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A Death in the Family PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Brandon K. Thorp   
Thursday, 13 August 2009 10:35

Here is a report on a crime with four victims and no perpetrator. In June, Australian couple Thomas and Manju Sam were convicted of manslaughter. Their first child, Gloria, died of eczema-related complications in 2002. She was nine months old, and had been battling illness over half her life. To deal with her eczema, she was treated almost exclusively with homeopathic remedies.

Today, sentencing recommendations were submitted to the Supreme Court of New South Wales.

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Does Chinese acupuncture affect the brain's ability to regulate pain? PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Christina Stephens   
Thursday, 13 August 2009 00:00

A new acupuncture vs. placebo acupuncture study has been making headlines due to results of a study suggesting that there may be a difference in opioid receptor response in acupuncture vs. placebo acupuncture.

Several large-scale studies [1-3] have been released showing that acupuncture and various forms of placebo acupuncture have clinically insignificant differences in the reduction of pain, proponents of acupuncture are now looking at brain-imaging to explore the mechanisms of acupuncture and placebo acupuncture to determine if acupuncture and placebo acupuncture operate via different mechanisms.

In this study [4], researchers hypothesized that long term acupuncture therapy may result in increased opioid receptor availability and that these effects would not be observed in a placebo acupuncture group. Their subjects consisted of 20 women randomly divided into 2 groups of 10 subjects. One group received traditional acupuncture treatment while another group received non-invasive, placebo acupuncture. Results from PET scans using contrast material were taken during a 90-minute period, during which acupuncture treatment or sham acupuncture treatment was administered during the 45-90 minute timeframe. A period followed in which subjects received 7 acupuncture or sham acupuncture treatments, and then the PET scan procedure was repeated, for a total of 9 treatments. Results indicate acupuncture therapy evoked short-term increases in MOR binding potential, in multiple pain and sensory processing regions including the cingulate (dorsal and subgenual), insula, caudate, thalamus, and amygdala. Acupuncture therapy also evoked long-term increases in MOR binding potential in some of the same structures including the cingulate (dorsal and perigenual), caudate, and amygdala. These short- and long-term effects were absent in the sham group where small reductions were observed, an effect more consistent with previous placebo PET studies.

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Airborne Against a Virus PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   
Wednesday, 12 August 2009 08:28

Ben Goldacre over at badscience.net tweeted this today:

Airborne rabbis fight off swine flu: http://bit.ly/3wYMjt (I'm trying to figure out why they are on an airplane. Poor pilot)

Go ahead and watch the video... I'll wait patiently.

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How to Market Woo PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Naomi Baker   
Wednesday, 12 August 2009 00:00

Last week a friend of mine was given a flyer from a local chiropractor, which she forwarded to me.  The flyer, photocopied onto fluorescent pink paper, carried a banner "Optimal Health University™" and proclaimed the top ten ways that chiropractic can improve your life. It was liberally sprinkled with the chiropractor's name, address, and phone number, and included such gems as "Chiropractic Prevents Other Conditions" (high blood pressure, colic, ear infections, and Parkinson's diseases), "Chiropractic Boosts Immunity", and "Chiropractic May Make You Smarter" by improved cortical processing, as measured by testing volunteers' response time to various stimulations  The chiropractor flyer states:

Many people find that they actually save money on their health care expenses by seeing a chiropractor. Another way to save. Studies show that chiropractic can double your immune capacity, naturally and without drugs. The immune system fights colds, the flu, and other sicknesses. So you may not be running off to the doctor as much.

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A Letter Received PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   
Tuesday, 11 August 2009 00:00

Randi has been hot on the trail of the NIH, most recently in this Swift article. Last week, we received this letter at the JREF.

Dear Mr. Randi, Dr. Plait and Dr. Gorski,

After the recent article at both the JREF and Respectful Insolence regarding cancer and acupuncture, I decided to take a look and see if my employer, Massachusetts General Hospital, had any information on the subject. Sad to say, our cancer center offers acupuncture and ear acupuncture through the HOPES program.

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