Is eating human placenta any good for you?

The purported health benefits of eating placenta are not based on evidence

The debate about homeopathy is over. These verdicts prove it

I have made my views on homeopathy clear on many occasions — actually, I don’t see them as ‘views’ but…

The harms of alternative medicine: what we see is just the tip of the iceberg

Many people seem to think that the value of a therapy is determined by its efficacy: a treatment that is…

Beware the believers: why it’s a problem if researchers only ever get positive results

One of the most obvious questions in any type of healthcare is ‘does this treatment work?’ If we want to…

Why debates with alternative health gurus so often turn ugly

‘They would say that, wouldn’t they?’ This bon mot has been attributed, not entirely correctly, to Mandy Rice-Davies giving witness…

bread

Viva Mayr clinic: where VIPs ‘detox’ by slowly chewing stale bread

‘A glass of wine at dinner and a flatter stomach in 14 days? It can be done, with this savvy…

Prince Charles’s homeopathy for cows: the Royal Society cannot stay silent

The antibiotics crisis is one of the urgent issues of our time and great attention should be paid to any…

st john's wort

Robust evidence is in: this herbal remedy is as effective as antidepressants

People tend to like good news, and I am not much different. I am constantly searching the recent medical literature…

Andrew Wakefield

Homeopaths are keeping Andrew Wakefield’s ‘anti-vax’ fantasies alive

The ex-doctor Andrew Wakefield is back in Britain. Why do I call him an ‘ex-doctor’? As was widely reported at…

Sorry, alternative health people: feeling better after a therapy is no proof it works

For more than two decades, I have been in regular contact with practitioners of this or that alternative therapy. Whenever…

homeopathy

A guide to DIY homeopathy might seem amusing. Actually it’s terrifying

The National Center for Homeopathy (NCH) claims to be the ‘go-to resource for all who are interested in learning about…

china studies

Fakery on a massive scale means we can’t trust studies from China

Imagine a therapy that supposedly cures most ailments and for which almost 100 per cent of all the published studies…

North Korean wonder drug

From cow urine to a North Korean wonder drug: the weirdest alternative health stories of 2016

Picking out the highlights in alternative medicine in 2016 got me thinking for quite a while. There have been many…

holistic dentistry

‘Holistic dentistry’: a popular term that is perfectly pointless

If you assume that a holistic dentist is someone who drills holes in our teeth, you would be mistaken; holistic…

Leah Wood

Alternative medicine kept Ronnie Wood young? You could have fooled me

Leah Wood, the 39-year-old daughter of Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood, has become an activist for alternative medicine. In an…

Dubious health claims thrive online. Here’s how to avoid them

The media have long had a keen interest in alternative medicine and report regularly on the subject. But all too…

slapping therapy

‘Slapping therapy’ death: don’t say alternative medicine is harmless

Any therapy that is not supported by sound evidence showing that it generates more good than harm should not be…

How to fool the public with a clinical trial that can’t fail

When it comes to testing whether a therapy works, the randomised clinical trial (RCT) is usually the methodology of choice.…

holistic

Real doctors are ‘holistic’. Alternative practitioners are anything but

One of the most common claims of alternative practitioners is that they take a holistic approach to healthcare. It is…

Germany’s ‘alternative’ clinics offer false hope to cancer patients like Leah Bracknell

It was reported last week that the ex-Emmerdale actress, Leah Bracknell, has started a campaign to raise funds for alternative…

Stuck in a tedious debate with a homeopath? Here’s how to settle it

As soon as I write something critical about homeopathy, some people start claiming that I am biased. And as soon…

Acupuncture ‘helps women fall pregnant’: the Sun has got this badly wrong

Does acupuncture help women get pregnant? According to a recent article in the Sun online, the answer to this question…

Why that study about alternative therapies relieving pain is worthless

The press release by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) was unashamedly positive: A review of evidence from clinical trials…

Iridology: Prince Charles may like it, but the evidence shows it’s bogus

Ignaz von Peczely (1826-1911) was a Hungarian physician who entered the history books for one of the most bizarre ideas in…

Eight slogans that quacks love to use: if you hear these, find a proper doctor

In the first of this two-part article, I discussed six popular tricks of the quackery trade. Some readers pointed out…

Cupping is making a comeback. But does it actually work?

You may have noticed that several Olympic athletes are covered in bruises. No, these are not minor injuries obtained during…