Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmail DOT com

Science in London: The 2016 scientific society talks in London blog post

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Yes but what's that got to do with anything?

'ltlmtnhomeopath' on the #ten23 'channel' recently posted the following:-

ltlmtnhomeopath NHS Evidence - #CAM http://www.library.nhs.uk/cam/SearchResults.aspx?tabID=289&catID=12423 #ten23 #homeopathy

There are 23 pages of information about CAM (but homeopathy is not mentioned on the front page, so why not link to where the homeopathy information is if it's mentioned on those pages). What is listed there relates to herbal remedies, acupuncture and the like.

During the writing of this post someone has looked at all the pages (more patience than me) and concluded:-

hywelowen @ltlmtnhomeopath: Actually, NONE of these 225 papers are about #homeopathy - no evidence there! http://bit.ly/4raYRa #ten23 #CAM

Here's what's on page one.
  • Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa): a systematic review of adverse events
    ...the abstract of which concludes "Black cohosh has been associated with serious safety concerns that urgently require further investigation."
  • Acupuncture for tinnitus (Cochrane protocol)
    note - this is a protocol of how Cochrane reviewers will review evidence, but it doesn't really constitute evidence itself.
    "To assess whether acupuncture, either alone or in combination with other treatment, reduces the severity of tinnitus." - ie status unknown.
  • Auricular acupuncture for opiate dependence in substance misuse treatment programmes (Cochrane protocol)
    Again, it's a protcol, about ear acupuncture I think.
  • Coenzyme Q10 for Parkinson's disease (Cochrane protocol)
    Another protocol - evidence is, at time of publishing details of this protocol, undetermined.
    "To assess the evidence from randomised controlled trials for the efficacy and safety of treatment with Coenzyme Q10 compared to placebo in patients with early and midstage Parkinson's disease."
  • Reflexology for treatment of constipation (Cochrane protocol)
  • Rheum officinale (a Chinese medicinal herb) for chronic kidney disease (Cochrane protocol)
  • Spinal manipulative therapy for chronic low-back pain (Cochrane protocol)
  • Traditional Chinese medicine for preventing postpartum hemorrhage (Cochrane protocol)

    all of these are Cochrane protocols


  • 2009 Annual Evidence Update on CAM in Depression - Use of CAM
    Unless I'm mistaken this study looks at the patterns of use of CAM by people with mental health problems, not whether or not it's effective, although the abstract does note that many people find it beneficial. The word 'homeopathy' doesn't appear anywhere in the summary listed on the page.
So posting this series of articles to the #ten23 channel would seem to be a bit of an own goal.

From what I've gathered about the #ten23 campaign it isn't about wiping homeopathy of the face of the earth, I don't think it's even about discrediting homeopathy (IMHO, a process already completed) but simply about releasing trained pharmacists from the ridiculous position of being asked to give advice about non-medicines, sold next to medicines, in a shop which has already admitted there's no evidence for their effectiveness but that it values patient choice...

I'm quite happy for people to carry on selling homeopathic pills in a non-medical setting. I'd rather they didn't but...

The NHS Evidence - CAM pages that actually do relate to homeopathy are here.

The third article listed (I picked the first one that mentioned homeopathy overtly in the title) wasn't too impressive.
Finally, I wish the homeopaths posting articles to #ten23 would make better use of the URL shorteners such as bit.ly, is.gd, tinyurl.com etc. as that way they'll be able to get more text in their tweets.

1023 or #ten23 campaign

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Comment policy: I enthusiastically welcome corrections and I entertain polite disagreement ;) Because of the nature of this blog it attracts a LOT - 5 a day at the moment - of spam comments (I write about spam practices,misleading marketing and unevidenced quackery) and so I'm more likely to post a pasted version of your comment, removing any hyperlinks.

Comments written in ALL CAPS LOCK will be deleted and I won't publish any pro-homeopathy comments, that ship has sailed I'm afraid (it's nonsense).