Oh boy – Christmas has come early!

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Danger: extreme smug-alert for the next several paragraphs.

In what seems to be a sudden, planet-wide attack of common sense, the world of reason has received two early chrissy presents.

Firstly, we read that here in Oz, Doctors take aim at chiropractors. It’s about bloody time that doctors stood up and and pointed the finger at these purveyors of quackery and pseudoscience. I’ve written before about this, and a particular irritation is the fact that our universities are teaching this stuff, and what’s more are being funded federally to do so. Predictably, the spokesman for the quackopractors insisted that “chiropractic treatment was evidence-based, including its use on children for the treatment of conditions such as colic“. They say that, but they NEVER back it up with evidence, such as, oh, reference to quality trials. If such trials and results existed, then the British Chiropractors Association wouldn’t have lost the celebrated case against Simon Singh in which Simon was sued for referring to chiropractic treatment as ‘bogus’. The BCA proferred a range of studies as evidence, but none stood up to scrutiny. So, Australian Chiropractors Association, let’s see the studies ….

And today I also read an article entitled EU quells buzz on royal jelly, in which a body called the European Food Safety Authority has sunk the boot into a whole range of health claims of one sort or another. In fact they’ve gone further than just safety, but have assessed products for efficacy. It appears that  the EU approved regulations in May 2006 to ensure that nutrition and health claims appearing on food products were scientifically proven. Well done EFSA. Our Therapeutic Goods Administration should take note. Apparently the EFSA has approved only 200 of 2500 health claims made by different products,with many more waiting in the wings. Amongst those products that get the thumbs down are royal jelly and its claim to boost the immune system, green tea and its claim to maintain healthy blood pressure, black tea and its claim to help focus attention, and glucosamine and its claim to improve joint pain and function (no doubt the EFSA finally read this).

Advice: You are leaving the smug zone.

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