.

Usain Bolt goes one further, seeing a "Controversial Doctor" who uses a form of injection therapy, what looks to be a version of mesotherapy, that combines homeopathy and acupuncture.

One of the doctor's favorites is a type of injection called Hyalart, which is extracted from the crest of fowl cocks from the Caribbean. He also injected honey or actovegin, which is an amino acid-rich concoction extracted from the blood of veal calves, into injury sites to help alleviate pain and lubricate sites such as knees and hips.

When you read the reports you have to wonder why anyone with a bit of understanding about physiology would expect these injections to have efficacy.  I would describe it as nuts. That elite athlete allowing this can also only be described as nuts.

Of course there is no data or prior plausibility to think this intervention would work. The lone genius, working in secrecy with no rigorous published trials to demonstrate efficacy or lack there-of. Same as it ever was.

Instead there is a bit of placebo effect, a bit of ignoring Feynman's admonition about the ease of fooling yourself, bit of mistaking association with causation, and a big chunk of thinking that the plural of anecdote is data.

It is my experience and I talk about empirical medicine. And when you do so many cases, then it is a sort of science. You can't say it is nonsense, not after so many years of successful work.

Yes I can.  It is nonsense. 

I have said for years that the three most dangerous words in medicine, especially when applied to therapeutic efficacy, are "in my experience" and that if a practitioner uses those words as a reason for treatment find another practitioner ASAP

I see no reason to change that approach here.

Points of Interest: 08/19/2016
Points of Interest 08/17/2016

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