Thursday, July 03, 2008

My new favourite blog: Science-Based Medicine.

Are You Clean Inside?

You may have seen them. The websites that promote natural healthy cures if you buy a certain product. Liver cleanses, colon flushes, to rid the body of 'toxins' and 'caked-on stool inside the colon.'

The websites themselves can be pretty convincing. They use big scientific words, often refer to accurate physiology to support their claims, and most of all, are full of testimonials from people who swear the product worked on them (a big red flag...real doctors make treatment decisions based on scientific studies, not testimonials).

Therefore I'm excited to introduce you to
Science-Based Medicine, a blog I found while looking up some drugs that naturopaths were prescribing to a friend (admittedly out of fear for my friend's well-being).

Written by a surgeon, it discusses a number of naturopathic, natural, and alternative treatments from a person with much more medical experience than I have. Which I find refreshing because, as I said, with all the accurate facts mixed in with the bogus claims, these websites can be somewhat convincing and be somewhat successful at hiding the con within, even from a person like myself with six years of university training in biology.

Yes, I used the word con. That's the strongest word I've used towards any complimentary or alternative treatment on this blog to date. While I have in the past admitted to trying to be open-minded towards alternative treatments, some of them are just flat out there to con you.

As an aside, my friends who are studying to become naturopaths tell me they will spend most of their careers trying to distance themselves from these blatant conmen "that make us look bad," as they assure me there is still some science to what they practice (I will admit, though, that my goal of keeping an open mind to at least some of what they practice continues to grow an increasingly difficult task).

But more on the cons.

Consider the
Liver Cleanse, which claims to flush out gallstones without surgery.

Or the
Colon Cleanse, which claims to flush out toxins and caked-on stool from your colon.

While the websites can be convincing, Science-Based Medicine reveals them for what they are: absolute money-grabbing frauds. The author debunks the Liver Cleanse
here, and the Colon Cleanse here.

If you don't want to read the full description there, in short, the very 'cleanse' itself becomes the things you think you're getting rid of: items you eat when taking the "Liver Cleanse" clump together to form objects which look like gallstones... and the very powder you take for the "Colon Cleanse" (clay and fiber) clumps together to form objects which look like caked-on toxins. All of which can be fished from your stool, photographed, and submitted to the website at will, along with your name and city, to be added to the list of testimonials.

And about all those "caked-on toxins and stool'? The surgeon states that in all his years of opening peoples' bowels, he has never seen anything like that in an actual person's intestines.

Please don't be the next victim to these scams. Ask your doctor about anything you're unsure of...and ask them to perform a search of the scientific literature if it's a treatment they're unaware of. Because some of these don't just take your money...they can actually cause you harm.


Anonymous said...

I remember reading sometime back that Princess Diana was a big fan of colon cleansing. And now I read that Prince Charles is also - I think he does coffee enemas. When people read this, they assume that if important people believe in something, it must be valid. So much health misinformation is passed on via celebrities.

Couz said...

Hmm. A few thoughts.

First, don't confuse naturopathy in Canada with naturopathy in the US. Canadian N.D.'s actually have quite rigorous training, and have an important role to play in the health care team-- not instead of western medicine, but to compliment it.

Second... any product whose pitch uses the word 'toxins' is a scam. Your body has plenty of ways to get rid of toxins, and none of them involve ingesting stuff that tastes like crap.

Third... if you think that ANY physician is willing and able to take the time to do a "search of the scientific literature" every time a patient asks him/her a question, you need a big honking dose of reality. Hmm. Maybe if you eat the reality, it will get rid of some toxins... :-P

Dentists Corpus Christi said...

Eekk! Scams are head ache. There are many people who are victimize by the scammer's tactics. Hope that more people should be aware of those scams and be smart.