Yesterday, Orac discussed a widely hyped new scientific finding of a "new organ" known as the interstitium, , in which the Neil Theise and his co-authors suggested that their findings might "explain" acupuncture. Today, Orac realizes that the woo goes much, much deeper. Deepak Chopra, anyone?
Last week, the media were awash with reports of the "interstitium," which was dramatically described as a hitherto undiscovered "organ," a narrative that was definitely a triumph of PR over science that went beyond what even the investigators claimed in their paper. Worse, the investigators themselves even speculated that their discovery could "explain" acupuncture and other kinds of alternative medicine, thus providing an opening for quacks to run wild with their discovery, something I expect to see very soon.
Bee venom acupuncture is a form of apitherapy (treatment with bee products, such as venom, honey, or pollen) in which bee venom is injected along acupuncture points, often by actual bees. It also recently resulted in the death of a woman from anaphylactic shock. Basically, the use of bee venom acupuncture cannot be justified because it has no proven benefits and is potentially deadly.
Quackery has thoroughly infiltrated medical academia in the form of "integrative medicine." So what's worse than Harvard offering an acupuncture course? It might be Duke offering a reflexology and reiki course.
A couple of weeks ago, I was interviewed by the a reporter from the Georgetown student newsletter about its integrative medicine program. It got me to thinking how delusion that one’s work is science-based can lead to collaborations with New Age “quantum” mystics like Deepak Chopra. "Integrative medicine" doctors engaging in what I like to refer to as quackademic medicine all claim to be "evidence-based" or "science-based." The words apparently do not mean what integrative medicine academics think they mean.
The Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health is a group dedicated to promoting "integrative medicine" in medical academia that has, unfortunately, been very successful over the last two decades. Recently, it published a report that promotes acupuncture as a tool to combat the opioid epidemic Let's just put it this way. The ACIMH exaggerates the evidence rather obviously.
If you want yet another piece of evidence that quackademic medicine, where once science-based medical schools embrace quackery, is triumphant, is needed, look no further than a fallacy-filled blog post on the Harvard Health Blog in defense of acupuncture.
A few weeks ago, I described how acupuncture advocates appeared to have successfully snookered the Ohio Medicaid program into funding the quackery that is acupuncture for Medicaid recipients. Now, they're poised to go beyond Ohio
Over the last several years, the Veterans Health Administration has been increasing the amount of quackery being offered in VA hospitals and clinics. This time around, it's auricular acupuncture.
Naturopaths are not the only relentless quacks seeking to bend government to legitimize their quackery. Acupuncturists are now working to get Medicaid to fund acupuncture services. They are succeeding.