s Alternative diagnostics – the dodgy, the dopey & the downright dangerous | I2P: Information to Pharmacists - Archive
Publication Date 01/04/2010         Volume. 2 No. 3   
Information to Pharmacists

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Newsflash Updates for April 2010

Newsflash Updates

Regular updates from the global world of pharmacy.
Access and click on the title links that are illustrated.

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Audit Your Future

Neil Johnston

Given the current climate regarding the PBS, now would be an excellent time to audit all your business processes and develop strategies to overcome imbalances that are occurring and will continue to occur for some time.

A specific area of audit is the prescription $ value as a ratio of total sales.

This index has been drifting out of balance for some years now so those pharmacy managers who have become complacent about this index will have to work out a quick correction.

Always in times of political pressure on PBS prices, pharmacists have expanded their commercial sales.

However, competition is so tough between the major retailers and warehouse style pharmacies, it is hard to find a niche to compete in.

But there is always a solution - find it!

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The Great Debate - an informed comment

Peter Sayers

Following on from the Rudd/Abbott debate on health reforms a great deal of expected commentary resulted.
One of the better versions was published in theage.com.au and is found at this link:
http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/health-system-is-more-than-just-hospitals-20100324-qwmg.html#comments
The article was written by Trevor Carr, who is chief executive of the Victorian Healthcare Association, that represents public hospitals, rural and regional health services, community health services and aged-care facilities in Victoria.
He states:
"The focus on beds and waiting lists ignores the role of primary care.Reform should move the health system from its current simplistic emphasis on hospitals and waiting lists to a system of interlinking elements that include acute care, primary care, early intervention, health promotion and illness prevention."

That statement is so sensible it is hard to think in any other terms. When Nicola Roxon first took up her position as Minister for Health and Ageing she came out in strong support of prevention, which meant a large slab of primary health care that pharmacy expected to be part of.
Her first foray was to establish GP super clinics.
They have been progressively introduced, but establishment costs seem to be a problem.
Also, the role of pharmacy within these clinics has never been properly negotiated or thought through.

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For Sigma, Time is Running Out

Peter Jackson

Siege mentality seems to have paralysed senior managers and executives at the troubled Sigma Pharmaceuticals, the Melbourne based pharmaceutical wholesaler.

On the 19th March 2010, Sigma chairman John Stocker prepared the market for a shock prior to when it was expected to release its results a week later, but then subsequently delayed until March 31, 2010.
The results are expected to show a write down of all company assets to bring them into line with reality. Share trading remains suspended since February 25, 2010.

As recently as September 2009 Sigma gained an ASIC clearance to raise money without a full cleansing statement and enquiries are being made as to what part the company auditors, Price Waterhouse Cooper, played in this clearance.
Sigma raised approximately $290 million at that time.
The longer Sigma delays in giving a full explanation of its finances, the more the market will speculate and worst-case scenarios will continue to emerge.

The market was looking for a profit of about $92 million, but this year it will lose at least $150m after some $250m in goodwill impairment charges.

Goodwill is the amount paid over the book value of the assets.
It works if you generate better profits from the assets, or big brand names are involved, but it is not an asset in the conventional sense of a cash-producing item.
Market analysts have pinpointed three “black” holes in the company’s operations, which in combination may have tipped the company into a financial crisis.

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Location Rules Dented

Peter Sayers

There has to be something wrong when one-third of a local community signs a petition to get something done.
Such was the case in the Victorian town of Colac when three local women decided that the service from the two local pharmacies (having a common owner) had dropped to an unacceptable level, and that prescription prices had also reached an unsupportable level.

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Primary Health Care Organisations - What's in it for Pharmacy?

Neil Johnston

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) recently criticised the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (PGA) for not being open in their negotiations involving the Fifth community Pharmacy Agreement, after it discovered that professional service funding was being “skewed”.
As a result the PSA entered into direct discussions with government to claw back some of the funding the PGA was directing towards eRx systems in the guise that this was a professional service (but was really all about gaining ongoing revenue for the PGA executive).
The PSA was able to alter the balance towards true professional service activities and in so doing, showed an initiative that indicated that it would be involved in the leadership of the pharmacy profession.
After all, it does represent all pharmacists.

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The Other Side of the Counter

Peter Sayers

Consumers of pharmacy services are becoming more vocal in specifying the type and quality of service they require.
And they are making their demands felt, both individually and collectively.
Earlier this month we saw the community of Colac in Victoria rise up against a repressive business model that was being delivered – poor prescription service and poor prices.
Now we are seeing the Consumer Health Forum organisation raising concerns in a discussion paper just released, about the uneven delivery of services under the Fourth Community Pharmacy Agreement (4CPA) and they are asking for greater accountability under the 5CPA.

Comments: 1

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Pharmacy and the new health reforms.

Staff Writer

Health reforms proposed for implementation in mid-2010 focus primarily on doctors and hospitals.
For the moment it is difficult to see where pharmacy will fit in, and more importantly whether pharmacy will be ready to fit in.
The PSA has hinted that it has had some input with government and has stated it is developing a green paper, but unless it changes colour quickly and becomes a white paper, it means that pharmacy will have little to offer government.
The fact that the PGA was quick to jump in and identify eRx as a major pharmacy contribution belies the fact that it is a system deficient in some standards and because of that, will never be accepted by other health professions if they were to be involved with it.

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NZ and Australian pharmacies have similar problems

Staff Writer

It would seem that pharmacy in New Zealand has a lot of similarities to Australia as the following news item details.
Surely the message must get through to the decision-makers sooner rather than later?
Health programs in both countries generally have the feel of being pressure cookers about to explode with neither government seeming to have the political will to take the first simple steps i.e. actually make a decision

Source: Voxy News EngineNZ
NZ Pharmacists Can Fill Gaps To Help Reach Health Targets

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Cold Hands & Feet - It's not just an NZ problem

Staff Writer

Ever since I have known my wife, she has complained of cold hands and cold feet.
I am pleased to find that the Kiwis have discovered a reason for this.
However they think the problem is confined to Kiwi women, but I am able to tell them the problem is already existing across the Tasman.
However, the problem does have its serious side, so the story is well worth following: 

Source: nzherald.co

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/health/news/article.cfm?c_id=204&objectid=10634773

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Aged Care Reforms - All Talk and no Action

Staff Writer

Reform in health care seems to be an intractable problem.
The pace at which it is being introduced means that aged care facilities as we know them currently will collapse.
What then happens to the most vulnerable section of our ageing population?
Pharmacy has an ability to generate a “pharmacy in the home” program, but there is no coordinated effort to start this type of program. 
Instead, there are too many power plays within pharmacy treading on boundaries between the profession and the physical infrastructure.
Compounding the problem further is a grab for “turf” between the professions.
The patient is way back getting lost in the sunset.
But optimism still exists.

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World first in preventing eating disorders

Staff Writer

The only eating disorder prevention program in the world to show long-term success when trialled on early teenagers has just been released by the Flinders University School of Psychology. Media Smart is an eight-lesson program that focuses on the manipulation of images in the media, building self-esteem and teaching young people how to analyse and challenge media messages.

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Compound screening for drug development made simpler

Staff Writer

The identification of compounds that could be promising candidates for drug development has become easier following research by the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute’s medicinal chemistry group.
Dr Jonathan Baell
and Dr Georgina Holloway have developed a series of ‘filters’ that can be used to weed out those molecules likely to come up as false positives when screening a chemical library for compounds that could be useful in drug development.

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Scientists in hot pursuit of first new drug for global killer in 50 years

Staff Writer

Researchers at the University of Sydney's Centenary Institute have announced that they have made an exciting discovery that could lead to the first new drug for Tuberculosis (TB) in almost 50 years

Dr Nick West, of the Mycobacterial Research Group, is looking at the genetics of TB in the hope they will reveal a way to reduce the impact of one of the deadliest diseases in the world.
Dr West said when someone is infected with TB they either become sick immediately or the disease stays inactive.
"Unfortunately, the antibiotics we use to fight TB aren't effective against latent TB and can only be used when the disease becomes active," he said.
"This is a major problem as 1 out of 10 people who have latent TB will develop the active disease, becoming sick and contagious."

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New clinical guidelines to prevent cerebral palsy

Staff Writer

A University of Adelaide researcher has announced new national guidelines recommending that women at risk of early preterm birth use magnesium sulphate to protect their babies from cerebral palsy.

Professor Caroline Crowther from the University's Discipline of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and the Robinson Institute says the clinical practice guidelines are based on overwhelming evidence over the past 14 years that magnesium sulphate is effective in protecting the fetus.

"Five trials, including one funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council, confirm this finding," Professor Crowther says.

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Sigma releases financial results

Staff Writer

Thursday afternoon, 31st March 2010.

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Thalidomide treats hereditary blood disorder

Staff Writer

Thalidomide, the sedative blamed for tragic birth defects, treated a rare inherited blood disorder, according to recent experiment reports.
Around one person in 10,000 has a disorder called hereditary haemorrhagic telangiectasia, or HHT, which causes frequent, hard-to-treat nosebleeds.

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Climate change to shed light on dengue fever

Staff Writer

Queensland University of Technology (QUT) research into the impact of climate change on dengue fever may lead to better control of the mosquito-borne disease.
Researchers from QUT's School of Public Health are examining the relationship between climate change and the incidence of dengue in the northern Queensland city of Townsville and the capital of Bangladesh, Dhaka, combined with their rapid socio-environmental changes.

Comments: 1

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Lachlan Rose - New Face on NSW Branch Committee of PSA

Staff Writer

Manly Vale pharmacist Lachlan Rose has been appointed to the NSW Branch Committee of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia to replace Alison Roberts who has resigned to move interstate.
Lachlan is a community pharmacist at Manly Vale on the North Shore of Sydney and is a current member of the NSW Early Career Pharmacist Working Group, having previously held the position of President of the NSW Young Pharmacists Committee of the PSA.
While holding this position Lachlan contributed articles on student activities and opinion in i2P.

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iPhone application to scan for food allergens

Staff Writer

Allergy sufferers could soon be able to use their iPhone to scan a food’s barcode at the supermarket to determine whether it’s safe to eat.
The application being developed by Deakin University, GS1 Australia and Nestlé, will allow consumers to instantly access detailed product information including allergens such as wheat, egg, peanuts and shellfish directly from their iPhone.

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Sigma Battles On

Staff Writer

Sigma is not yet out of danger and control is vested in its bankers.
Shareholders will be excluded from dividends in favour of debt reduction and the banks will be monitoring management decisions for some time to come.

This certainly reduces management flexibility but fortunately for Sigma its banks waived the breaches of covenants and renegotiated their facilities with re-set covenants, presumably agreeing with Sigma that its underlying results – a profit of $67.7 million was sound. Sigma doesn’t face principal repayments until early next year.
An unusual aspect of the overall result was that while underlying earnings were down 15.5 per cent, sales were up 4.5 per cent.
That can be attributable to the increased competition and discounting towards the end of the year to January that triggered the review of intangibles but Sigma also referred to some self-inflicted damage.

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Dementia Day Care Should Help

Staff Writer

Dementia is a major health issue in Australia and is increasing in line with the ageing population.
One of the better government initiatives has been to plan and set up a range of Dementia Day Care Centres, the first of which has opened in Orange, NSW.
Given that over a lifetime we seemingly start and end in a similar state (i.e.childlike) it seems natural to find solutions for dementia patients in paralleling early childhood solutions.
We have Day Care for children now well established.
Day Care for adults will relieve the pressure for many carers and family members who act as carers.

NEW DEMENTIA DAY CARE CENTRE IN NSW

Source: Australian Ageing Agenda

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RACGP Launches e.Health Futures

Staff Writer

Electronic health communications have had many obstacles to overcome, but we now appear to be on the home stretch.
Fumbling by government has been the main problem, because they did not seem to know what they wanted, leaving many private enterprise vendors trying to guess their way into the future.
This has proven very costly and extremely inefficient.
Even when the government formed NEHTA to plan and smooth the way, the right people did not seem to be at the helm.
Now NEHTA is talking to a range of major players and the e.health agenda is suddenly coalescing as it should have done, some years back.

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Sigma still in turmoil

Staff Writer

Sigma continues to struggle to maintain its viability and obviously needs a “white knight” to come to its rescue with an offer of a friendly merger or takeover.
It is believed that some interest has developed for a transaction of this type, but may be less likely with most of the principal architects of the company's decline still in place
With the recent resignation of Mr Elmo de Alwis, attention is now turning to John Stocker (chairman) and Mark Smith (chief financial officer).

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Poor Document Assembly Processes Cause Problems

Staff Writer

The US is well advanced in the delivery of electronic health summaries and their promised benefits.
However, protocols are being found deficient to preserve the integrity of the documents.
Short cuts in the assembly of a document involving a "cut and paste" from other documents are introducing inaccuracies damaging to the content as a whole.
The danger in "cut and paste" is that an error can be perpetuated and multiplied many times with the potential to cause major harm.
It would seem that a discipline has to be exerted through proper training, particularly by new users.

Australia has the ability to put the training steps in place in advance, to eliminate this potentially serious problem.

Doc calls EHR copy and paste function a "modern medical illness"
Source: Healthcare IT News

http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/doc-calls-ehr-copy-and-paste-function-modern-medical-illness

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Wanneroo GP Super Clinic gets go ahead

Staff Writer

A funding agreement between the Australian Government and Edith Cowan University will see the $10 million GP Super Clinic established in Wanneroo.
Edith Cowan University will now work with the City of Wanneroo and the North Metro Area Health Service to begin designs and develop business arrangements and clinical services.
The Wanneroo GP Super Clinic, which is being jointly funded by the Western Australian Government, will deliver additional health services to the area to take pressure off the Joondalup Health Campus, and ensure local families can get the health care they need.

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RACGP response to CoAG agreement on health reform

Staff Writer

The Council of Australian Governments Meeting (CoAG), with the exception of Western Australia, agreed to establish a National Health and Hospital Network at this week’s CoAG meeting. The National Health and Hospital Reform Commission has recommended the development of a person centred, strong, equitable, integrated primary health care system and the college is pleased that CoAG has taken this challenge up. The CoAG communiqué is available at www.coag.gov.au.

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Suddenly the PGA discovers "Pharmacists"

Neil Johnston

A media release published this week indicates that there will be an oversupply of pharmacists of around 2009 in surplus within five years.
The release was based on a recent survey of which the author details appear in the news report below.
The last survey into the Pharmacy Workforce circa 2003 indicated there would be a shortage of pharmacists.
i2P reported on that survey and commented:
” The long awaited workforce report from the Third Agreement has arrived and the news is gloomy for those wanting an early retirement or thinking about cutting their hours back. By 2010 we'll be 3000 pharmacists short of meeting demand and as far as ever from filling the gaps.
I strongly recommend any pharmacists who intend to be practicing anytime in the next 10 years read though this report (A Study of the Demand and Supply of Pharmacists, 2000 - 2010). “
Goto link:
http://www.computachem.com.au/i2P/emag/Issue13/Article8.shtml
Well, we are progressing into 2010 and the projected shortfall of pharmacists did not happen.
Why then should we believe the current projection?
To develop some thoughts on this issue we have asked Mark Coleman to comment on the Pharmacy  News report published on the 24th March 2010 which follows:

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Alternative diagnostics – the dodgy, the dopey & the downright dangerous

Loretta Marron OAM BSc

articles by this author...

From a Skeptics Perspective: Loretta Marron, a science graduate with a business background, was Australian Skeptic of the Year for 2007 and in 2011. She is the Chief Executive Officer of the Friends of Science in Medicine and that organisation won Australian Skeptic of the Year for 2012. On Australia Day 2014 she was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM ) for "service to community health"  Loretta edits the websites www.healthinformation.com.au & www.scienceinmedicine.org.au

I love looking at my local Naturopaths website.  Her clinic is situated in a popular retirement destination; a beautiful beachside suburb in sunny Queensland.  With the locals well advanced in age, she offers a range of questionable “non-invasive, natural and new-age therapies”, so she is assured of a steady stream of hurting, hobbling, hopeful and financially well-off oldies knocking on her door.  We all know about the power of placebo, so does it really matter that natural therapists are selling hope without proof?

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A quick look at her website shows that she offers procedures with amazingly creative brand names such as ‘Acugraph™ Miridiacheck’, ‘EQ4 Listen System™’, ‘Hemaview™’, ‘Thyroflex™ Testing’ and ‘Bioptron™ Light Therapy’, to name just a few of them.  These may relate to “organ disorders, vitamin/mineral deficiencies, allergies, food sensitivities, psychological stress, fungi/parasites, viral/bacterial infections, pesticide/insecticide contamination and heavy metal intoxication”.

The Hemaview™ ‘live blood analysis’ device appears to be little more than a fancy microscope attached to a monitor.  It is sold with a brochure that practitioners hand to their patients that proclaim that this device can diagnose “high fat diets, poor nutrition, smoking, alcohol, stress, immune system health, oxidative stress and free radical damage, inflammation and liver health”. 

Thyroflex™ testing is touted as a “reliable, non-invasive thyroid testing and treatment”.  The device incorporates an odd looking problem that the uses on your arm, that presumably mimics a miniature “diagnostic patella hammer”.  The resulting measurement is relayed to yet another computer and it too comes up with a list of health problems.

All these devices seem to translate these health conditions into a list of herbal and homeopathic remedies you need to treat your hormone, vitamin or other deficiencies.

The Bioptron™ is a ‘treatment’ device that is just a gloried handheld infra-red lamp which has been approved by the US Food & Drugs Administration (FDA) “to relieve minor pain by means of heat therapy”.  The website states that it can also be used for eczema, acne, psoriasis, wound healing, chest infections, sinusitis, fungal infections, cataracts, conjunctivitis, blocked tear ducts, cellulite and facial wrinkles”.

The clinic looks very impressive with all this quasi-high-tech and expensive equipment and complex charting that cover every available desktop, table and wall space.  These treatments consequently come at a considerable cost. The initial consultation ranges from $125-$200 are extra tests are at least $75 each.  Then there are the follow-up appointments from $60 and on top of that are the truck-load of recommended pills and potions that you stagger out the door with.  

A search of the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)’s product register failed to identify any of these devices as being approved for any usage.  A medical literature search didn’t find anything to support them either.  So at best this clinic may offer procedures that are just expensive placebos, at worse they may delay diagnosis of real health problems, while offering testing that “may lead to inappropriate treatment and expense to the patient and community.”

While the laws that protect us from misguided or opportunistic unregistered practitioners are weak, there are a few complaints mechanisms that offer some consumer protection. 

 

If the practitioners are selling the devices, the TGA’s Complaints Resolution Panel can request the website claims be removed.  If they are members of the Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS), their advertising standards are consistent with the TGA’s, in that therapists must not make claims that are “false, misleading or deceptive”.  The ATMS Code of Conduct, states that “all therapeutic goods and devices used by their members must be either listed or registered on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods” so consumers can submit complaints to them.  If the practitioners are not registered, complaints against them are handled by state government departments, which varies from state to state and range from consumer protection (WA) to health commissions (NSW & QLD). 

 

It’s not just natural therapist who promote these procedures, some pharmacists, dentist and doctors are also including them in their practices; so when it comes to using alternative ‘diagnostics and treatments’, do your own homework or enter at your own risk.

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Submitted by Johnothan Baxter on Thu, 18/10/2012 - 19:20.

Have you, Loretta, actually tried any of these natural therapies? Western scientific thought is based on the concept of empirical discovery, as you should know. How then, can you make a rationalist determination about something with which you have no precise experience? Your arrogance befits your age; with genuine experience, you will be humbled. There is nothing more dangerous to our democracy than rationalists like you. Whether you will admit it here or not, in your cold heart is this queer notion - no, steadfast conviction - that you speak for all of us, that you are protecting us, the little people, the stupid sheople, from ourselves. Sorry, you don't have the wit to represent me.

Submitted by Alice on Mon, 12/03/2012 - 14:50.

I find it interesting that Loretta refers to the lady as "my naturopath". This is generally a possessive pronoun reserved for a practitioner who treats us and for whom we have respect. "My" doctor, "my" dentist as opposed to "your" doctor or "your dentist." Is "my" naturopath a Freudian slip on Loretta's part? Why would she lay claim to someone into whose life she is constantly shooting toxic arrows. Fair is fair, Loretta. Either claim the naturopath as your own, admit that you go there, or stop this dreadfully vicious campaign completely and declare why you have this personal set against natural therapies. Like all the rest of your writing you seem to have one foot in one camp and one in the other i.e. science at whatever basic level you operate, and business, whatever basic level you reached there too. Your arguments are so fundamental and preschool in the world of science they are boring. Not a hint of wisdom of the past nor promise of the future in any of your limited writings. I feel for your restricted views and hope that you can remove yourself from this negativity which pervades everything you say, write and do. This must affect your health.
Cheer up. Be happy. And enjoy life. I know it's placebo, but laughter and joy are such nice placebos. Much better than writing poison pen letters.

Submitted by Trevor on Mon, 12/03/2012 - 13:26.

In Loretta we find an unhappy old lady who missed out on the pleasures of life, so now she just sits around and makes hundreds of complains to the TGACRP "ANONYMOUSLY". Little does she know that hundreds of thousands now know that she along with her partner Gavin Mutton are really the main Natural Therapy trouble makers in Australia, A skeptic is someone who can only access their logic brain unfortunately and thinks that ONE SIZE FITS ALL. There is no such thing as EVIDENCE BASED MEDICINE because we all have biochemical individuality! Ask a REAL SCIENTIST who is really qualified!!!

Submitted by jfalken on Fri, 30/12/2011 - 17:31.

Eric Bakker ND - "The only lessons a patient is likely to learn at the hands of an average GP is the recommendation of a toxic drug after a four minute consultation."
What a crock of bull. Putting 'ND' after your name... I bet you couldn't even suture a cut, that's how 'good' a healer you are.

Charlatan! You'd sell snake oil if the government didn't stop you!

Submitted by Jenny on Thu, 15/03/2012 - 09:02.

Responding to J Falken’s comments – ND’s and Snake Oil. Krill oil (our whale’s main food source) is heavily marketed for its amazing results for arthritis and hyperlipidema. While whales are on the endangered species list, trawlers continue to harvest their food supply in the name of profit. In your ignorance you refer to snake oil as quackery. Despite the reference to snake oil as charlatanism it may offer some legitimate health benefits. According to a report published in the Western Journal of Medicine, the oil of the Chinese water snake is an excellent source of the omega-3 fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). This compound shows promise as a nutritional supplement and holistic treatment for several conditions. I'm not sure if it is on the endangered species list but would be nice to spare the whales of their food if the Chinese Govt would allow greedy trawlers into their waterways. As for your comments re suturing, this little ND used to stitch people up all the time during my remote nursing days. Now aged 70, I try to avoid bush emergencies and spend my week days sharing my secrets on preventative health and longevity and recovering from my weekends of hard yakka in my herb garden. Having carted 30 barrow loads of mulch uphill last weekend I enjoy my week days as a lounge lizard doing acupuncture and massage and assessing client’s symptoms that their physicians failed to diagnose through blood tests and scans in a ten minute consult. Why don't we look at lizard oil's health benefits? However I'm not yet ready for the recycle bin as I love life and am thankful for great energy and fitness of body, mind and soul.

Submitted by Jenny on Tue, 13/03/2012 - 10:29.

Eric, I am responding to your comments about Snake Oil. Krill oil (our whale’s main food source) is heavily marketed for its amazing results for arthritis and hyperlipidema. While whales are on the endangered species list, trawlers continue to harvest their food ssupply in the name of profit. In your ignorance you refer to snake oil as quackery. Despite the reference to snake oil as charlatanism it may offer some legitimate health benefits. According to a report published in the Western Journal of Medicine, the oil of the Chinese water snake is an excellent source of the omega-3 fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). This compound shows promise as a nutritional supplement and holistic treatment for several conditions. I'm not sure if it is on the endangered species list but would be nice to spare the whales of their food if the Chinese Govt would allow greedy trawlers into their waterways. As for your comments re suturing, this little ND used to stitch people up all the time during my remote nursing days. Now aged 70, I try to avoid bush emergencies and spend my week days sharing my secrets on preventative health and longevity and recovering from my weekends of hard yakka in my herb garden. Having carted 30 barrowloads of mulch uphill last weekend I enjoy my week days as a lounge lizard doing acupuncture and massage and assessing client’s symptoms that their physicians failed to diagnose through blood tests and scans in a ten minute consult. Why don't we look at lizard oil's health benefits? However I'm not yet ready for the recycle bin as I love life and am thankful for great energy and fitness of body, mind and soul.
As for the arrogance of Skeptics, Australia is a Christian society that recognises Xmas. I’ll bet the skeptics don’t work over Easter or Xmas. I believe a few good old fashioned values need to come back into play. Instead of buying kids mobile phones and digital games, send them off to sunday school and teach them manners and respect as well as to read, write and think. Encourage family values and some discipline and stop wasting energy on subjects you haven't got a clue about just to gain notoriety. I’m not suggesting we go berserk with religion, however it is better than all this atheist skepticism that has historically proven to lead to genecide such as happened in Russia and Germany. No-one really cares about your TGA complaints or any of the boring crap you carry on about. Focus your attention on protecting our youth from corruption and saving the environment and with your determination you could actually gain the recognition you so desperately crave.

Submitted by Eric Bakker ND on Fri, 30/09/2011 - 21:00.

I love posts such as this, they only prove how misguided and gullible some poor writers really are. Loretta obviously has not spent any time in a clinic cleaning up patients suffering from the toxic effects of "evidence" based medicine. I have seen patients for over 20yrs, and most chronic cases I see show plenty of evidence alright, and are far worse off after medical "science" than before. Thank GOD I had the foresight to study and apply the laws of nature when it comes to healing. Interesting to note Loretta that the term "doctor" in Latin means "teacher". The only lessons a patient is likely to learn at the hands of an average GP is the recommendation of a toxic drug after a four minute consultation. My website naturopath.co.nz may be quite an education for you. Be sure to see Western Medicine under the Articles tab.

Submitted by David on Fri, 23/12/2011 - 17:58.

What are the 'laws of nature' generally and/or specifically when it comes to healing?

Submitted by Julie on Wed, 28/09/2011 - 15:09.

I too was once skeptical about natural therapies, that is until I was misdiagnosed numerous times & found no real relief from medical practicioners. However my health has never been better than now, and I've had no GP input for years. In fact had I listened to the doctors I would be on a pension now instead of employed full time.

Submitted by jake on Wed, 21/09/2011 - 17:15.

So my seeing for myself that my RBCs were undersized ie Microcytes, was not proof that I had an iron problem. I had so few normal RBCs that when we saw a normacyte, we got out the gauge to check. This made me go to the doctor and get bloods done. Sure enough, iron deficiency anaemia!

This was just a chance visit to a friend with one of these Hemaview microscopes, a free test just to have a look and I did not have any real symptoms to be looking for anything.

Tell me it was dodgy, dopey or even dangerous, tell me it was quackery or even a placebo and sorry, I'll laugh in your face. It was every bit as useful as a MCV, no it was better than an MCV because I saw it instantly, I didn't need to wait for the results to come back.

Please use your brain, take a quick look yourself at what can be learned instantly with one of these and take it off your list of suspect therapies.

If Doctors would use them as a matter of course in their surgeries, this would have been spotted months, maybe years ago.

Look I agree many things in this field can be suspect but this, in my opinion, is solid science.

Submitted by Josephine Jones on Mon, 03/10/2011 - 22:23.

I am a biologist from the UK who has become concerned recently about vulnerable members of the public being misled by advertising claims being made by alternative health practitioners – particularly with respect to Live Blood Analysis.

It is simply not possible to observe the vast majority of the phenomena which practitioners claim may be seen using this technique. I personally have made several complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority in the UK about companies who have made misleading and unsubstantiated claims about what may be observed using LBA and what health conditions it can ‘help’. The companies have then either agreed to remove these claims, or in the case of the adjudication against MyCityDeal (t/a Groupon), my complaint has been upheld in full (I have written about this in more detail on my Josephine Jones blog).

The Hemaview leaflet (linked in the article above) claims that Hemaview can assess clients for high fat diets, poor nutrition, smoking & alcohol, stress, immune system health, oxidative stress & free radical damage, inflammation and liver health. I believe this is all misleading and unsubstantiated. It also states that live blood analysis can give ‘an accurate and immediate indication of the state of your general health’. This is simply not true.

In reply to Jake’s comment, however, it *is* possible to see blood cells clearly using the Hemaview microscope (as he experienced). It is therefore possible to ascertain if you have microcytic anaemia in this way. However, conventional blood testing is far more sophisticated than simply looking at the cells under a microscope. As I say time and time again, if anyone has concerns about their health, they really should go to see a (real) doctor. Doctors not only have reliable diagnostic tests at their disposal, but also have the necessary medical background to interpret the results correctly and give sensible advice.

Practitioners of live blood analysis do not tend to have had any conventional medical training whatsoever. Indeed, those I have encountered in the UK have a fundamental misunderstanding about human biology – they believe in ‘Dr’ Robert O Young’s ‘New Biology’ and the ludicrous theory of ‘pleomorphism’. According to this, all illness is caused by acidity and the body’s own cells transform into yeasts and bacteria. Some of them claim that they can help serious conditions such as cancer and diabetes – some of them even advising sufferers to cease their conventional treatment. This is quackery at its most dangerous.

Submitted by jake on Mon, 16/04/2012 - 15:01.

Ah yes, but what do you say when 2 subsequent conventional blood tests show "normal" iron levels. Iron supplementation has given me more energy than I've ever had. I thought reduced energy was just a normal part of the aging process. It wasn't severe. I figure something is wrong with the tests I had done.

Submitted by James on Fri, 03/12/2010 - 08:19.

Great work. Honesty and accountability is not common in snake oil sales people. My rule of thumb is if the person making miracle claims cannot work in any hospital in Australia then it is more a religion than a medical service. As you say the placebo effect is extraordinary so as long as the snake oil is not killing people we can assume "A fool and his/her money are soon parted" is still as valid as ever! People are still legally able to choose to smoke or use snake oil treatments.

Submitted by Linda on Mon, 13/09/2010 - 09:33.

Skeptics must be such unhappy people when their very nature pushes them to disparage so much and leave them with so little to believe in.

Submitted by katie Thompson on Wed, 02/11/2011 - 05:38.

This is so true I love how the so called scientists think they know every thing and flat out refuse anyone elses theories whether they come from doctors or not (funny considering most naturopathic ideas are sprung from doctors).I think this show ignorance in itself. Interesting to see also one of the sceptics says shes has a BSc and a buisness degree this is the problem with "orthodox" medicine its become about being a buisness rather than helping the people they take an oath to help.As far as NO SCIENTIFIC BACKROUND is concered I am training as a naturopath in New Zealand and we certainly have scientific training and this is regulated by a qualifications authority (mainstream education body). We have sat the same anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology and nutrition,pharmacology as well as phytopharmacology, biochemistry and also medical history and politics these are all at level 7,to get a doctorate is usualy at around level 9 or 10.We can acheive these and most naturopaths do continue to study and get masters and doctorate papers, infact ALL of my lecturers are doctors in the mainstream medical feilds eyes and chooses to practice the way they do and are very passionate about education in the feild of medicine. As for quakery we all know that this word stems from the masks the orthodox practitioners wore a long time ago and does not actualy refer to modern herbalists at all. As far as no evidence is concered the millions of successful human trials should be evidence enough that naturopaths are successful in the feild of medicine often where conventional medicine has failed patients who then turn to naturopathy.Funny also that if you read up on the pharmacological actions of a lot of the 20 most prescribed drugs you'll be suprised to find that even though approved scientists still dont know how or why a lot of theses medicines have the effects on our body that they do.To finish I'd like to say to you doctors with your eyes closed, how can you fill a cup that is already full.The answer is , you can't.Namaste =)

Submitted by Linda on Sun, 12/09/2010 - 13:03.

Professional skeptics such as Marron must lead tiny, trapped, miserable little lives if pulling everything down is the most fun they get out of the day. Imagine what it must be like to have such a mean, negative, black little mind driving your life. Ugggg... too awful to contemplate.

Submitted by Louise Milligan on Wed, 08/09/2010 - 17:54.

Thank you so much for your information concerning your naturopath. I found you on a google search because I need a trusted natural therapist to continue my ongoing lymphodema treatments using SAFE lymphatic massage.We recently moved to Hervey Bay, a seaside area that fits your naturopaths description. I have been seeing an amazing naturopath out west whom I trust totally,and she used iridology to diagnoseour family. She also uses hair analysis that she sends to America, and although the results are different from medical blood testing, my husband was amazed by his response to mineral therapy, even though he had a torn ligament. Hair analysis also picked up my thyroid imbalance along with iridology that she treated with homeopathy. To find a naturopath to fit into her shoes could mean relocating my entire family, but it could happen with the right advice. My beautiful daughter was misdiagnosed by a doctor with a pinched nerve in the viscera (whatever that is) 10 years ago and when we lost her to ovarian cancer, our family decided that we would seek alternate advice for our health problems in the future. If you could give me the name of the your naturopath at a seaside clinic, I would love to see her if it is okay.

Submitted by Loretta Marron on Sat, 12/06/2010 - 10:08.

I find am always sceptical about someone who promotes homeopathy and magnetic therapy to vulnerable patients.

Mr Quigley also runs seminars on "The Potential of "Special" Foods, Herbs and Supplements in Preventing and Fighting Cancer".
While advice on a healthy lifestyle is always important and green tea, for example, is good for you, according to cancer specialist Dr Nicholas Wilcken.
" there is no evidence at all that vitamin supplements either stop people from getting cancer or help them when they do. Large scale international studies if anything show the opposite - higher rates of cancer in those either consuming higher vitamin diets or randomised in trials to take vitamin supplements. So they might be harmful (still some debate) but they are definitely not helpful."

His opinion is backed up by Kathy Chapman of the Cancer Council who says that vitamin supplements are “not all they’re cracked up to be”.

On herbals, I get my advice and information from Prof Edzard Ernst and the NPS recommended databases.

It would be good to see an article from Mr Quickley backed by the Cancer Council that also links to evidence-based medicine sites such as COCHRANE.

Submitted by Gerald Quigley on Tue, 13/04/2010 - 17:50.

I am quite skeptical about the self-opinionated skeptics? Does anybody actually read this stuff? Does anybody care? Why are we so "down" on people who might be offering better patient care than their local medical practitioner or pharmacist?

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