When it comes to quackery in Aus, all roads lead to …….. Alan Bensoussan? Aus supplements and the “Whitening Pill Scandal” in China.

This post was deleted at the request of the Australian company, Unichi – for the time being at least. There is absolutely no use in testing a Olympic athlete for steroids a month after the Olympics so I will do my best to get the original samples from China so that I can do independent testing, and based on those results I will re-post (or not) with the additional test results.

There are 3 scenarios that needs to be considered.

  1. It’s all a hoax
  2. The hormones was accidentally or intentionally added during production of the Rosehip complex.
  3. The product was laced with hormones anywhere within the supply chain – in this case the company would probably be unaware that this occurred.

In short. I need to get my hands on those samples.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vote Dr Kerryn Phelps for ‘Better Health’. No, wait, she supports Homeopathy! (updated with the role of HRH Prince Charles)

Better Health! Excellent, let’s vote for Dr Kerryn Phelps. But hold your horses. While most people will think in terms of improved diagnostics and better, safer, less expensive medications and improved accessibility, others such as Dr Phelps have a different agenda. For some people, usually having some financial stake in alternative healthcare, ‘better health’ unfortunately means that they will exploit the current problems/deficiencies in the healthcare system to promote less effective, or even completely ineffective, medications to the general public. One can almost call this their ‘unique selling point’. But when a medication is completely ineffective none of the other issues (diagnostics, cost, safety etc) matters, and yet people such as Dr Phelps continue to promote this. In my humble opinion, a criminal activity, because ineffective treatments cause unnecessary harm and death.

But she is a clever one. As a well-known public figure, she cannot do all of the dirty work herself because she needs to keep her image squeaky clean. So, to get behind the swing of the bat, it is worthwhile to have a look at her collaborators in what I call, an ‘unholy Alliance’, and their dark world of deceit. Dr Phelps is an adjunct at the National Institute of Complementary Medicine (NICM), headed by Prof Alan Bensoussan. She is also part of the NICMs advisory board and states on her campaign website: “Dr Phelps is committed to teaching the next generation of doctors as Conjoint Professor at University of New South Wales Faculty of Medicine and in the National Institute of Complementary Medicine at Western Sydney University.”

It is during these advisory board meetings, held in the herbal-essence filled back rooms at Western Sydney university, where they come up with their sinister plans of how to integrate ineffective treatments into the healthcare system. Let me put in plain language; ‘how to BS the public’. Let me explain at the hand of homeopathy (a next article will deal with vaccinations and traditional Chinese medicine).

Support for Homeopathy

Homeopaths are an interesting, although completely delusional, bunch of people – but they do have a very good sense of humour. They will for example take a substance, any substance (even imaginary ones), go into a state of delirium during a process called ‘proving’, and dilute the substance away – completely away. During this process they note their ‘symptoms/state of delirium/feelings’ which then becomes the indications, and like magic, the vial containing only solvent suddenly becomes a ‘medicine’. To understand their sense of humour, you just need to read about any ‘proving document’. Take for example the homeopathic remedy prepared from a Black hole. They affix a vial of alcohol to the viewing end of a telescope focused on Cygnus X-1’s location within the Cygnus constellation. After collecting the ‘substance’ they dilute it into oblivion with the delirious homeopaths taking this ‘medicine’ stating that it; “ … felt their teeth were “drawing inward.” So it makes perfectly sense that this homeopathic remedy is suitable to be prescribed for……..??

You also get homeopathic remedies prepared from; Excrementum caninum (yes, dog shit), condoms, colours, musical notes, Berlin wall etc. (Here you can find my top ten list of homeopathic remedies for 2017. If you can top any of these remedies, please let me know – I am busy compiling 2018’s list).  One might now argue that all these examples are on the extremities of homeopathy, and yes sure, but it doesn’t really matter. You can also take any well-known medicinal herb, or even a real medicine such as an antibiotic, but as soon as you ‘prepare’ it according to the homeopathic principles, the medicine disappears which will render even the most effective antibiotic useless. The sad reality is that some homeopaths prescribe their remedies for serious conditions such as malaria and cancer which obviously leads to a lot of unnecessary harm and death.

Sure, the biggest risk is indirect, due to neglecting serious medical conditions, but there are also examples when homeopaths go into such as state delirium that they sometimes manage to get their dilutions wrong. For example; many babies died and hundreds were hospitalised in the US after a toxic substance (deadly nightshade) was not correctly diluted. Clearly homeopathy cannot possibly be included within the ‘Better Health” campaign promise?

So how does Dr Phelps support and exploit this? She operates a number of ‘integrative medicine’ clinics where naturopaths, who are known for their love of homeopathy and anti-vaccination tendencies, are employed. A couple of years ago Dr Phelps made the following comments in an article regarding the funding of homeopathy:

Start of excerpt

Unfairly targeted?

But some doctors suggest homeopathy is being unfairly targeted.

“It smacks of a crusade to me,” says Professor Kerryn Phelps, president of the Australasian Integrative Medicine Association (AIMA), which promotes “the integration of safe, evidence-based complementary medicines and therapies with current mainstream medical practice”.

She does not believe homeopathy is having the kind of impact on private health premiums Harvey fears, and says there are “bigger fish to fry” when it comes to fixing the healthcare system.

Phelps says homeopathy can be easily criticised because it has a relatively small evidence base.

But, she suggests orthodox treatments are not subject to the same level of scrutiny.

“The Journal of the American Medical Association earlier this year produced a meta-analysis of SSRI anti-depressants in mild to moderate depression and found them no better than placebo,” says Phelps, who is Conjoint Professor in the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of New South Wales and a former president of the Australian Medical Association.

“If you are going to exclude treatments that don’t have an evidence base then we have to start looking at pharmaceuticals that don’t have an evidence base, surgical therapies that don’t have an evidence base.”

Matter of evidence

Dr Vicki Kotsirilos, who originally founded AIMA, says she is sympathetic to Harvey’s concerns but rejects some of his conclusions.

“To say that there is no evidence for homeopathy is actually incorrect and unfortunately a lot of people make those statements,” says the Melbourne-based GP, who points to evidence collected by the British Homeopathic Association.

“There have been systematic reviews that have shown that overall homeopathy is not anymore of benefit to placebo or of marginal benefit. But there have been some Cochrane Collaboration reviews that there is a little bit of research available for some therapies.”

She says some of the major studies quoted don’t properly take into account how homeopathy is used.

“When you prescribe homeopathy, it’s often individualised and you won’t use the same homeopathic remedy for one person with a particular disease to another person with the same disease,” says Kotsirilos.

She says homeopathy, and other complementary therapies, are particularly popular among patients who have suffered side-effects from medication, or where surgery is contraindicated.

“Out of all the complementary medicines it is the least understood, with the least amount of research,” says Kotsirilos, who calls for more funding for research.

“We need more research to be able to identify which patients might benefit from homeopathy and in what conditions, bearing in mind that there are people out there who choose to use this and we have to respect their choices.”

End of excerpt

(Vicki Kosirilos is obviously also part of this ‘alliance’ being a member of the NICM’s ‘Research Committee’). A couple of years ago the NHMRC did a thorough study on homeopathy and found it to be, surprise-surprise, ineffective and recommended that the public should not use homeopathy because they are putting their health at risk. This the Alliance cannot have, because it flies in the face of their plans to integrate ineffective remedies. The director of the NICM, Alan Bensoussan published a press release highlighting the ‘methodological flaws’ and that it doesn’t agree with all international reports on homeopathy etc. But it is during these advisory board meetings where they decide how and who should respond to this unfair ‘attack’ on their sinister plans (here you can read the minutes of one of their meetings). This job usually falls in the lap of Carl Gibson, the CEO of Complementary Medicine Australia – their attack dog.

He promptly published that the NHMRC report is “fatally flawed” and ends his press release with the prophetic words “Homeopathy has been around for hundreds of years, and I am sure will be around a lot longer than some of the critics.” Translated it simply means “We (Dr Phelps, the NICM and their whole alliance) do not accept that a complementary medicine is ineffective, and we will do whatever we can to continue to protect, promote and sell it”. They also lodged a complaint at the Commonwealth Ombudsman, claiming that the NHMRC report “…is inaccurate, highly misleading to the public and unjustly damaging to the credibility of the homeopathy sector. It is therefore essential that all published documents relating to the Homeopathy Review are rescinded in their entirety.” (there is some uncertainty about whether this complaint was actually lodged or not).

All that these people need to do is to plant the seed of doubt in the mind of the public, which is enough to ensure that people will continue to buy these ineffective remedies. Dr Phelps will continue to make real healthcare suspect, claim that her ‘medications’ are all natural, safe and evidence-based and that it will also save you a lot of money. But in reality, she and her Alliance does not give a hoot that people, including young children and babies, die because of what they are promoting – for them it is all about money!! (A good example of the type of people you need in such an Alliance is Prof Gregory Kolt. He was even found guilty of fraud; “As a result, the defendant fraudulently obtained a total of $5,864.15 from the Authority over a period of 14 months. When the matter was investigated, the defendant provided false information and documents.”)

A vote for Dr Phelps is a vote to give this unholy Alliance a foot in the federal door. She will provide easier access and opportunities for this Alliance to lobby government ministers in order to integrate their ineffective remedies with conventional healthcare. This, in my view, will be a travesty for the healthcare system. While homeopathy is one of the easier fake medications to debunk, Dr Phelps’s involvement and impact unfortunately gets a lot murkier. In a next article I will focus on vaccinations and how this alliance has infiltrated the World Health Organisation who now promotes, you guessed it, homeopathy and all sorts of other disproven and unproven traditional medicines.

An update (11/10/2018)

Clearly Kerryn Phelps have a cult – like following. People for whom she is a hero with her sword drawn riding on a rainbow coloured unicorn to save the day (so by the way, homeopaths also make ‘medicine’ from unicorns!)  After I’ve posted this article on Reddit some called it “total bullshit”, “complete raving madness” and the poor author a “crazy or a stooge”, “spineless bitch” “unhinged individual”. So, I just thought I’ll add some information because maybe, just maybe, I can convince some of her followers – yeah right.

Here is an interesting example. One of the biggest supporters of Homeopathy is none other than HRH Prince Charles. He apparently give his cows  homeopathic remedies in the hope that ………… I just don’t know. A wonderful technique that Dr Phelps and the unholy alliance exploit is called ‘Appeal to Authority’. This simply means that when a person such as Prince Charles say that he believes that medication X works, then many members of the public will simply follow his lead and up goes your sales.  Because when the future king of England say that something works then it becomes irrefutable evidence that it does work – for some people at least. So, the unholy Alliance tasked Dr Phelps to get Prince Charles on board as a Patron of the NICM in order to provide them with extra ‘credibility’ which will obviously lead to increased sales (you can read about it here – very interesting document).  I don’t think that he fell for it, probably because he does not want to be linked to a bunch of known cranks down under. But if memory serves me correct I might have sent them a letter warning them about the NICM and this might also have played a role in his decision not to join Kerryn Phelps and her unholy alliance.

Another example closer to home. When the NHMRC published their review on homeopathy one of the affronted groups in Australia that called for its immediate withdrawal was the ‘Australian Traditional Medicine Society’ (ATMS). The vice-president, Teresa Mitchell-Paterson, also happens to work in one of Dr Phelps’s clinics where she provides her naturopathic services. Have a look at the ATMS website under modalities to see what kind of quackery they promote. I just don’t know, but if you employ someone that will defend and promote homeopathy at all costs, then surely, I can claim that Kerryn Phelps supports homeopathy?

If you are a well-known scientist and you allow a tobacco company to list your name on their website, or for that matter, on an anti-vaccination website, then surely the public can infer from this that you lend your support to their products or ideas?  If you are listed as a spokesperson in a press release detailing a multimillion-dollar donation received from a complete crackpot then surely the public can infer that you support this person’s ideas? So, the unholy alliance received millions of dollars from Judy Jacka who is a esoteric energy healing crackpot with a healthy disliking of  vaccinations and a love for homeopathy and all other quackery you can think of. Western Sydney University promptly made her a Honorary Fellow (because maybe she will then give them more money). Judy is part of the ‘Health Australia Party’ (HAP) also known as the ‘lunatic fringe movement’. So, if any journalist reads this please ask spokesperson Dr Phelps, WTF? Please explain!! (Ah, maybe Kerryn is an undercover HAP agent!!).

She is a well-known public figure and therefore has to be very careful about what she says in public. She only says what people want to hear, in this sense not unique, because this is what most politicians do. But if you really want to know who she is, then it is far better to have a look at what she, and the people she associates herself with, does. In that ‘very interesting’ document you’ll also see that they have worked for many years to get the Chinese Communist Party’s linked Beijing University of Chinese Medicine to open a TCM hospital in Sydney. And just recently I’ve read about a person who died in Sydney because of TCM/acupuncture – the article is called ‘Dressed-up quackery…’ And yet this unholy alliance wants to integrate TCM with modern healthcare (I have investigated this issue quite extensively and you can read about it here, here and here.).

Any comments, suggestions, tips ect. welcome, because there is a lot more to come!

Vote Dr Kerryn Phelps for ‘Better Health’. No, wait, she supports………Homeopathy?

Better Health! Excellent, let’s vote for Dr Kerryn Phelps. But hold your horses. While most people will think in terms of improved diagnostics and better, safer, less expensive medications and improved accessibility, others such as Dr Phelps have a different agenda. For some people, usually having some financial stake in alternative healthcare, ‘better health’ unfortunately means that they will exploit the current problems/deficiencies in the healthcare system to promote less effective, or even completely ineffective, medications to the general public. One can almost call this their ‘unique selling point’. But when a medication is completely ineffective none of the other issues (diagnostics, cost, safety etc) matters, and yet people such as Dr Phelps continue to promote this. In my humble opinion, a criminal activity, because ineffective treatments cause unnecessary harm and death.

But she is a clever one. As a well-known public figure, she cannot do all of the dirty work herself because she needs to keep her image squeaky clean. So, to get behind the swing of the bat, it is worthwhile to have a look at her collaborators in what I call, an ‘unholy Alliance’, and their dark world of deceit. Dr Phelps is an adjunct at the National Institute of Complementary Medicine (NICM), headed by Prof Alan Bensoussan. She is also part of the NICMs advisory board and states on her campaign website: “Dr Phelps is committed to teaching the next generation of doctors as Conjoint Professor at University of New South Wales Faculty of Medicine and in the National Institute of Complementary Medicine at Western Sydney University.”

It is during these advisory board meetings, held in the herbal-essence filled back rooms at Western Sydney university, where they come up with their sinister plans of how to integrate ineffective treatments into the healthcare system. Let me put in plain language; ‘how to BS the public’. Let me explain at the hand of homeopathy (a next article will deal with vaccinations and traditional Chinese medicine).

Support for Homeopathy

Homeopaths are an interesting, although completely delusional, bunch of people – but they do have a very good sense of humour. They will for example take a substance, any substance (even imaginary ones), go into a state of delirium during a process called ‘proving’, and dilute the substance away – completely away. During this process they note their ‘symptoms/state of delirium/feelings’ which then becomes the indications, and like magic, the vial containing only solvent suddenly becomes a ‘medicine’. To understand their sense of humour, you just need to read about any ‘proving document’. Take for example the homeopathic remedy prepared from a Black hole. They affix a vial of alcohol to the viewing end of a telescope focused on Cygnus X-1’s location within the Cygnus constellation. After collecting the ‘substance’ they dilute it into oblivion with the delirious homeopaths taking this ‘medicine’ stating that it; “ … felt their teeth were “drawing inward.” So it makes perfectly sense that this homeopathic remedy is suitable to be prescribed for……..??

You also get homeopathic remedies prepared from; Excrementum caninum (yes, dog shit), condoms, colours, musical notes, Berlin wall etc. (Here you can find my top ten list of homeopathic remedies for 2017. If you can top any of these remedies, please let me know – I am busy compiling 2018’s list).  One might now argue that all these examples are on the extremities of homeopathy, and yes sure, but it doesn’t really matter. You can also take any well-known medicinal herb, or even a real medicine such as an antibiotic, but as soon as you ‘prepare’ it according to the homeopathic principles, the medicine disappears which will render even the most effective antibiotic useless. The sad reality is that some homeopaths prescribe their remedies for serious conditions such as malaria and cancer which obviously leads to a lot of unnecessary harm and death.

Sure, the biggest risk is indirect, due to neglecting serious medical conditions, but there are also examples when homeopaths go into such as state delirium that they sometimes manage to get their dilutions wrong. For example; many babies died and hundreds were hospitalised in the US after a toxic substance (deadly nightshade) was not correctly diluted. Clearly homeopathy cannot possibly be included within the ‘Better Health” campaign promise?

So how does Dr Phelps support and exploit this? She operates a number of ‘integrative medicine’ clinics where naturopaths, who are known for their love of homeopathy and anti-vaccination tendencies, are employed. A couple of years ago Dr Phelps made the following comments in an article regarding the funding of homeopathy:

Start of excerpt

Unfairly targeted?

But some doctors suggest homeopathy is being unfairly targeted.

“It smacks of a crusade to me,” says Professor Kerryn Phelps, president of the Australasian Integrative Medicine Association (AIMA), which promotes “the integration of safe, evidence-based complementary medicines and therapies with current mainstream medical practice”.

She does not believe homeopathy is having the kind of impact on private health premiums Harvey fears, and says there are “bigger fish to fry” when it comes to fixing the healthcare system.

Phelps says homeopathy can be easily criticised because it has a relatively small evidence base.

But, she suggests orthodox treatments are not subject to the same level of scrutiny.

“The Journal of the American Medical Association earlier this year produced a meta-analysis of SSRI anti-depressants in mild to moderate depression and found them no better than placebo,” says Phelps, who is Conjoint Professor in the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of New South Wales and a former president of the Australian Medical Association.

“If you are going to exclude treatments that don’t have an evidence base then we have to start looking at pharmaceuticals that don’t have an evidence base, surgical therapies that don’t have an evidence base.”

Matter of evidence

Dr Vicki Kotsirilos, who originally founded AIMA, says she is sympathetic to Harvey’s concerns but rejects some of his conclusions.

“To say that there is no evidence for homeopathy is actually incorrect and unfortunately a lot of people make those statements,” says the Melbourne-based GP, who points to evidence collected by the British Homeopathic Association.

“There have been systematic reviews that have shown that overall homeopathy is not anymore of benefit to placebo or of marginal benefit. But there have been some Cochrane Collaboration reviews that there is a little bit of research available for some therapies.”

She says some of the major studies quoted don’t properly take into account how homeopathy is used.

“When you prescribe homeopathy, it’s often individualised and you won’t use the same homeopathic remedy for one person with a particular disease to another person with the same disease,” says Kotsirilos.

She says homeopathy, and other complementary therapies, are particularly popular among patients who have suffered side-effects from medication, or where surgery is contraindicated.

“Out of all the complementary medicines it is the least understood, with the least amount of research,” says Kotsirilos, who calls for more funding for research.

“We need more research to be able to identify which patients might benefit from homeopathy and in what conditions, bearing in mind that there are people out there who choose to use this and we have to respect their choices.”

End of excerpt

(Vicki Kosirilos is obviously also part of this ‘alliance’ being a member of the NICM’s ‘Research Committee’). A couple of years ago the NHMRC did a thorough study on homeopathy and found it to be, surprise-surprise, ineffective and recommended that the public should not use homeopathy because they are putting their health at risk. This the Alliance cannot have, because it flies in the face of their plans to integrate ineffective remedies. The director of the NICM, Alan Bensoussan published a press release highlighting the ‘methodological flaws’ and that it doesn’t agree with all international reports on homeopathy etc. But it is during these advisory board meetings where they decide how and who should respond to this unfair ‘attack’ on their sinister plans (here you can read the minutes of one of their meetings). This job usually falls in the lap of Carl Gibson, the CEO of Complementary Medicine Australia – their attack dog.

He promptly published that the NHMRC report is “fatally flawed” and ends his press release with the prophetic words “Homeopathy has been around for hundreds of years, and I am sure will be around a lot longer than some of the critics.” Translated it simply means “We (Dr Phelps, the NICM and their whole alliance) do not accept that a complementary medicine is ineffective, and we will do whatever we can to continue to protect, promote and sell it”. They also lodged a complaint at the Commonwealth Ombudsman, claiming that the NHMRC report “…is inaccurate, highly misleading to the public and unjustly damaging to the credibility of the homeopathy sector. It is therefore essential that all published documents relating to the Homeopathy Review are rescinded in their entirety.” (there is some uncertainty about whether this complaint was actually lodged or not).

All that these people need to do is to plant the seed of doubt in the mind of the public, which is enough to ensure that people will continue to buy these ineffective remedies. Dr Phelps will continue to make real healthcare suspect, claim that her ‘medications’ are all natural, safe and evidence-based and that it will also save you a lot of money. But in reality, she and her Alliance does not give a hoot that people, including young children and babies, die because of what they are promoting – for them it is all about money!! (A good example of the type of people you need in such an Alliance is Prof Gregory Kolt. He was even found guilty of fraud; “As a result, the defendant fraudulently obtained a total of $5,864.15 from the Authority over a period of 14 months. When the matter was investigated, the defendant provided false information and documents.”)

A vote for Dr Phelps is a vote to give this unholy Alliance a foot in the federal door. She will provide easier access and opportunities for this Alliance to lobby government ministers in order to integrate their ineffective remedies with conventional healthcare. This, in my view, will be a travesty for the healthcare system. While homeopathy is one of the easier fake medications to debunk, Dr Phelps’s involvement and impact unfortunately gets a lot murkier. In a next article I will focus on vaccinations and how this alliance has infiltrated the World Health Organisation who now promotes, you guessed it, homeopathy and all sorts of other disproven and unproven traditional medicines.

The remarkable medicinal properties of ………. a pregnant women’s head! Why Unis should stand up for science!

Wow, what a way to wake up this morning. I thought giving a child with behavioural problems homeopathic dog saliva was bad, but I think this will top it. When I scrolled through the news this morning I came across this remarkable article. Two men were sentenced after being caught trying to sell a women’s head as medicine.

Two men found guilty of beheading a pregnant woman and trying to sell her body parts for muti have been sentenced to life imprisonment. Former teacher Edward Raatji and his friend Stanley Mohlake sat in silence in a packed Limpopo High Court, as Judge Matsaro Semenya read out their sentences for the murder of Nthabiseng Mojela. Mojela was beheaded in July 2016 in Mapela village, near Mokopane. Raatji, 54, and Mohlake, 34, were arrested for Mojela’s murder, following a tip-off after they advertised to traditional leaders that they had a human head for sale.”

What can I do about it? Unfortunately, not much, but where there is a market for body parts as medicine, there is bound to be people that believes in its medicinal properties. And when people believe, then you are also bound to find people in a position of power that perpetuates the notion that ineffective substances have magical medicinal properties. So, all I can do is to again insist that Universities protect science and not allow pseudoscientists a foot in the door. I’ve written about the ‘Muti’ trade before and called it at the time a ‘’horror movie” where children are being ripped apart, preferably when they are still alive, because that makes the ‘medicine’ stronger. The fact that there is a trade in human body parts as medicine, or for that matter something such as Rhino horn, should be a wake-up call for scientists. And again, when scientists allow pseudoscientists a foot in the door (by keeping quiet about it) this sort of stuff is what you can expect – and it will only get worse. What am I on about? Well, the World Health Organisation (WHO). They should work towards taking the magic out of traditional medicine, educate people about real medicine by convincing governments to provide mass education regarding modern healthcare.

Unfortunately, some universities have allowed pseudoscientists a foot in the door. The result? In 2013 the WHO published its much anticipated “Traditional Medicine Strategy 2014-2023”. This 76-page report, funded by China and the WHO Collaborating Centre for Traditional Medicine in Hong Kong, unfortunately contains very little or no scientific information. No discussion on the trade and use of body parts or the pseudoscientific principles on which these “medicines” are based. No discussion of any science such as promoting education or improving accessibility and cost effectiveness of science based effective medicines. There is seemingly an inability to accept that specific traditional medicines are ineffective and should not be used.

The whole report revolves around the words “integrate” or “integrative”. This is what this WHO strategy calls for – how to better integrate traditional and complementary medicine, which is mainly based on magic, with mainstream conventional medicine, which is based on science. And this goes for homeopathy, chiropractic, acupuncture, TCM – disproven complementary medicines! I can only speak for myself and then only about the influence of those universities where I worked. This is my way of standing up for science.

I believe that the WHO has been infiltrated by pseudoscientists who promotes disproven and unproven medicines to be integrated into mainstream healthcare. It is as if the Australian based National Institute of Complementary Medicine (NICM) hosted at Western Sydney University has written this WHO report.  The agenda of the NICM? Accept millions of dollars from the CAM industry, lobby regulators including the WHO to give blanket support for all T&CMs, integrate pseudoscience with science and by doing this increase the sales figures of the CAM industry. So, did the NICM write or influence this WHO report?

Who do we find in the acknowledgements section? The Canadian naturopath, Michael Smith, an adjunct of the NICM (a tough week for Canada). The NICM would not be the NICM if they didn’t have a finger in the pie in compiling this WHO report and as stated on the NICM’s website “He was one of the primary technical drafters of the WHO Global Strategy for Traditional & Complementary Medicine (2014-2023) and continues to participate in WHO projects, working groups and consultations notably dealing with the regulation and policy setting related to traditional and complementary medicines.”

If you happen to work at WSU please start to ask questions (or for that matter if you work at any university hosting pseudoscientists). The NICM has been linked with illegally importing rhino horn as medicine, they’ve been linked with the tragic slapping therapy death of a 7yo child (what is better; being ripped apart and being used as medicine or being allowed to slowly and painfully die while your parents believe that what they are giving you is an effective treatment, while it’s clearly not). They are pseudoscientists, with global aspirations, excelling at spreading confusion regarding the effectiveness of traditional, complementary and alternative medicine. And they do it for money – they need to be stopped.

The Hogwarts School of Magic is actually in Australia! They even teach you how to ‘fly’ a broom (they really do).

And we thought that the ‘Hogwarts School of Magic’ only existed on the big screen. But, this type of school is actually real. There are quite a number of them currently operating in Australia, where bright-eyed, impressionable teenagers are taught how to manipulate energy fields in order to banish ‘evil spirits’ (or disease), and how to elevate out of their despondent earthly existence into an enchanted state of eternal health and happiness –  like flying for the first time on a broomstick (or smoking a joint). It will therefore come as no surprise, that the game of Quidditch, from the Harry Potter movies, is indeed being played at some of these modern schools of magic. The Tri-wizard cup was even won by Western Sydney University in 2013.  A real-life fantasy world.

Quidditch game

(Quiddich players ‘flying’ in attack formation on their Nimbus 2000 broomsticks)

But there is a problem!

To run around on a field with a broomstick between your legs is, I guess, okay, and not strange at all. It is good exercise, but you are not suddenly going to take off (at least not without a joint), because ‘strangely’ enough this only happens in the movies (or if you are completely stoned). So, for the rest of it, none of it is real – it is all a hoax. And this is now problematic, because all parents would agree that we want the best education for our children. But this is also where we tend to stop our involvement and we do not always ask the important question of; what is actually being taught at these schools? There are many reasons for this, one of them being that we tend to trust that government will protect us from fraudsters. So, when these schools are government funded and regulated, and especially, when they provide them with a stamp of approval via various accreditation schemes, this is usually enough to put our minds at ease – we  trust the system!

Unfortunately, some of these schools provide government accredited courses in magic. For example; children are being taught to manipulate ‘energy’, yes, without a wand (although I am not always so sure), but with the use of needles, crystals and various herbs such as the screaming mandrake (oh no wait, that was in the movie).

 

Specific examples of these courses include; Bachelor in Chinese medicine, chiropractic and osteopathy at RMIT University, Bachelor of Health Science (Naturopathy – includes homeopathy) at Endeavour College, Bachelor of traditional Chinese medicine at Western Sydney University and Bachelor of Health Science in traditional Chinese medicine at the University of Technology Sydney. The Southern School of Natural Therapies explains that their accredited course in Chinese Medicine; “is an ancient, holistic form of medicine that connects the mind, body, spirit. Chinese medicine believes that the body is made up of Qi – energy which permeates the whole body and flows through our meridians. Chinese medicine aims to stimulate the meridians, producing effects on different organs and systems within the body to restore balance and harmony” – this is pure magic!

This is what our kids are being taught at these schools, and unfortunately, this is pure fantasy because this ‘energy’, which is at the foundation of all of these pseudoscientific healthcare systems, simply do not exist. But, this ‘energy’ do indeed attract large numbers of students, because all of us are fascinated by magic. Regrettably, those students who actually believe in the magic show, tends to pay a significant amount of money to learn ‘magic’, and once they realise that it’s an elaborate government supported hoax, many simply tend to continue practicing magic. Because, by now, they have incurred a lot of debt, they have lost a lot of time, and they don’t want to be branded a drop-out or loser (sure, there will also be true believers amongst them). Hence, the problem of modern day ‘medical magicians’ will continue to be with us and might even surge, if the government continue to legitimise it via their various accreditation schemes.

And this brings me to accreditation, which is arguably a big part of the problem. The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) recently invited submissions for their “Independent Review of Accreditation Systems within the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme for health professions”. The ‘Friends of Science in Medicine’ (FSM) organisation did submit a detailed report highlighting their many concerns when accreditation is given to these schools of magic. This report was unfortunately deemed ‘out of scope’ by the COAG Health Council which implies that they are quite happy to continue to mislead students and their parents (and this can destroy families), as well as the patients who are on the receiving end of these completely ineffective magical treatments. Many patients do indeed get hurt and some even die, as was tragically illustrated by a practitioner whose magical ‘Slapping Therapy’ did not cure a 6yo boy from his type-1 diabetes.

Below you will find the Executive Summary of FSMs submission (with permission), and here you can find the full submission.  But the question remains; why do the government continue to bestow undue credibility and continue to legitimise ‘medical magic’ by providing accreditation to these courses in Australia?

“Executive Summary

Accreditation is antecedent to, and inextricably bound together with, practitioner registration. This submission raises concerns about registered alternative medicine (AltMed) practitioners, accusing the present accreditation system of failing to protect the public through its legitimising poor quality, belief-based, rather than evidence-based, education and on-going training of chiropractors, osteopaths and Chinese medicine/acupuncturists.

FSM is aware that some higher education institutes and continuing professional development courses give credibility to pseudoscience. Examples of pseudoscience include chiropractic (subluxation theory, Kinesiology, Retained Neonatal Reflex and Webster Technique, osteopathy (Osteopathy of the Cranial Field and Visceral Manipulation) and Chinese Medicine (Acupuncture and the teaching of “Qi”, energy blockages that cause disease, as a fact).

FSM also remains concerned with the accreditation process supervised by AHPRA and its Boards.

FSM alleges that:

A. the training of registered AltMed practitioners:

  1. is of low quality;
  2. is based on pseudo-scientific concepts that reject germ theory as the cause of disease;
  3. teach invalid diagnostic technique;
  4. includes potentially dangerous interventions, continued in the ongoing training of practitioners;
  5. wastes considerable public funding allocated to universities which teach these unscientific courses; and
  6. compromises our universities’ reputation within Australia and internationally.

B. thousands of false and misleading claims on AltMed websites breach the National Law. This report demonstrates that registered AltMed practitioners:

  1. are poorly trained;
  2. are not competent to treat patients;
  3. delay correct diagnosis and evidence-based therapies thereby allowing progression of disorders;
  4. may cause harm;
  5. waste millions of health dollars;
  6. undermine the efforts of evidence-based practitioners in their communities;
  7. do not, in respect of exaggerated claims and advertising, behave in an ethical manner;
  8. create considerable confusion for patients with chronic ailments; and
  9. focus their ongoing training on building their practices rather than on the needs of patients.
  10. This report also raises concerns about pseudoscience-based courses, that may attract VET-help fees, such as reflexology, homeopathy, aromatherapy and reiki, that are advertised on Government websites.

C. Government websites are providing undeserved credibility for discredited AltMed.

Underserved credibility is given to discredited AltMed courses including Reflexology, Aromatherapy, Homeopathy, Naturopathy and Reiki that may attract VET-help fees and are advertised on Government training websites.

Using acupuncture as an example, along with valid research findings, informed opinions and advice from medical experts, this report investigates the teachings in one high-profile accredited course and the impact and costs of this intervention on health care. While this report focuses on acupuncture, the same concerns can be extrapolated to other domains of pseudo-science, which is in both accredited university and continuing professional development courses. It also recommends that the scope of practice of AltMed practitioners should be limited to what they can advertise, to further protect patients from invalid diagnosis and belief-based interventions.

While ALL unregistered AltMed practitioners are NOT practicing any form of evidence-based medicine, (reflexology, iridology etc), there are thousands of registered practitioners, bound by the National Law to practice care that is evidence-based, who are practicing pseudoscience. The scope of the recent NHMRC review of natural therapies EXCLUDED interventions offered by registered practitioners on the basis that consumer protection was available through the AHPRA scheme.

This report highlights the millions of health dollars wasted by the Government funding of AltMed teachings and practices. Nearly $220 million was spent on acupuncture, chiropractic and osteopathy through Medicare from July 2011 to June 2016.

AltMed practitioners, who reject evidence-based medicine and over-service patient with placebo interventions are not the ‘right people’ to address patient needs, now and in the future.”

Once a criminal, always a criminal? The curious case of Gregory Kolt, the guy who signs off on the NICMs plans.

So, who is Gregory ‘guy that signs stuff’ Kolt? Well, as his name implies he is the man who has to sign off on just about everything. How loud you may talk, how fast you may walk and even when you may take a bathroom break. You can just imagine that Gregory, as Dean of the School of Science and Health at Western Sydney University (WSU), has a huge number of documents that needs to be signed on a daily basis, in order to keep his subjects in line. On top of this, he is also the man to whom the director of the National Institute of Complementary Medicine (NICM) reports, and hence he also has to sign off on almost everything that the NICM plan to do. Regular readers of this Blog will by now know, that most things that the NICM does is simply put, dishonest, and as such Gregory is fully aware of what the NICM is up to. He is, after all, on the NICM’s advisory board where ways to make more money by misleading the public is openly discussed.  And again, if you can promote, defend or sell water as medicine to sick children then you are not only dishonest but, in my view, a common criminal.

Because of this, the ‘guy that signs stuff’ was nominated for the Bent Spoon award (for the pseudoscientist of the year) together with Alan Bensoussan (director of the NICM) and Barney Glover (VC of WSU). These three musketeers are fully aware that what they are doing is at best dishonest and that it will have a detrimental impact on society, not even to speak about the impact on science. They tried their best to block this nomination, but to no avail, with their measly attempts now providing us with some excellent, or even hilarious, reading material (you can find it here). Unfortunately, they did not win the award in 2016.

But it turns out that Gregory has signed one too many document, or 137 to be more exact. It is a type of document that claims money for patients that do not exist – oops. You can find the description of the court case here (page 36). Below is a copy:

“GREGORY SHANE KOLT

Date of offence: Between 1996 and 1998

Date of prosecution: 19 January 2000 at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court

Magistrate: John Hardy

The defendant, a physiotherapist, submitted invoices claiming payment from the Victorian WorkCover Authority in relation to his purported treatment of four injured workers. The invoices related to 137 physiotherapy consultations that had never taken place. As a result, the defendant fraudulently obtained a total of $5,864.15 from the Authority over a period of 14 months. When the matter was investigated, the defendant provided false information and documents.

Breaches of the Accident Compensation Act 1985, sections 248(1) and 249(1) x 2.

The magistrate noted that the defendant made admissions and full restitution to the Victorian WorkCover Authority. In ruling out conviction, the magistrate referred to Section 8(1) of the Sentencing Act i.e. the impact of a conviction on the defendant’s career. He also acknowledged that the defendant had no prior convictions and an extraordinary record of professional achievement and community involvement. Result: Without conviction, fined $2,500 re: Section 248(1) and $1,500 re: Section 249(1). Total fine $4,000 plus $1,022 costs.”

Some might now say that digging up old court cases, to put someone on the spot many years later, is not a nice thing to do. Many people make mistakes, pay for it and then learn from it. But I am afraid that this court case show that Gregory planned his offence well, it occurred over a long period of time and then he tried to mislead the investigators by covering up his actions. And this means, in one word, that he is a dishonest person. Dishonesty is something that runs in your blood and it is part of your DNA, and if you draw the line through to 2017, not much has changed. Dishonesty is of course not all bad, for example; with this sparkling attribute you can easily find a job with just about any political party, the mafia also comes to mind, and then of course, you can also become the guy that signs off on all of the NICM’s dishonest plans.  Once a dishonest person, always a dishonest person? But enough on Gregory for the time being (I am sure there will be more to come).

There is another interesting example, just to illustrate the type of people that the NICM work with. This time it relates to a convicted person. In 2006 Yu Long Yu was sentenced after a large amount of endangered animal material, including Rhino horn, tiger etc, was found in his possession. Because mister Yu was (is) a business partner of Alan Bensoussan (director of the NICM), Alan was in court to defend his good friend: “Character witnesses – including Alan Bensoussan, director of the Centre for Complementary Medicine Research at the University of Western Sydney – told the court Yu was “absolutely exceptional”. “There are very few clinicians of his ilk in Australia,” Professor Bensoussan said of his friend and sometime business associate of 20 years.” “He [the barrister] said Yu had tried to pull the wool over officials’ eyes.”

And again, we have a person linked to the NICM who tried to BS officials. One would think that Alan as a ‘honest scientist’ would try his best to explain to Mr Yu that traditional Chinese medicine is based on pre-scientific ideas and that it is a believe-based healthcare system, and as such, is dangerous not only for people but also for (endangered) animals (they are currently skinning donkeys alive for their purported medicinal value). This, of course, applies to any believe-based healthcare system, but I guess this would have been the honest thing to do and honesty does not sit well with the NICM – simply because honesty will cost them way too much by way of a significant decrease of external funding. So, here and here you can read about the NICM’s view on using endangered animals as medicine. Mr Yu was send to prison for a couple of months, and as expected, the NICM is currently still collaborating with him.

The examples that I have given above isn’t isolated cases, but it should help to illustrate what type of person you need at an Institute such as the NICM. My next article will give another example of an even grander scale of dishonesty where, as it currently stands, they are trying to cover up their undeclared conflicts of interest. And as usual, money seems to be at the heart of the problem. It turns out that these people are not only above the laws of nature as expressed by physics, chemistry, biology etc., but that they are also above the rules that should ensure scientific integrity – it simply does not apply to them.

More to come!

VC Barney Glover is standing up for science! (or is that for pseudoscience?)

I would argue, pseudoscience! Because if you do not see the following as pseudoscience, then all hope is lost.

The BlueBoxTM homeopathic remedy kit, produced by Pegasus Homeopathics, contains 28 easy-to-use remedies for the treatment of just about everything, and therefore; “The BlueBox™ is a must have for every home”. Their marketing strategy is focussed on children and on the ease-of-mind of their parents, with Pegasus telling us that it: “Treats the whole family from infants to the elderly; Safe for babies as well as pregnant and breast feeding mums; Readily taken by children, no alcohol or nasty-tasting syrups; Can’t overdose – even if a child swallows the contents of a bottle it’s the same as one dose.” One of the 28 remedies in this kit is called Anti-virabac 200C, described as a; “natural antibiotic, safe for those allergic to penicillin. Indications: A homeopathic ‘antibiotic’ for use in viral and bacterial infections, that is best implemented at the earliest stage of the infection. Safe for use in penicillin-allergic individuals.”

There is a lot wrong with this, but let’s just focus on what this remedy contains. It is a mixture of nine homeopathic remedies, including Belladonna 200C and Gunpowder 30C, with the purpose of the latter being; “Localises the infection preventing deeper penetration into tissues.” The 200C and 30C indicates that these substances have been diluted by a factor of 10400 and 1060 respectively, and consequently neither contain a single molecule of the original substance. This might be a good thing, especially for Belladonna which is a highly poisonous herb, and something that you definitely do not want to give to your children.  Incorrectly diluted Belladonna (in a different homeopathic remedy) has recently been implicated in the deaths of ten infants in the US. As for the Gunpowder 30C, well, some homeopaths are known for diluting the Berlin Wall for the treatment of depression, and a whole host of other conditions, so why not gunpowder?

But let’s step into the mind of a homeopath, and try and explain the logic behind the Gunpowder 30C. Here goes: Gunpowder is used to fire a bullet which will, depending on the entry location,, cause serious harm or death. If you are only wounded, the wound can become infected, the infection might spread throughout your body, and eventually you may die. Using the homeopathic principle of ‘like-cures-like’, it therefore ‘stands to reason’ that when you dilute gunpowder, by a factor of 1060, it will localise and prevent the infection from spreading any further. Because the underlined words look alike, it is irrefutable scientific evidence that Gunpowder 30C is a remarkably effective remedy. I am however only guessing here, but it is clear that the amount of science involved is truly mindboggling (any homeopath reading this, please correct me if I am wrong). A quick search reveals that homeopathic gunpowder is more commonly used for the treatment of septic wounds in people and animals, which I guess, makes more sense in a homeopathic sort of way.

Let’s say that I do not have any scientific background and that I’ve decided to buy the BlueBoxTM. Before coming to this decision, I’ve spoken to a homeopath (a specialist), I’ve discussed it with the extremely helpful people at the pharmacy, I’ve read all the info on the website of Pegasus (the producers), and I’ve even gone as far as to read the lengthy WHO report, which recommends that homeopathy should be integrated with conventional healthcare. All-in-all, it paints a very positive picture and I, and many others, will feel confident in the safety and effectiveness of this product. And hence, I will happily give these remedies to my children. Why not?

But what now if my young child die, due to an infection that I’ve treated with anti-virabac 200C? The infection worsened very quickly, within 48 hours, and upon hospitalisation it was already too late to save his life. At the end of the day, this remedy contains nothing other than the diluent, and will do absolutely nothing against any infection. A fact that is reflected in the Australian NHMRC homeopathy report, where they clearly state that: “People who choose homeopathy may put their health at risk if they reject or delay treatments for which there is good evidence for safety and effectiveness.” Tragically, this happens quite often, with an unknown number of people dying because they have chosen ineffective homeopathic remedies. Gunpowder 30C for the treatment of infectious diseases and/or septic wounds, really? The number of victims is unknown because the BlueBoxTM, and all other homeopathic remedies, are bought over-the-counter. There is no paper trail and hence no system in place to document ‘adverse events’. So, if you or your child dies, the cause of death will simply read infectious disease or septic wound – and that will probably be the end of it.

Who is to blame for this situation?  The homeopath, pharmacist and all other role players are legally doing what they are doing. They are allowed to sell you water as a treatment for many different medical conditions.  You, on the other hand, as a parent who’s child died because of these  ineffective remedies, can however be taken to court and you might even be send to jail – and this is the ‘Homeopathy Paradox’.

This is also where the important role of Vice Chancellors (VC) come into play. They are instrumental in deciding on what path science will take in a specific country. Their role is becoming more important, especially in light of some politicians nowadays resorting to all kinds of alternative facts.  Take someone like Prof Barney Glover, VC of Western Sydney University (WSU), and also the current Chair of ‘Universities Australia – The Voice of Australia’s Universities’. He has influence over the whole scientific landscape in Australia, and quite recently gave a very good speech at the National Press Club (photo above),  about the necessity and importance for universities to stand up for facts and the truth, because nobody else will.  This is very encouraging but, unfortunately, very misleading.

Prof Glover was notified in 2015, that he should urgently investigate the National Institute of Complementary Medicine (NICM), because of their continued (in)direct support of homeopathy and many other disproven complementary medicines. For example: the NICM had a big influence in compiling the WHO report, calling for the better integration of homeopathy (implying that it is an effective healthcare system) with conventional healthcare, and by way of their extended network, has tried to discredit and destroy the NHMRC report on homeopathy. Their incorrect and misleading response to the NHMRC report is now being used by homeopaths, all over the world, to continue to mislead the public regarding the effectiveness of homeopathy.

Unfortunately, neither the VC nor anyone else in WSU’s management has yet taken the very important step of standing up for science. Therefore the VC, and others, were nominated for the Bent Spoon Award in 2016. A nomination that they tried to block, but after independent review, did not manage to do so.  VC’s that do not stand up for science can therefore have a far-reaching impact, such as convincing me, who live on the other side of the world, to buy the BlueBoxTM, which in turn, might lead to my child’s death. Let’s call it the ‘butterfly effect’, with a ‘minor’ act (allowing pseudoscience at their university) on one side of the world, causing a lot of carnage on the other side of the world, or the world over.

(The reason for WSUs refusal to investigate the NICM seems to be as simple as increasing their external income. And it works, because quite recently the controversial supplement company Blackmores donated $10 million, and a year or so ago, the extremely controversial organisation, the Jacka Foundation, donated $4 million. These numbers appear to be enough for WSU to continue to hold their hand of protection over the NICM).

WSU is by no means the only university that has put money before science and ethics. Take for example the University of Johannesburg (UJ) who has a ‘Department of Homeopathy’ (they featured on this Blog before – see for instance  here).  A couple of days ago I emailed the Dept. of Homeopathy, asking for advice regarding homeopathic malaria remedies for my 6yo son before we travel to the Kruger park. They advised me that they do not sell it themselves, but that I should contact a specific pharmacy and ask for….wait for it….a banned herbal remedy and for homeopathic antimalarial drops – the latter, of course, does not contain anything other than solvent. This advice comes straight from a University, and although this issue is still unfolding, I am hopeful to have more luck with UJ’s VC – but I am not holding my breath. So, if you happen to work at any one of these two universities, could you kindly forward this article to your VC? For what it is worth.

(this article was first published on Prof Edzard Ernst’s blog site – you can find it here)