Regular readers of this blog know that many forms of quackery and science denial have conspiracy theories associated with them, but a further examination suggests that all science denial a form of conspiracy theory. In the middle of a deadly pandemic, it is a form of conspiracy theory with potentially deadly consequences.
Over two years ago, UC-Irvine announced a massive $200 million donation from Susan and Henry Samueli, to be used to “integrate” quackery into its entire structure. The fruits of that donation are now apparent.
The NCCIH recently published a study examining the percentage of US physicians who had recommended “complementary health approaches” to their patients in the last year. The percentages are far higher than they should be.
Professor Fabrizio Benedetti is the most famous and almost certainly also the most influential researcher investigating the physiology of placebo effects. In a recent commentary, he asks whether placebo research is fueling quackery, as quacks co-opt its results. The answer to that question is certainly yes. A better question is: How do supporters of science counter the placebo narrative promoted by quacks, in which placebos represent the “power of the mind to heal the body”?
This week, JAMA Internal Medicine published a clinical trial purporting to find that acupuncture helps stable angina. Here’s a hint: It doesn’t. It’s a bait-and-switch study that used “electroacupuncture” instead of acupuncture with poor blinding and lack of consideration of prior plausibility.