Question Two: Alternative Health Practices

This question deals with ‘alternative health’ resources. A video of the question can be found here.In recent years we have seen a great increase in the use of so-called alternative remedies or medicines. These alternatives are rarely, if ever, based on any empirical research (that we would recognise as such). Research conducted into homeopathy is (and very fairly) reviewed in Ben Goldacre’s book Bad Science (2008) Fourth Estate.

In this particular chapter he concludes that while there is little evidence that homeopathy does any physical harm (most the the remedies are water) there is no evidence to suggest that it does any good, beyond a ‘placebo effect’.  Given the evidence (or lack of it) should we be more vocal in our criticism of homeopathic/alternative medicine approaches? Many of these actually run contrary to our understanding of science. They talk of ‘energy flows’ through the body, but never specify a recognisable form of energy (Heat? Kinetic? Potential?) When I asked recently, I was told that it is ‘life energy’ – which was a new one on me.

So, isn’t letting people believe that something is going to do them good, when there is no evidence (such as prescribing a course of red M&M’s) contrary to our science training? Shouldn’t we be vocal in our rejection of these approaches and challenge them openly?

Question One!: Health Issues in Your Own Country

Hello everyone,

Fiirst of all welcome to the project, and we look forward to working with you over the next few months. What we would like to start with is a fairly straightforward question about issues in your own countries. We would like you to discuss these in your trios and then post a joint response as a comment in this blog by the end of the next two weeks.

So here is the quesion.

Compare the major health problems people face in your own country, and how well are they being resolved by our current scientific knowledge, and if they are not what are the barriers?”

There is also a couple of short videos, one of Roger introducing the project and another of me posing the question on our project Facebook page here (although it make take a day or so for your permission to access the site to become active).

We look forward to your answers

Bernie Garrett