Monday, February 13, 2012

A guide to pseudo-science for the gullible

I've been ill for over 25 years with ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis), so I've tended to attract well meant suggestions about "treatment" from a few friends and others. Since there isn't any cure or treatment for ME, and  no one has explained what causes it (though there are theories), ME patients are susceptible to the persuasive claims of quacks. I've been offered radionics, which involved someone directing healing radio waves at me from the other end of the country (for a "modest" fee of £100), and I know of people with ME who've spent £1000s on worthless treatments, some of which could do them a lot of harm.

As I'm also a sceptic (that's skeptic, if you're American), I've had no trouble rejecting all suspect claims, including homeopathy (one of the most popular) but if you're bothered by snake oil salesmen or their fans, just refer them to this invaluable guide to pseudo-science - click here to know more.


Anonymous said...

Absolutely correct. I've had ME/CFS for coming up to six years, and I'm always warning people with this illness that there are all too many quacks -- both well-meaning and actual charlatans eager for our money -- ready to offer us all manner of treatments. That there is no cure (as yet) makes people all the more susceptible to quackery.

I'm appalled at the time and money people with ME/CFS have spent on what are basically CBT courses with a few whistles and bells (and a big bill) attached, or outright quackery such as homeopathy, reiki or reflexology.

My advice is to avoid anything whose practitioners do not subject their wares to scientific testing or who resort to the law to deal with criticism. And also be careful of anything that costs a lot of money.

Dr Paul

Margaret Nelson said...

Thanks Dr P.