I’ve documented the infiltration of quackery into academic medicine through the “integration” of mystical and prescientific treatment modalities into medicine. Here, I look at a seemingly small incident, a veritable pebble in the quackademic avalanche. Is it too late for the pebbles to vote?
Earlier this month, Congress passed an omnibus budget bill that provided a large hike in the budget the National Institutes of Health. Unfortunately, along with that budget hike was an even bigger percent hike for the NIH's bastion of quackery, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. How did this happen?
Naturopaths claim that they are the best at preventing heart disease because of their skill in using "natural" treatments. In reality, what they do is to fuse reasonable lifestyle recommendations with pure quackery.
Antivaccine quacks like to argue that a healthy immune system will protect you from infectious disease, rendering vaccines unnecessary. It's a ridiculous claim, well-refuted by the history of medicine. A naturopath whom I had somehow never heard of before, Henele E'ale, is now spewing that very same lie.
One of the favorite tactics of cranks and quacks to silence criticism from bloggers is to threaten to sue for libel. Ex-naturopath turned science advocate Britt Hermes is currently living this reality, as a naturopathic cancer quack is currently suing her for libel in Germany. Given that Britt is a graduate student in evolutionary biology her means are quite modest and as is no doubt the intent, just defending this lawsuit could ruin her and her husband financially. Fortunately, you can help help her, and I urge you to do so.
"Integrating" naturopathic care with real medicine started out largely in academic medical centers. Unfortunately, the cancer of integrative oncology appears to be metastasizing to community hospitals.
Ever since the $200 million gift by Susan and Henry Samueli to UC-Irvine, I've been thinking about the "integration" of quackery into medicine through integrative medicine. The way advocates of quackademic medicine are going to make this "integration" really happen is to start with the medical schools.
Like many advocates of science-based medicine, I was dismayed at the $200 million gift given by Susan and Henry Samueli to the University of California, Irvine in order to vastly expand its integrative medicine offerings. John Weeks, a noted promoter of integrative medicine, was not pleased at how the mainstream press covered this gift, and in particular he was most displeased that skeptics were heavily quoted in the reporting. In response, he launched a spittle-flecked, spelling-challenged broadside against his perceived enemies, full of misinformation and logical fallacies. Naturally, Orac can't resist applying some not-so-Respectful Insolence to it.
Last week, UC-Irvine announced a $200 million gift from Susan and Henry Samueli to create a new integrative medicine center. Since then, UC-Irvine has tried to scrub any evidence of homeopathy use on its website. It didn't work. Unfortunately, thanks to the Samuelis, homeopathy and other pseudoscience are deeply embedded in UC-Irvine, which has become the new epitome of quackademic medicine.
Yesterday, the University of California, Irvine announced that Susan and Henry Samueli had donated $200 million to establish integrative medicine quackery there. Is this the shape of medicine to come?