More Cherry-Picked `Evidence’

Some of you will have seen an email that went out the other day to subscribers to the `What Doctors Don’t Tell You’ website. Here it is:

Would you like to be featured in a future issue of What Doctors Don’t Tell You (WDDTY) magazine?

You could be if:

–You’ve come off worse from an encounter with medicine, or

–You’re an alternative practitioner with a successful case study you can tell us about.

In both cases, we will need to include your name and photograph. If you are an alternative practitioner, we will want to interview the patient, and also include his or her name and photograph.

So what are we looking for?

You’ve come off worse from an encounter with medicine: This could be your story or a relative’s (and we assume they would be happy to be featured). It could be a wrong diagnosis, a bad reaction to a drug, a surgical procedure that went wrong. . .anything that would qualify as ‘My Medical Horror Story’.

You’re an alternative practitioner: Here we are looking for success stories, especially of chronic conditions that conventional medicine isn’t reversing. It could also be an insight where you have ‘joined the dots’ and shed new light on a health problem.

In either case, please send a quick outline of your story to:
gemma@wddty.co.uk

This came from Bryan Hubbard, husband of editor Lynne McTaggart. So I sent the following to Gemma:

I would love to be featured in WDDTY. Here are my anecdotes.

About 8 years ago I went to my GP with neck pain. I was referred to the physiotherapy department and was invited to participate in a clinical trial of acupuncture. As a professional in clinical research for some 30+ years, I was horrified at the terrible standards of science and ethics being followed in this trial. I wrote to the chair of the ethics committee that approved the trial, who failed to reply. Does this count as a bad experience with orthodox medicine? Probably not, because my neck problem was resolved by the ordinary physiotherapist, who advised me to throw away my reading glasses and improve my posture at the computer using different contact lenses. The acupuncture had no effect at all. Neither did a previous course of acupuncture from my GP.

A short while before this episode, I visited a chiropractor because of low back pain. He never warned me about any possible adverse effects, such as vertebral artery dissection. I had three treatments, with no effect at all. A course of physiotherapy (ultrasound and traction) did the trick.

How about psoriasis? I had this for over 30 years on and off, but it disappeared when I managed to wean myself off steroid creams and most importantly reduce stress. I didn’t take any alternative treatments to achieve that.

Well I know you are not going to publish this, because you are specifically cherry-picking the evidence that suits what you believe. How many times do you have to be told that anecdotes are not evidence on their own? Yet not only do you cling to them, but you deliberately gerrymander the data by selecting only negative stories about real medicine, and positive ones about evidence-free remedies. That is unethical and potentially dangerous.

Why do I waste my time telling you all this? I know you won’t take the tiniest bit of notice. But this is an open letter and will be published somewhere.

The staff and supporters of WDDTY are clearly in thrall to something much closer to religion than knowledge. Typical of blind belief is a refusal even to acknowledge the existence of facts that are to rational people beyond dispute. But I think this latest initiative is a step further than they have taken before, in that they are consciously excluding evidence that they won’t like, and dredging for useless fairy stories. The readers will lap it up.

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3 Responses

  1. […] More Cherry-Picked `Evidence’ majikthyse, 01/11/13 […]

  2. […] More Cherry-Picked `Evidence’ […]

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