Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

The Bitter Pill

Breast Cancer + Alternative Medicine = Lower Survival

By Pallave Dasari

The internet allows greater broadcasting of false information about cancer cures, which means that women are treating their breast cancer with alternative therapies known to be the direct cause of preventable deaths.

In Australia, one-in-eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Medical specialists from surgery, oncology and radiotherapy together determine the best evidence-based medicine to attack the cancer effectively. Usually this involves a combination of medical interventions with strong clinical evidence of reducing and curing breast cancer. These medical advances have drastically reduced the death rate from breast cancer from 37% in 1982 to 19% in 2012.

Follow the Money

By Loretta Marron

The Chinese government is behind efforts to promote Traditional Chinese Medicine despite its lack of evidence.

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TGA Endorses Pseudoscience for Complementary Meds

By Ken Harvey

We are about to be exposed to hundreds of approved “remedies” that are ineffective at best and potentially dangerous.

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Functional Medicine: New Name, Old Ideas

By Jesse W. Luke

An extensive review of integrative medicine by the Australian Ministry of Health found that many of its practices aren’t supported by evidence. Now it’s going by a new name.

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Prevention or Pretension?

By Benson Riddle

When the great Dutch scholar Erasmus famously wrote that “prevention is better than cure” around 500 years ago, he didn’t exactly have orthomolecular medicine and high colonics in mind.

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Protecting Your Health in a Post-Truth World

By Rob Morrison

As scientific literacy declines and “post-truth” and “alternative facts” take centre stage, how can you ensure that you get proper health treatments that will actually do some good?

“Post-truth” is a term coined in 2010 to describe a political culture in which appeals to emotion defeat factual evidence in debate. It has now gone mainstream, selected in 2016 by The Oxford English Dictionary as the word of the year. One year later, “alternative fact” entered the lexicon as US President Donald Trump’s advisers fabricated stories about his inauguration that were easily falsified by well-documented and even photographic evidence.

US Mandates “No Evidence” Labels for Homeopathic Products

By Justin Coleman

Before advocates of science get too excited, though, a number of caveats may limit its effect.

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued an enforcement policy statement requiring the marketers of homeopathic products to “effectively communicate the lack of scientific evidence” on product labels (http://tinyurl.com/h8yzsla). This is the first time in the USA that homeopathic products will legally require a label stating that they don’t work.

Why Acupuncture Misses the Point

By Marcello Costa

History reveals the sociopolitical factors behind the rise and fall of acupuncture.

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Anti-Vaccination and CAM Reflect a Common Worldview

By Matt Browne

A study has explored the psychosocial factors driving anti-vaccination attitudes.

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Australian Chiropractors Manipulate the Evidence

By Ken Harvey

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency is dealing with more than 600 complaints about chiropractors. The majority of these cases involve caring practitioners who genuinely believe that their interventions are effective. The problem is their interpretation of evidence.

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