Quacks, Needles and Anti-Depressants.

The architects of the Fake News agenda use three main proponents when it comes to dismissing acupuncture: Ben Goldacre; Professor Colquohuon and Professor Quack.

So when Professor Edzard Ernst (Quack) is wheeled out to review the exceptional work of the Acupuncture Now Foundation and Mel Koppelman and launches a blistering attack on it's integrity... imagine my surprise.

I have had the privilege to talk to Mel Koppelman and she is such an exceptional talent. So exceptional indeed that after a somewhat acerbic exchange of letters on Facebook, Professor Ernst tried to poach her. Quack (almost everything he professes to be an expert on he also derides as 'quackery') wrote her a gushing job offer stating how she 'would make an exceptional addition to our research faculty', or similar such guff.

Mel met this with amusement and curious incredulity...  she had posted her previous exchanges with him on social media and so added this job offer to see what people thought. The main opinion on the Acupuncturists on Facebook forum was that, other than being a gassy old windbag, he was playing her like a badly tuned bagpipe and he should g* **** *******.

Mel was far too savvy to fall for this ruse and so in the most exquisitely polite terms rebuffed his advances.

So when Prof. Quack pillories the Acupuncture Now Foundation we have a slight problem of integrity. Along with the sublime Mat Bauer, Mel is the driving force behind the Acupuncture Now Foundation. How can Ernst feel Mel's work is so good that she would make a great addition to his team, but then excoriate her work for the organisation?

I don't generally read Ernst's articles as the bias is so fetid it makes the whole thing unpleasant. However, as I brushed past it one particular sentence caught my eye as simply sounding unscientific...

The review provided as evidence by ANF is wide open to bias; it was criticised in no uncertain terms:

'No uncertain terms', is not really a scientific phrase that an impartial observer would use unless the criticism was so acute that it verged on claiming scientific fraud.

The problem is that the link provided appears to offer no such joust. Its a 'critical review' done without a named author and from a centre that I, and I doubt most doctors, have ever heard of. These two things alone create a credibility issue. However it gets better: the review itself appears confused as it says that:

Most analyses found no significant differences between acupuncture therapies and antidepressants and sham acupuncture, which did not support the authors’ conclusions that acupuncture therapy was effective

Yet this equivalence between acupuncture therapy and anti-depressants (current standard of care) in fact DOES support the author conclusion that:

Acupuncture therapy appeared to be a safe and effective treatment for major depressive disorders and post-stroke depression;

Is the anonymous author of this critical review stoopid

In fact, the closest the review gets to 'no uncertain terms' is a...

Suggest(ion) that the conclusions are not reliable.

This is hardly in 'no uncertain terms', this is a 'suggestion'. In fact this is frankly misleading of Ernst to say this, and alarming The Spectator would publish it. Ernst really owes an apology to the Acupuncture Now Foundation. Given Quacks history it's not surprising he plays fast and loose with facts and opinion. The Editor of The Lancet had this to say about him in the past:

seems to have broken every professional code of scientific behaviour
— Richard Horton

The Spectator publishing this morally reprehensible characters jaded and frankly antiquated views on acupuncture is another example of Fake News.

Unfortunately I doubt the propogandists of the mainstream media are going to change soon and publish science on acupuncture that's either fair or interesting. Vote with your eyes (and your wallet) and stop giving them any attention. Use social media, get people to share positive stories and be very generous with re-sharing.

Oh, and follow Mel and Mat's great work at the Acupuncture Now Foundation.




This post was originally called: "Imagine My Surprise"

daniel keownComment