Sunday, November 29, 2009

The "Alternative" medicine trash heap

I think it is a horrible waste that the US spends so much money to fund the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) which investigates non-scientific modalities, many of which have no prior plausibility so would not normally even qualify for scientific investigation.  I prefer the term Supplements and Complementary and Alternative Medicine for the category of woo because it has a better acronym (SCAM) -- thanks to Mark Crislip for that.

However, one good thing is that they have tested out many of the common "remedies" and supplements that many Americans take and have succeeded in disproving them.  The trash heap now contains at least:
Other non-remedies to add to the list are:
Oh, and Airborne is chock full of a bunch of woo and is not going to be effective so don't give those thieves any of your money.  Also, Airborne contains 100% of your RDA of Vitamin A, but if you take up to the maximum recommended "dose" of Airborne (every 3 hours, or 8 times/day) you will get 8 times the RDA of Vitamin A.  And excess vitamins can be harmful as a new study shows specifically with Vitamin A.

And if you thought that Zicam was safe, watch out.  It can cause a complete loss of smell and taste.  So although it _may_ have a modest affect for the common cold, I don't think that the risk may outweigh the benefits.

Also, if any substance has a pharmacological effect on the human body, then _it is a drug_  And you should tell your doctor when you are taking these things because they can have drug interaction effects just like any prescription drug.  Some can be very dangerous to not tell your doctor about.  And as with any drug, they can have side effects.

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