Quackery, magic, dementia, and more…


FSM News & articles

Australian patients vulnerable to quacks: Adequate consumer protection should focus on prevention. In Australia, it all too often involves action after a harmful event. Australian consumers are particularly vulnerable as we have one of the lowest rates of adequate health literacy in the OECD: only 40 per cent of us have adequate knowledge of how our bodies work, the relationship between lifestyle factors and illness and how to get the most from the evidence-based health system. Knowledge breeds the informed scepticism that can minimise harm from healthcare fraud. The single most obvious problem with our health system is the failure to adequately prioritise the prevention of illness. In that space health literacy is all-important.


FSM Friends news & articles:

Alternative Medicine in Australian Universities: The Hogwarts School of Magic is actually in Australia! They might even teach you how to ‘fly’ a broomstick! (without smoking anything): Are you aware that Australian universities have received government accreditation to teach degrees in alternative medicine? And are given government funding to do so? “Specific examples of these courses include: Bachelor in Chinese Medicine, Chiropractic and Osteopathy at RMIT University, Bachelor of Health Science (Naturopathy – includes homeopathy) at Endeavour College, Bachelor of Traditional Chinese Medicine at Western Sydney University and Bachelor of Health Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine at the University of Technology Sydney.” In other words, our taxes are going to validate and perpetuate the practice of alt-med, the “Magic” referred to by the author, Frank van der Kooy. These are fields supported by evidence that doesn’t exist, fuelled by anecdote and substantiated by cherry-picked data. Why is this the case? Because we now live in a post-truth world. But we can still fight this nonsense. And we will.

The journey of a “doctor” who joined the cult of alternative medicine and then broke out of it: Hermes has given up her dream of becoming a doctor and instead has dedicated her life to saving patients and would-be doctors from falling for the naturopathy claims that she once so confidently made. But larger forces now want to silence her.


General News:

How Australians Die: Cause #3 – Dementia (Alzheimer’s): Risks of dementia include having a family history of the disorder, a history of repeated head trauma and lifestyle factors, such as hypertension, uncontrolled diabetes, high cholesterol, poor cardiovascular fitness and atherosclerosis. Moderate exercise and controlled weight can reduce the risks of cognitive impairment and dementia.


Did you know?

‘Quackery’ Chronicles How Our Love Of Miracle Cures Leads Us Astray: Dr. Lydia Kang is the co-author of Quackery: A Brief History Of The Worst Ways To Cure Everything. She talked to us recently about her new book, the gross things people have done through the centuries in search of health, and what it means for modern medicine.


Great Moments in Health and Science:

The history of dialysis: Life, death and a “washing machine” The Invention of Dialysis. Bogus health practices often make many claims of removing “toxins” from the body, but thanks to artificial kidneys, many hundreds of thousands of people have had their lives improved and lengthened when their own kidneys were no longer able to remove very real toxins from their blood.


Thanks to science:

The flu shot saves children’s lives: Thanks to science we can prevent influenza related deaths. Influenza vaccination is not as effective as other available vaccines, due to the variable nature of the influenza virus. And people don’t often think of the flu as a deadly disease – but for more than a quarter of a million people annually, it is. “On average, the flu vaccine is about 50-60% effective. Parents say to me sometimes: why bother, if it might not work? My answer is: why not get it, if it might work?”