Skeptic Fails and Wins This Week

Happy long weekend, Skeptifans!  I am recovering from a trip to the PAX gaming convention (video games are my hobby, and currently my livelihood), but I haven’t failed to find some fails and wins this week.

Health Minister accepts ‘prudent’ advice not to fund MS treatment

David from Burnaby found sent in this update about the controversial MS treatment that has been a regular topic in the Fails and Wins for the last few months. It looks like the federal government is taking the advice of experts to hold off funding for full scale clinical trials of this treatment. There simply isn’t enough evidence to fund trials of this treatment, but there is risk. It’s nice to see the government taking an evidence based approach on this decision. Lorne from Edmonton found a similar article, but ends on a fail with this quote:

“If it doesn’t work, that’s fine. But what if it does? As far as I’m concerned, Dr. Zamboni has proved it works enough of the time to take the chance.

It’s important to remember that clinical trials are not just costly, but risky as well. The procedure in question is major surgery, and to perform it without good evidence that it could be effective is irresponsible.

Sherman: What is homeopathic medicine and why is it so effective is some cases?
It wouldn’t be a Fails and Wins article without some woovertising. Scott found this egregious case in BC Local News. It’s written by a homeopath, of course, and contains this choice quote:

Whatever criteria you may use, there is no doubt that homeopathy is much more effective than conventional medicine, but the sad fact is that homeopathy has lagged behind in popularity, due largely to the fact that it is not funded by government health care.

Yeah…he said THERE IS NO DOUBT homeopathy is more effective that conventional medicine.

It’s shameful that any news source would print this kind of stuff uncontested. And what editor would allow a story to be printed by someone who doesn’t know the difference between a sentence and a paragraph? Just read the article and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Well folks, that’s the Fails and Wins for this week.  Are you prepared to experience all the fame that comes with having your name mentioned by me? Then send me a skeptical Fail or Win to links [at] skepticnorth [dot] com.

6 Responses to “Skeptic Fails and Wins This Week”

  1. Rob Tarzwell says:

    And let’s not forget to mention that by “major surgery,” we’re talking about vascular neurosurgery. Complications include acute, unstoppable bleeding during the surgery (also known as, “Dying on the table”), acute stroke during or after the surgery (you thought MS was bad!), and encephalitis (brain infection). I really doubt any neurosurgeon I know would go anywhere near this without a compelling case that benefits exceed risks.

  2. Thanks Dr. Rob. I wish that those types of news articles spelled out the risks the way you just did. It really puts things into perspective.

  3. David Poulter says:

    You want the homeopaths to actually prove their assertions now? That hardly seems fair. Shouldn’t you just take them at their word?

  4. David Poulter says:

    Exactly. Why would they lie? It’s not like there are homeopaths out there selling $35 bottles of acidophilus cultures that can also be had by eating a $4 tub of yoghurt. If they say St John’s Wort will cure my syphilis that’s good enough for me. And my spongy brain as the spirochetes corkscrew their way through it.

  5. SARROW KIT says:

    lol fail XDD…. o-o did she still dring her beer??

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  • Melany Hamill

    Melany proudly uses the titles of both geek and nerd. As a science-enthusiast and fan of debate, Melany likes to get her facts straight. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in Chemical Engineering. Since then her career path has meandered to its current spot as a project manager at a video game studio. Melany lives near beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia. She is not seeking treatment for her caffeine addiction.