back to article Ex-IBMer sues Google for $10bn – after his web ad for 'divine honey cancer cure' was pulled

Shajar Abid, a former senior engineer at IBM and presently the "chief visionary officer" at Nubius Technologies LLC, has filed a lawsuit against Google, claiming that the online ad giant has suppressed his freedom of speech and religion. Abid, who goes by the first name "Shaq" on LinkedIn, claims to have developed "a divine …

  1. Tom 64
    Pint

    I wonder

    How quickly he will be thrown out of court, and if there will be associated laughter.

    Break open that popcorn!

    1. Stuart 22

      Re: I wonder

      "How quickly he will be thrown out of court, and if there will be associated laughter."

      Or is he just a bit desperate to get his $88 back?

    2. FuzzyWuzzys Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: I wonder

      He's not interested in suing Google in the least 'cos he knows he's not got a leg to stand on, however El Reg and others like it have done the "Lord's work" by offering something this bloke prayed for, free publicity for his venture !

    3. thealchemist

      Re: I wonder

      My philosophy of medicine is based on Moses's wisdom

      One time Moses got sick, so he prayed to God for guidance.

      God guided him to a plant. So he went and ate it. Then he was cured.

      Sometime later Moses got sick again, and he went to the plant and ate it, but this time he didn't get cured.

      So he prayed to God again for guidance, and God spoke to him saying, 'The first time you came to Me, the second time you went to the plant'

      I am combining a systems biology empirical approach based on prophetic medicine

      His medicine (peace and blessings be upon him) is not like the medicine of the physicians, for the medicine of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is certain, definitive, emanating from (divine) revelation, the lantern of prophethood, and perfection of reason. As for the medicine of others, most of it is conjecture, presumptions and experimentation.

      respectfully,

      Shaq Abid

      The Alchemist

      mightyhoney.org

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I wonder

        "So he prayed to God again for guidance, and God spoke to him saying, 'The first time you came to Me, the second time you went to the plant'"

        So unless god makes this honey work then it won't?

        Where is god's statement that he supports this product, you admit that without his support then is will not cure anyone so the product is both a fraud and against god's wishes?

        I am thinking that you dropped both logic and reason when you left IBM

        1. John H Woods Silver badge

          Re: I wonder

          "I am thinking that you dropped both logic and reason when you left IBM"

          He was a visioneer, he probably didn't have those faculties when they hired him.

      2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: I wonder

        "I am combining a systems biology empirical approach based on prophetic medicine"

        That sentence is difficult for me to parse.

        Systems, yeah, biology, yeah...empirical? You have no theoretical basis and you're going to try stuff and see what works?

        Prophetic medicine? As a basis for curing cancer? You do realise, I hope, that FDA is going to laugh you out of town?

        1. Pompous Git Silver badge

          Re: I wonder

          "empirical? You have no theoretical basis and you're going to try stuff and see what works?"
          There's no theoretical basis for why beta blockers work, or perhaps it's a case of too many mutually contradictory theories. Are you suggesting then that I cease taking my daily beta blocker, watch my blood pressure rise and die earlier than I need to while we await somebody to discover a theory?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I wonder

      Ironic. It seems divine honey is actually creating cancer by taking this to court.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Expensive Laughter Re: I wonder

      I give it five minutes, given his failure to actually state a cause for complaint.

      It takes a lot in the US to get costs awarded against you, and courts tend to give pro se litigants in particular a lot of latitude, but in this case I wouldn't be surprised to see the court at a minimum require him to post a bond to cover Google's costs before allowing him through the door.

      1. Black Betty

        Re: Expensive Laughter I wonder

        Do judges run "bullshit case" sessions in which they have all the plaintiffs perform a mexican wave while he calls them idiots? (In the appropriate legalese of course.)

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Expensive Laughter I wonder

          I'm surprised Google hasn't already countersunk for vexatious litigation, which would mean if Google wins the PLAINTIFF has to pay Google's court costs.

          1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
            Boffin

            @Charles 9 Re: Expensive Laughter I wonder

            Vexatious litigation requires that the idiot sued Googles multiple times over things that are not true or suing as a way to harass someone thru the courts. One lawsuit doesn't make one a vexatious litigant.

            As much of an idiot this guy is... he hasn't reached the point of being vexatious.

            Being labeled as a vexatious litigant means that this guy loses the ability to file any lawsuit and courts do not make that decision lightly.

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: @Charles 9 Expensive Laughter I wonder

              "One lawsuit doesn't make one a vexatious litigant."

              Even if it's for a sum as outrageous as ten BEEELION dollars plus over an ad? Isn't that essentially harassing someone through the courts as you say? Not to mention this isn't the plaintiff's first trip to court, already having a criminal record due to a DUI in the past?

              1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                Re: @Charles 9 Expensive Laughter I wonder

                "Vexatious litigation is legal action which is brought, regardless of its merits, solely to harass or subdue an adversary. It may take the form of a primary frivolous lawsuit or may be the repetitive, burdensome, and unwarranted filing of meritless motions in a matter which is otherwise a meritorious cause of action." I suspect his previous will have no bearing on the case. I don't think it's vexatious (yet), but it is sans doubt without merit.

                1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                  Re: @Charles 9 Expensive Laughter I wonder

                  A ten BEEELION dollar lawsuit over an ad sounds frivolous to me, as it's not the type of lawsuit one can expect to prevail by either a judge or civil jury.

        2. Brad Ackerman
          Childcatcher

          Re: Expensive Laughter I wonder

          Depends who the judge is. If Mentok the Mind-Taker's court is in session, nothing would surprise me.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can hear sirens

    Woooowooooowoooowoooooo!

    1. Little Mouse

      Re: I can hear sirens

      There's a law against selling "cancer cures" in the UK. What's the picture like on the other side of the pond?

      1. Alan J. Wylie
      2. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Re: I can hear sirens

        On this side of the pond you can advertise all you want ... BUT, the FDA will come for your first born if you make a "medical claim" without evidence. The FDA can make you recall every product at fault and fine the bejesus out of you.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: I can hear sirens

          "The FDA can make you recall every product at fault and fine the bejesus out of you."

          And I'm sure that would make their product "illegal enough" (for having made illegal claims) to support Google's decision, _AND_ there's no doubt in my mind that some kind of liability is involved in allowing "illegal" products to be advertised through Google's ad network.

          And so, Google was right to deny the 'ad words' for a product that makes claims that violate FDA regulations, and even though it's only *slightly* illegal it's most likely Google's final decision anyway.

          Google is a ginormous "deep pocket" target for lawsuits. I just hope they don't pay anything to settle.

          1. Bob Dole (tm)
            Mushroom

            Re: I can hear sirens

            If they settle on this then I have a cure for athlete's foot that involves pure molasses lovingly infused with Astrologic Tea Tree oil as prepared by the Snow Shaman EcoNamista... and I totally believe in it too.

            1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

              Re: I can hear sirens

              @Bob Dole (tm)

              ... and I totally believe in it too.

              Well, there's always the placebo effect.

            2. Truckle The Uncivil

              Re: I can hear sirens

              The Ti tree oil will be effective for the problem without the added molasses.

              1. Baldrickk Silver badge

                Re: I can hear sirens

                Ti tree?

                Does it grow calculators?

        2. Dick

          Re: I can hear sirens

          Not really, in the U.S. call it a "supplement" and you can get away with pretty much anything until maybe the FTC goes after you, and that process will take years. The FDA can warn about dangerous supplements, but otherwise have no power in that area. The FTC can go after you for deceptive marketing. See http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/jellyfish-memory-supplement-prevagen-hoax-ftc-says-n704886

    2. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: I can hear sirens

      Hallelujah for Google. And the NEMJ...

  3. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge
    Stop

    So basically the guys is a parasitic snake oil selling conman preying on vulnerable cancer victims and their families and he's upset that google are refusing to be complicit in his scam.

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      ...and I agree with google's decision , and indeed laud them for it.

      well done google .

      sorry cant think of a reason to bash google today.

      maybe someone will suggest google are impedeing the mountebank's freespeech?

      1. Yes Me Silver badge
        Angel

        freespeech

        "maybe someone will suggest google are impedeing the mountebank's freespeech?"

        He is asserting that. But they're not; he can stand on a soap box anywhere he wants and shout about his scam.

        I guess it must have been working for IBM that triggered him to forget his ethics and start selling nonsensical products?

    2. Gordon Pryra

      Yes but he HAS worked out a way to get his website plastered all over the place for very little cost.

      El Reg wrote it down.

      lots of news and links to his website + desperate people who are dying or have loved ones dying = cash in the bank

      The only supernatural power that could be argued to exist is the ability for any human to be fucking evil

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Or, in technical terminology: he's a loon.

      (Having been relayed eyewitness accounts of someone I know's colleague having a breakdown, I am being serious. Fortunately that colleague got aggressive so they were able to be locked up and get treatment. If this guy's a single, non-violent loon he can't be helped.)

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What did you expect, he is ex-IBM

      According to wikipedia, IBM is the first company that started to use FUD on a wide systematic scale.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear,_uncertainty_and_doubt#Definition

      Why is IBM called the Big Blue? Because IBM had more lawyers (in blue suits) than engineers. At one point in time, IBM got $2 billion from patent trolling:

      https://arstechnica.com/business/2014/03/twitter-paid-36-million-over-ibm-patent-threat/

      Here is another example of when IBM sued Sun Microsystems. Basically, the Sun lawyers said IBM claims were invalid because those seven patents were stupid. Upon IBM lawyers said "Maybe you dont infringe these patents, but we have many more. Do you want us to find some patents you do really infringe, or do you want to pay us $20 million?". Sun payed and IBM lawyers went on the next "customer" to blackmail.

      https://www.forbes.com/asap/2002/0624/044.html

      There are many stories about IBM FUD and patent trolling, it is deep in IBM's DNA. For instance, James Gosling (father of Java) tells about another case when IBM almost bankrupted Sun because of a silly patent. And after that, Sun started to patent everything to protect itself.

      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/08/17/golsing_on_sun_goofy_patent_contestas/

      If you google a bit, there are many cases of IBM patent trolling lawyers. IBM patents everything to patent troll and extort patent money.

      So, what did you expect from an ex IBMer when he sued Google? Of course, he is schooled in the arts of FUD and patent trolling and suing.

  4. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    But seriously though folks....

    Obviously the guy is barking mad, but dangerously so. If he manages to persuade some poor sod to use his silly 'cure' instead of having chemo then they will die.Yes, they may well die anyway, but that's not the point. And never mind about the benefits of offering them 'hope'. There are a variety of legal offences for people who knowingly cause, or attempt to cause, harm and death to other people.

    It all sounds rather silly, and no more than a minor pain in the bum for big G who will have to waste time and money telling him to go and practice auto-fornication, but serious action needs to be taken to stop these charlatans before they kill someone.

    I think he should have his day in court, but as the accused, followed by several years in a nice warm cell where he can chat to his preferred sky-pilot.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: But seriously though folks....

      People regularly and happily flock to quacks promising miracle cures all the time. Unfortunately, there's still no cure for stupidity in sight!

      This is little more than a PR scam to get the attention of the gullible through articles such as this.

      On a side note: many of our current ways of dealing with cancer including chemotherapy are sadly often not that much better.

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: But seriously though folks....

        "many of our current ways of dealing with cancer including chemotherapy are sadly often not that much better."
        Like this twat you mean? Doctor defends chemotherapy treatment as 'reasonable and proper'
        "... the final report into Dr Grygiel found he had given inadequate doses of chemotherapy to more than 100 head and neck cancer patients at St Vincent's."

      2. Seajay#
        Stop

        Re: But seriously though folks....

        I have to disagree with your side note. Our current ways of dealing with cancers are very effective. Look at the graph and that only goes up to 2011. Since then the survival rates have improved even further to the extent that breast and testicular cancer are almost always survivable.

        The reason I feel I need to correct you is that unjustified cynicism towards real medicine is exactly what drives people towards this sort of quackery.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: But seriously though folks....

          Our current ways of dealing with cancers are very effective.

          I should have been clearer: they're still basically barbaric and attempt to kill the cancer before the patient. Of course, I'm delighted for every success but if you know anyone whose had cancer you'll also know that the adage the cure is often worse than the disease has a ring of truth to it. The market was also skewed to promoting expensive therapies over research into the causes.

          The more recent investigations into understanding what the various cancers actually are and selectively targeting treatments and looking far more promising.

          1. Pompous Git Silver badge

            Re: But seriously though folks....

            "Our current ways of dealing with cancers are very effective."
            Really? A few years ago I had cancer of the bladder. This was confirmed when a urologist used a flexible cystoscope to look inside my bladder. He told me that I would be admitted to hospital within 30 days to have the carcinoma removed. When I didn't receive any communication from the hospital regarding the procedure, I began telephoning to ask when it was to take place. Each time I was told to wait for the letter I would be sent. On the the third occasion I was told to stop telephoning and asking about a procedure I had already received.

            What makes you think writing down that a procedure has taken place when in fact it hasn't is "very effective"?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: But seriously though folks....

              @ Pompous Git; "What makes you think writing down that a procedure has taken place when in fact it hasn't is "very effective"?"

              We get it. You're justifiably pissed off at a bureaucratic ****-up that could have killed you.

              A point worth raising, but a bureaucratic ****-up rather than a medical one - even an inexcusable one like that- is what it was, and you know that's not what Charlie Clark was talking about. I'm not sure that shoving words in his mouth like that is a fair way to make your point when it was hardly his fault.

          2. bombastic bob Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: But seriously though folks....

            "The market was also skewed to promoting expensive therapies over research into the causes."

            Well, when a cancer patient would have 6 months to live without the expensive therapies, _AND_ the research has been taking YEARS too long to save that patient's life, I think the expensive therapies make more sense. [and so would medical marijuana if it gives patients 'the munchies' so they don't starve to death when the expensive chemotherapy makes them so nauseous that they can't eat - yeah a somewhat practical and inexpensive add-on to the expensive therapy].

          3. martinusher Silver badge

            Re: But seriously though folks....

            >I should have been clearer: they're still basically barbaric and attempt to kill the cancer before the patient.

            I think we're about the same stage with cancer cures are we were with infections in the 1930s. Back then even a relatively minor infection could easily turn life threatening. Once antibiotics became widely available infections became more of a nuisance. We're at the point where we are starting to really understand what cancers are and how they hide in our bodies which has allowed the development of some spectacularly successful experimental therapies. I'd guess that as this work continues we'll see the widespread availability of therapies over the next few decades that would make most cancers more of a nuisance than a threat. (Which, if antibiotics are anything to go by, would be followed by cancers promptly evolving to combat our therapies....and so the biological arms race continues.)

          4. Mark Jan

            Re: But seriously though folks....

            The more recent investigations into understanding what the various cancers actually are and selectively targeting treatments and looking far more promising.

            They're not promising at all. The latest and greatest (and eye-wateringly expensive) cancer drugs are (best case scenario) extending (note not saving) lives by maybe two or three months. The patient in the meantime hardly feels alive.

            The billions spent on the "war on cancer" declared by Nixon in 1971 has largely been a failure.

            The human genome project promised in 2006 a "cure for cancer within 10-15 years has been a shown to be a failure. And why? Because the vast majority of cancers are not the result of gene mutations. The mutations are in the vast majority of cases the symptom and not the cause. Much of current modern medicine seeks to treat the symptoms and not the cause, and so it is with cancer. Without addressing the cause, drugs eventually become ineffective as the cancer cells literally shed the receptors that are being targetted, rendering the drugs ineffective.

            Before you down vote look up the work of Professor Thomas Seyfried explaining the metabolic derangement and mitochondrial dysfunction of cancer cells. There is hope on the horizon but it won't be found in the majority of oncology departments or pharmaceutical labs.

            1. Pompous Git Silver badge

              Re: But seriously though folks....

              "There is hope on the horizon but it won't be found in the majority of oncology departments or pharmaceutical labs."
              I agree about the pharmaceutical labs, but you might be surprised by the progress elsewhere.

        2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: But seriously though folks.... @Seajay

          You have to be careful looking at things like survival rates for cancer, as the numbers can be misleading due to a combination of two factors:

          - firstly the figures quoted are often survival rates over a period of time (e.g. five year survival rate), since as time tends towards infinity, survival tends towards zero.

          - secondly, due to much better tests and diagnosis over the last 20 years or so, people are getting diagnosed earlier.

          So, if you get a tumour that will kill you if it is untreated, but only get diagnosed when it has metastasised, your survival rate is essentially zero, but if you get diagnosed when it is at an early stage, removing the entire growth and completely curing you is a very real possibility. In these cases, you will often be given chemotherapy as well as an insurance policy against there being a few abnormal cells remaining.

          The problem with chemotherapy is not that it doesn't work - it can be very effective, but that cancer is not a single disease. With few exceptions, every single cancer is its own unique disease, so what works for one patient may not work for another. Cancers are categorised by the type and location of the tumour, so for example, you might get a melanoma, but it won't be the same as someone else's melanoma even if the symptoms are the same.

          1. katrinab Silver badge

            Re: But seriously though folks.... @Seajay

            A 100% survival rate doesn't mean that 100% of patients survive, it means the survival rate is the same as general population who didn't have that disease.

    2. wikkity

      Re: But seriously though folks....

      I'd still prefer to try the honey over homeopathy like Mr Jobs.

      1. Yes Me Silver badge

        honey over homeopathy

        Honey tastes nicer than extremely pure water, but you might as well buy your honey at the supermarket (and not waste your money on manuka honey, either). I'm sure an oncologist would say the same, while recommending the best treatment for your case.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But seriously though folks....

      Sometimes hope is all they've got and it's such a cruel fickle thing (for the record I've been watching the father in law slowly die of too many to list cancers tryiB&B to hope along with the rest of the family and it's painful to watch the realisation sink in that all hope is lost. It might sound cruel but a quick death would have been a mercy over the wasting away to nothing that's happening robbed of movement and basic dignity).

      I hope he loses everything and crawls back into the oblivion he came from, snake oil salesmen deserve nothing less (and certainly nothing more).

      Annon to protect the wife

    4. Ilsa Loving

      Re: But seriously though folks....

      Unfortunately there is lots of precedent for charlatans to get their way. The most obvious one, of course, being homeopathy. For some inexplicable reason people are allowed to sell magic water that can cure everything from warts to quadriplegic paralysis.

      And never mind the barking mad anti-vaxxers (who tend to be within the same circles as the homeopathists) who flat out lie to get people to stop vaccinating.

      Both groups have killed more than a few gullible people, children in particular. And lets not get started with all the other nonsense like acupuncture, cupping, subluxationists, and the countless other nonsense people peddle on the desperate.

      1. Mark Jan

        Re: But seriously though folks....

        And never mind the barking mad anti-vaxxers (who tend to be within the same circles as the homeopathists) who flat out lie to get people to stop vaccinating.

        You need to keep up with the research!

        Read Miller’s Review of Critical Vaccine Studies which summarizes the findings of 400 vaccine-related scientific papers. Whilst doing that don't forget the most recent damning verdict of big pharma published results:

        “For most study designs and settings, it is more likely for a research claim to be false than true. Moreover, for many current scientific fields, claimed research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias.”

        (Ioannidis JP. Why most published research findings are false. PloS Med 2005 Aug; 2(8): e124.)

        Back to the vaccine studies, the findings are disturbing. For example:

        “Thimerosal-containing vaccines continue to be administered on a regular basis to potentially the most vulnerable populations: pregnant women and children (especially in developing countries). Given this, we believe it is high time to reassess the rationale for using thimerosal, a known immune and neurotoxic substance, in human vaccines.”

        (Tomljenovic Ll, Dorea JG, et al. Commentary: a link between mercury exposure, autism spectrum disorder, and other neurodevelopmental disorders: Implications for thimerosal-containing vaccines. Journal on Developmental Disabilities 2012; 18(1):34-42.

        “Evidence has now emerged showing that autism may in part result from early-life immune insults induced by environmental xenobiotics. One of the most common xenobiotic with immune-stimulating as well as neurotoxic properties to which infants under two years of age are routinely exposed worldwide is the aluminum vaccine adjuvant.”

        (Shaw CA, Sheth S, et al. Etiology of autism spectrum disorders: genes, environment, or both? OA Autism 2014 Jun 10; 2(2): 11.

        “The yearly U.S. mass influenza vaccination campaign has been ineffective in preventing influenza in vaccine recipients. Vaccine recipients need to be informed of the limitations and risks of the vaccine and of the alternatives to vaccination. In particular, they need to know of the possibility that repeated vaccinations may increase the risk of adverse effects.”

        (Geier DA, King PG, et al. Influenza vaccine: review of effectiveness of the U.S. immunization program, and policy considerations. Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons 2006 Fall; 11(3): 69-74.)

        “Under universal varicella vaccination, there has been a vaccine-induced decline in exogenous boosting. We estimate universal varicella vaccination has the impact of an additional 14.6 million herpes-zoster cases among adults aged under 50 years during a 50-year time span at a substantial cost burden of 4.1 billion U.S. dollars or 80 million U.S. dollars annually.”

        (Goldman GS. Cost-benefit analysis of universal varicella vaccination in the U.S. taking into account the closely related herpes-zoster epidemiology. Vaccine 2005 May 9; 23(25): 3349-55.)

  5. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    They walk amongst us

    "There are a variety of legal offences for people who knowingly cause, or attempt to cause, harm and death to other people."

    Makes you wonder how homeopathists gets away with it .

    Also the upper management of various religions that eschew modern medicine

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They walk amongst us

      Makes you wonder how homeopathists gets away with it,

      Belief is a powerful thing. Just look at how Trump won the election: a billionaire who got in by promising non-billionaire behaviour.

      German cartoonist Martin Perscheid once published a cartoon in which a homeopathist was swimming in a swimming pool, and proclaimed he was a homeopathist. The response of someone nearby: "I am now too!"

      :)

    2. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: They walk amongst us

      "Makes you wonder how homeopathists gets away with it ."
      Er... because they don't knowingly cause, or attempt to cause, harm and death to other people.

      "... when doctors strike, the scientific research shows that patients stop dying."

      Why Do Patients Stop Dying When Doctors Go on Strike?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: They walk amongst us

        Er... because they don't knowingly cause, or attempt to cause, harm and death to other people.

        That's an ongoing debate. It can be argued that supplying something that has no track record of cure makes the victim (let's call it what it is) believe they will be cured, the harm is thus in causing the victim to delay seeking proper medical care, sometimes until it is too late.

        1. Pompous Git Silver badge

          Re: They walk amongst us

          "the harm is thus in causing the victim to delay seeking proper medical care, sometimes until it is too late."

          Perhaps you should read the analysis I linked to earlier:

          "Cunningham and colleagues summarise their review of research assessing the effects of doctors' strikes on mortality, finding that four of the seven studies report mortality dropped as a result of medical industrial action, and three observed no significant change in mortality during the strike or in the period following."
          As a, internationally famous statistician remarked to me once, the worst thing you can do for your health is follow a doctor's advice.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: They walk amongst us

            > Perhaps you should read the analysis I linked to earlier

            Why? It's an article by Raj Persaud...

            The paper cited in the article points out that emergency care was always available during the studied strikes (so doctors were available at all times anyway) and that "none of the strikes may have lasted long enough to assess the effects of long-term reduced access to a physician".

            The conclusion seems to be that elective surgery was curtailed which meant that the small but known risks associated with such surgeries were deferred to a later time. The risk remained, it just moved.

            As for homoeopaths, they are wilfully negligent as they prevent people seeking proper medical attention in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence that homoeopathy is just the placebo effect.

            1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

              Re: They walk amongst us

              @AC

              As for homoeopaths, they are wilfully negligent as they prevent people seeking proper medical attention

              As for homoeopaths, they are wilfully negligent as IF they prevent people seeking proper medical attention

              ...good ones don't! (See earlier reply)

            2. Pompous Git Silver badge

              Re: They walk amongst us

              "As for homoeopaths, they are wilfully negligent as they prevent people seeking proper medical attention in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence that homoeopathy is just the placebo effect."
              You will have to provide evidence for that before I will believe it. First that homeopaths do not also prescribe allopathic interventions. Second, that there's something "wrong" with placebo effect.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: They walk amongst us

                > You will have to provide evidence for that before I will believe it.

                Let me Google that for you.

                Homoeopathy is bullshit. If your doctor is suggesting this even as a complimentary treatment then they are a) bullshitting you into a placebo response or b) quacks.

                1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                  Re: They walk amongst us

                  "Let me Google that for you.

                  Homoeopathy [sic] is bullshit. "

                  Thanks for the link. Interesting:

                  "Despite the absence of funding, it appears that a number of prospective clinical trials using random assignment and control group designs have been accomplished. The results of these studies suggest that, in general, homeopathic treatments may offer some promise, particularly when compared to conventional medical treatments."

                  A systematic review of the quality of homeopathic clinical trials

                  1. Ilsa Loving

                    Re: They walk amongst us

                    "Offer some promise..."

                    The article you cite also points out that the quality of the majority of those studies are essentially crap.

                    Furthermore: http://thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(05)67177-2/abstract

                    "When account was taken for these biases in the analysis, there was weak evidence for a specific effect of homoeopathic remedies, but strong evidence for specific effects of conventional interventions. This finding is compatible with the notion that the clinical effects of homoeopathy are placebo effects."

                    While I understand your frustration with conventional medicine (you certainly seem to have been on the receiving end of a shocking amount of incompetence), your are making a logical faux pas that I see very often. Just because conventional med has failed you, doesn't automatically mean homeopathy is better. Indeed, I am basically your opposite. I had a family member who waffled on proper medical treatment and instead chased after one sham after another. The end result was that he died, painfully and miserably, and put the family into a terrible debt in the process.

                    (Also, regarding your goat's warts, it's impossible to comment since there's no way of knowing exactly what you gave them. For all we know the warts receded for the simple reason that they got a good wash with clean water.)

                    Conventional medicine isn't perfect. It never will be. But it *does* improve, because it is real science. Homeopathy is *not* science. It would be just as effective to go on one of those televangelist shows and have the preacher wallop you in the forehead. The problem with placebo is that it is a very real phenomenon. The body is a remarkable machine that can do a surprisingly amount of things, which is why we arn't even close to completely understanding it. And the more we learn, the more humbling the experience. (If you compare attitudes today to attitudes from several decades or centuries ago, the difference in confidence is striking). But it's also why placebo is the benchmark for drug studies. If a drug is unable to do better than placebo, then the drug is classified as worthless, as it should be. This is why homeopathy is considered worthless: Because it does nothing that the body itself can't already do itself. All you are doing is shelling out money for very expensive theatre.

                    Where my blood begins to boil, is when these charlatans claim that their theatre rivals actual medicine, and people get sick and/or die as a result. Thanks to antivaxxers (which overwhelmingly overlap homeopathists by demographic) efforts to destroy herd immunity , we are now seeing resurgences of diseases that were all but eliminated in North America, such as measles.

                    This hurts not only the antivaxxer population, but it also hurts the people who are forced to intermingle with them. A virus won't care if you are an antivaxxer or if you have a genuine allergy to a component in a vaccine. All it sees is an opportunity to infect, so herd immunity is critical for these vaccines to protect a population. But there's no way to sue someone for infecting your child with polio, so this nonsense gets to continue. Meanwhile the poor kid gets to be debilitated for life due to no fault of their own.

                    So yes, placebo "medicine" *does* have a cost beyond the sticker price. Just because you arn't the one that has to pay it doesn't mean there are no consequences.

                    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                      Re: They walk amongst us

                      "your are making a logical faux pas that I see very often. Just because conventional med has failed you, doesn't automatically mean homeopathy is better."
                      You will have to quote my words on that as I cannot recall stating anything to the effect "homeopathy is better". What I have stated is that homeopathic is prescribed by conventional medical practitioners, that I have limited experience of homeopathic working and linked to a variety of papers on PubMed/Elsevier. I also agreed with the statement "Personally I'm not convinced by the theory, but many people report positive outcomes."

                      At this time I take a number of allopathic meds and a similar number of CAM meds that are also allopathic. All were prescribed by fully qualified health professionals. I suspect that had I not had such a positive experience with homeopathic over 30 years ago that I would not be experiencing the benefits of the CAM meds. I am fully in favour of evidence based medicine and continue to be amazed at the number of medical professionals who merely give this lip service.

                      "regarding your goat's warts, it's impossible to comment since there's no way of knowing exactly what you gave them. For all we know the warts receded for the simple reason that they got a good wash with clean water"
                      The goat was administered homeopathic thuja. Both of our dairy goats had their bags and teats washed immediately before milking. It's SOP because if you don't the milk deteriorates rapidly. The cure was suggested by my GP at the time as she was discovering that CAM was curing "incurable" chronic illness in her patients.

                      My GP also suggested that we use a Bach flower remedy (Rescue Remedy) when our infant son awoke in terror, which he did quite frequently. RR worked almost immediately, thus relieving The Gitling of a half hour of abject distress several times a week.

                    2. Pompous Git Silver badge

                      Re: They walk amongst us

                      "The article you cite also points out that the quality of the majority of those studies are essentially crap."
                      That's hardly a surprise. John P. A. Ioannidis in his paper Why Most Published Research Findings Are False:

                      "Published research findings are sometimes refuted by subsequent evidence, with ensuing confusion and disappointment. Refutation and controversy is seen across the range of research designs, from clinical trials and traditional epidemiological studies [1–3] to the most modern molecular research [4,5]. There is increasing concern that in modern research, false findings may be the majority or even the vast majority of published research claims [6–8]. However, this should not be surprising. It can be proven that most claimed research findings are false."

              2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
          2. Archie Woodnuts

            Re: They walk amongst us

            "As a, internationally famous statistician remarked to me once, the worst thing you can do for your health is follow a doctor's advice."

            Does that bullshit work on a broken arm?

            1. Pompous Git Silver badge

              Re: They walk amongst us

              "Does that bullshit work on a broken arm?"
              Dunno. Perhaps you could ask my last remaining friend who just died. He took Vioxx on the advice of his physician and had five heart attacks in quick succession. You'll have to pray to him for his advice though...

              1. Lee D Silver badge

                Re: They walk amongst us

                Should we be funding any claimed "professional" suggesting treatments that are known to be no better than placebo, but cost more than any standardised placebo treatment?

                My answer is no.

                Placebo has a powerful effect. And can be given to you by a sugar pill. We shouldn't be PAYING PEOPLE to be nothing more than unregulated placebo-peddlers for patients without clear notifications of such.

                (P.S. Note carefully the wording, as professionals WILL knowingly give placebos in controlled trials, for instance - and they tell you it's a possibility [which, interestingly enough, doesn't affect the placebo effect!], and they are doing it to compare against the real research going on in the same project).

                No matter what study you cite, title you get, qualifications you have, or claim to have, all "alternative medicine" treatment is independently verified to be no better than placebo, time and time again - measured by scientists and independent medical researchers on your behalf. Just because a handful of GP's believe it, or Prince Charles, or even someone with ten medical doctorates, does NOT make it truth. Hell, they can even PRESCRIBE it, it doesn't mean it works, or that there isn't something much simpler that would work much better. I can point you to any number of people qualified in such areas who belief all kinds of nonsense.

                Pay for your own sugar pills, and think me wrong as much as you like. Because when something "works", it gets refined, experimented on, analysed, enhanced, commercialised, tested and becomes... medicine. Aspirin came about from people chewing tree bark for 2000 years. The Mongols put mouldy bread on their saddle-sores. But until you can prove it works, it means nothing. And then when we prove it works, you get a proper medicine not some home remedy (aspirin, penicillin and it's thousands of derivatives, etc.).

                If you have something that "works" and medical researchers aren't trying to buy the rights from you, it's a lie. Because they would happily take it, isolate the part that works, synthesise it, and sell you a pill of it in a second. The fact that they don't? It means it doesn't work.

                1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                  Re: They walk amongst us

                  "Should we be funding any claimed "professional" suggesting treatments that are known to be no better than placebo, but cost more than any standardised placebo treatment?

                  My answer is no."

                  An excellent question and response. Unfortunately, my experience with medical professionals is that they will unthinkingly prescribe completely ineffective treatments. A recent example:

                  Almost a year ago, I had a cardiac resynchronisation device implanted in my chest. Post-op, I was in quite a lot of pain, mainly arthritic. The nurses refused to allow me to take my usual anti-inflammatory medications (naproxen (a prescribed NSAID) and curcumin as advised by my pharmacist). A nurse also told me that the doctors had decided I could only receive a 2.5 mg dose of oxycontin, rather less than what was needed.

                  What I was offered instead was Panadol Osteo which is paracetamol, but because the word "Osteo" occurs before the word "Panadol" on the box and costs a lot more than ordinary Panadol it must be good. The nurse also claimed it was "extremely effective" for arthritic pain. According to The Lancet only 4% of patients can detect any difference in arthritic pain level when using paracetamol but I'm not one of them.

                  Around one third of people who take placebos (believing them to be medication) will experience an end to their symptoms. And that's a rather better result than 4% wouldn't you say?

              2. Archie Woodnuts

                Re: They walk amongst us

                Ah right, it's anecdotal bullshit. Now I understand.

          3. Mooseman Bronze badge

            Re: They walk amongst us

            Stats are dangerous, as we all know. Why do patients not die during doctors strikes? Maybe because they are not undergoing non emergency surgery and so are not dying of unforeseen complications?

            And I'd be wary of anything that Raj Persaud has put his name to

          4. JLV Silver badge

            Re: They walk amongst us

            So presumably, even an non-famous statistician would find a positive correlation between _low_ population/doctor rates in countries and _higher_ life expectacy? Once controlled for other mortality factors like sanitation and diet.

            Cuba, with its numerous doctors, should be a death pit compared to other similar income countries, eh?

            Ditto a time-based comparison of our own countries since the advent of modern medicine.

            Like another person said, excessive cynicism, and unsubstantiated/outta context anecdotal claims appealing to supposed experts, like yours, opens the doors to precisely twats like this Abid.

            1. Pompous Git Silver badge

              Re: They walk amongst us

              "excessive cynicism, and unsubstantiated/outta context anecdotal claims appealing to supposed experts, like yours, opens the doors to precisely twats like this Abid"
              I'd say that negative experiences such as I have experienced with the medical profession over the years caused my "excessive cynicism". Example: for 10 years I was diagnosed as a chronic asthmatic, not by one doctor, but several. It wasn't until I was at death's door that the correct diagnosis of congestive heart failure was made that I was prescribed drugs that actually worked as distinct from covering up a symptom.

              My statistician friend who specialises in medical statistics points out that risk assessment from a doctor's POV is orthogonal to a patient's. While the patient usually just wants to get better, the doctor is more concerned with covering their arse and making enough money to pay for rapidly rising professional indemnity insurance premiums.

              1. JLV Silver badge

                Re: They walk amongst us

                Your point?

                You are in dire need of a statistician friend if you insist on overgeneralizing from experience with uncommon - but certainly not unknown - cases where doctors fuck up. I have had these fuckups happen. To me, to close friends and family too.

                Doctors are, in my opinion, a lot like programmers. The top end do a really good job, at least where the medical possibility exists. The bottom end tends to make a hash of things, like the nitwit programmers or sysadmins we in IT have the misfortune to encounter sometimes. And mistakes are human in any case.

                The good news is that, most of them, most of the time, do a reasonably good job of fixing what's fixable. The bad news is that the few who do suck tend not to get booted out quickly enough and the outcome can be deadly.

                If the stakes are high and you are smart enough to, double and triple check what a doctor is telling you. Their's a hard job and you are one of many patients but you yourself have a vested interest in your outcome. Switch to a better doctor if you have to and if you can.

                The above observation doesn't mean I dislike or am overly cynical about doctors and medicine like you seem to be. It just means that they are human and liable to make mistakes like any of us. Despite sometimes not being overly willing to admit it.

                But, hey, if you want to eschew modern medicine yourself, by all means, do so. Just expect the rest of us to call you on BS if you wanna spread the gospel. Just like the morons in the anti-vaccine movements.

                1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                  Re: They walk amongst us

                  "If the stakes are high and you are smart enough to, double and triple check what a doctor is telling you. Their's a hard job and you are one of many patients but you yourself have a vested interest in your outcome. "
                  Precisely, hence my knowledge of the content of a considerable number of papers published in the medical journals.

                  "Switch to a better doctor if you have to and if you can."
                  Have done so on a number of occasions as my GPs have retired. Being reliant on the public health system, I have little choice but to accept the specialists available. In any event, most of the specialists at the Royal are also the specialists at Hobart Private next door. IOW no choice.

                  "But, hey, if you want to eschew modern medicine yourself, by all means, do so. Just expect the rest of us to call you on BS if you wanna spread the gospel."
                  As I said to Ilsa Loving, you will have to quote my words. I have nowhere said that I "eschew modern medicine". I have said: "At this time I take a number of allopathic meds and a similar number of CAM meds that are also allopathic. All were prescribed by fully qualified health professionals." [Emphasis added]

                  1. jake Silver badge

                    Re: They walk amongst us

                    You do know that using the term "allopathic" is enough to get your opinion laughed at, right? It's a nonsensical term invented by Samuel Hahnemann.

                    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                      Re: They walk amongst us

                      "You do know that using the term "allopathic" is enough to get your opinion laughed at, right?"
                      You do realise that you just used the term don't you? What alternative term do you suggest? The OED doesn't provide any.

                      1. jake Silver badge

                        Re: They walk amongst us

                        Unlike yourself, I used the bogus term "allopathic" only to reference what I was discussing. I didn't actually use the bogus term in it's intended manor. The proper term is "medicine" and variations thereof.

                        1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                          Re: They walk amongst us

                          "Unlike yourself, I used the bogus term "allopathic" only to reference what I was discussing. I didn't actually use the bogus term in it's intended manor [sic]. The proper term is "medicine" and variations thereof."
                          From the OED. Medicine: "Any substance or preparation used in the treatment of disease". Thus medicine includes both homeopathic and non-homeopathic (allopathic) drugs. Manor = "A mansion, habitation; a country residence". Bogus = counterfeit; that is something made in imitation of a genuine object, such as a counterfeit Rolex watch. If you want to correct my word usage you might want to correct your own first.

                          1. jake Silver badge

                            Re: They walk amongst us

                            Whatever, dude. Enjoy your woo-laid.

          5. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: They walk amongst us

            > the worst thing you can do for your health is follow a doctor's advice.

            Listening to rubbish like that will get you killed mate. We'll all end up there eventually, but why the rush?

            1. Pompous Git Silver badge

              Re: They walk amongst us

              "Listening to rubbish like that will get you killed mate. We'll all end up there eventually, but why the rush?"
              Somewhat more than a decade ago I presented at the Royal Hobart Habbatoir because I was having severe difficulty breathing. I was diagnosed as having an asthma attack, given a Ventolin inhaler and sent home. My symptoms gradually became worse and when I became cyanotic Mrs Git called an ambulance.

              When the ambulance arrived, the officer immediately put an oxygen mask on me. I thanked him and said that I felt like I was dying. He said that was because I was.

              We returned to the RHH where the oxygen was removed and I was left for several hours and again my skin turned blue. The same doctor who had diagnosed me as suffering asthma called for me to enter the treatment area. I asked for a wheelchair, but that was refused on the grounds none were available. I fell unconscious to the floor before reaching the treatment area.

              The last words I can remember were the doctor saying: "You'll have some interesting bruised when you wake up!" Indeed I did. All around my navel.

              I was later diagnosed as having acute bronchitis and spent a week in a hospital bed on oxygen and an intravenous drip. Presumably if I had taken the original doctor's advice, that all I needed to do was suck on Ventolin, I would now be dead.

          6. dajames Silver badge

            Re: They walk amongst us

            As a, internationally famous statistician remarked to me once, the worst thing you can do for your health is follow a doctor's advice.

            That's just the sort of conclusion one might expect from a statistician.

            What's the adage? Lies, damned lies, and statistics!

            1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

              Re: They walk amongst us

              "That's just the sort of conclusion one might expect from a statistician."

              That statistician may have been joking, too. Jokes are easily lost in translation.

              Statistics is a science that is very useful for finding correlations, but does not help much with causation. Statistical correlation is basically a label saying "this is the spot needing further research". And then there are those common pitfalls (or even devices for deliberate deception) - samples that are either too small or cherry-picked, ignorance towards reliability metrics.

              Darrell Huff's 1954 book "How to Lie with Statistics" is still a worthwhile reading.

              1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                Re: They walk amongst us

                "That statistician may have been joking, too. Jokes are easily lost in translation."
                His remark was certainly mischievous and intentionally so.

                "Statistics is a science that is very useful for finding correlations, but does not help much with causation."
                It is rather more useful for rejecting causes: no correlation implies a lack of causation. I'd say Huff should be mandatory rather than worthwhile only. Sadly far too many think that a passing familiarity with Excel functions substitutes for an understanding of statistics.

              2. Terry 6 Silver badge

                Re: They walk amongst us

                Absolutely. A statistician is essentially a bean counter who measures the piles of beans that other people hold. And their conclusions do not extend beyond comparing piles of beans over time. Which is why we have experiments to test predictions. Even researchers in statistically dependent fields like Psychology have to repeat "correlation isn't causation" to themselves on a regular basis. And be very aware of false correlations, such as those where the time scales don't actually match - as in that old chestnut about doctor strikes and mortality. Mortality as a consequence of disease is not in the same time frame as diagnosis or treatment, especially when emergency intervention is excluded.

                1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                  Re: They walk amongst us

                  "Mortality as a consequence of disease is not in the same time frame as diagnosis"

                  You sure about that? How about cerebrospinal meningitis, cholera, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections, dengue haemorrhagic fever, or even the good old bubonic plague? Yes, the latter is still doing the rounds and even though less virulent than strains that caused the medieval plagues the case-fatality ratio has exceeded 50% in recent time when left untreated.

            2. Pompous Git Silver badge

              Re: They walk amongst us

              "That's just the sort of conclusion one might expect from a statistician."

              Statistics

              "Of the 52,135 [upper respiratory tract infection] episodes identified, 65% received antibiotics. Antibiotics were prescribed for 78% of acute bronchitis episodes, 65% of acute pharyngitis episodes, 81% of acute sinusitis episodes, and 33% of nonspecific URI episodes. The proportion of antibiotics that were broad spectrum was 56% for all URI episodes, 68% for acute bronchitis, 55% for acute sinusitis and nonspecific URI, and 40% for pharyngitis."

              We know that antibiotics are useless for controlling viral infections. We also know that antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria are increasingly problematic and that inappropriate antibiotic use is making things worse. Antibiotics also have a deleterious effect on gut bacteria leading to chronic health problems.

              We currently face multiresistant infectious disease organisms that are difficult and sometimes impossible to treat successfully. If the chance that you are prescribed an inappropriate drug is greater than 50% it's difficult to understand why you would unquestioningly do so. This is faith-based medicine.

              At least with homeopathic drugs antibiotic resistance is not an issue, nor are you likely to go into anaphaleptic shock, or suffer from an impaired immune system from their use.

              Statistics are the basis of evidence-based medicine. You might not like it, but medical practise has been moving towards EBM for some considerable time, though not quite quickly enough for those of us that prefer it to faith-based medicine.

      2. Tom 64
        Paris Hilton

        Re: They walk amongst us

        > LINK "Why Do Patients Stop Dying When Doctors Go on Strike?"

        My bullshit-o-meter just hit 11. Congratulations, that's rare.

        1. Pompous Git Silver badge

          Re: They walk amongst us

          "My bullshit-o-meter just hit 11. Congratulations, that's rare."
          And your links to contrary research are... non-existent. Congratulations, my bullshit-o-meter just hit 11,000.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Stop

        Re: They walk amongst us

        Pompous git....I guess you missed the key line in that article, that pretty much debunked their own analysis.

        "........So doctors' strikes don't necessarily drastically reduce access to health care."

        They compared also May of the previous 3 years, with the one affected. What about March, what about June? Did these see similar drops or spikes? How did the weather compare? What were the birth rates? Were there more road accidents?

        I could easily say more people died in Late August 2005 in New Orleans than the previous years, and this was due to the 40 year old Virgin being show in the Cinema, ignoring the fact there was a fucking great hurricane around the same time.

        1. Pompous Git Silver badge

          Re: They walk amongst us

          "Pompous git....I guess you missed the key line in that article, that pretty much debunked their own analysis."
          And I guess you can't read:
          "The articles analyzed five strikes around the world, all between 1976 and 2003. The strikes lasted between nine days and seventeen weeks. All reported that mortality either stayed the same or decreased during, and in some cases, after the strike. None found that mortality increased during the weeks of the strikes compared to other time periods."

          Doctors' strikes and mortality: a review

          "They compared also May of the previous 3 years, with the one affected. What about March, what about June?"
          Mortality varies through the year outside the equatorial zone. It's highest in the winter months and lower in the summer months.

          While you may make assertions like "more people died in Late August 2005 in New Orleans than the previous years, and this was due to the 40 year old Virgin being show in the Cinema, ignoring the fact there was a fucking great hurricane around the same time", attributing such to Cunningham et al is pretty scurrilous.

    3. jake Silver badge

      Re: They walk amongst us

      "Also the upper management of various religions." FTFY

    4. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: They walk amongst us

      Makes you wonder how homeopathists gets away with it .

      Simple - any proper homeopathic practitioner (and I have met a number who are qualified GPs) knows the limitations - they tend to use homeopathy as complementary treatment, not as an alternative. No worthwhile homeopath would recommend a homeopathic treatment instead of following the normal treatment for cancer or other serious conditions, or instead of a cast to mend a broken leg. But their homeopathic treatments may help with reducing side effects etc. Many people have found they do. Personally I'm not convinced by the theory, but many people report positive outcomes.

      1. Potemkine Silver badge

        Re: They walk amongst us

        Personally I'm not convinced by the theory, but many people report positive outcomes.

        The same with Voodoo, witchcraft and astrology....

        Homeopathy is a scam, when scientifically evaluated it doesn't get better results than the placebo effect:

        Are the clinical effects of homoeopathy placebo effects? Comparative study of placebo-controlled trials of homoeopathy and allopathy.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: They walk amongst us

          However the placebo effect works, and is better than no intervention at all - marginally.

          No need to be ripped off for that marginal benefit though.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: They walk amongst us

          Homeopathy is, I agree, a scam. Fortunately, unless it is being sold in place of proper treatment (as it is in some countries), it is fairly benign. My wife loves homeopathy, but even she knows it is a psychological, not physiological, thing. Got something NSNT (non-serious, non-treatable)? Fuck it -- take some homeopathic 'remedy'. Where's the harm in it? It makes my wife feel like she's doing something, and that makes her feel better. Unfortunately it doesn't work for me because it's bullshit.

          1. Pompous Git Silver badge

            Re: They walk amongst us

            "Homeopathy is, I agree, a scam. Fortunately, unless it is being sold in place of proper treatment (as it is in some countries), it is fairly benign. My wife loves homeopathy, but even she knows it is a psychological, not physiological, thing."
            So how come homeopathy cured the warts on my goat's teats? I find it very hard to believe that was psychological. The vet assured me that the warts were caused by a virus and hence were incurable.

            1. Dr_N Silver badge
              Facepalm

              Re: They walk amongst us

              "So how come homeopathy cured the warts on my goat's teats?"

              Ha Ha Ha!

              Oh, you're serious?!

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: They walk amongst us

              > "So how come homeopathy cured the warts on my goat's teats?"

              You realise that correlation does not imply causation, don't you?

              And frankly your personal experience with a data of one sample isn't worth the square root of jack.

              On the other hand I'm not sure how many scientists will have published works on this topic.

              1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                Re: They walk amongst us

                "You realise that correlation does not imply causation, don't you?"
                I do indeed; it does however imply the possibility something that people who automatically chant "correlation does not imply causation" sometimes forget. Unfortunately I never had the opportunity to repeat the experiment, so the evidence is definitely not scientific. OTOH, the vet's advice was to shoot the goat. She was worth quite a lot of money (herdbook), we were somewhat impoverished at the time and she provided us with milk for several more years.

                I don't know how much you've had to do with dairy goats, but they are very affectionate creatures. Tugging the teats of two of them twice a day generates a somewhat intimate relationship. SWMBO made the most wonderful cheeses from the milk and our son's eczema caused by allergy to cow's milk went away.

            3. badger31

              Re: They walk amongst us

              @Pompous Git

              "So how come homeopathy cured the warts on my goat's teats? I find it very hard to believe that was psychological."

              Really? I find it hard to believe that's NOT psychological. And anyway "homeopathy cured the warts on my goat's teats" doesn't meet any scientific rigour requirements.

              1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                Re: They walk amongst us

                "Really? I find it hard to believe that's NOT psychological. And anyway "homeopathy cured the warts on my goat's teats" doesn't meet any scientific rigour requirements."
                You don't really believe the goat knew we were treating her warts do you? Goats are probably the most intelligent of domestic livestock, but they're not that smart.

                Quoting myself from earlier in this thread: "Unfortunately I never had the opportunity to repeat the experiment, so the evidence is definitely not scientific. OTOH, the vet's advice was to shoot the goat."

      2. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: They walk amongst us

        "Personally I'm not convinced by the theory, but many people report positive outcomes."
        Definitely with you on this. Not just people who report positive outcomes, livestock too. I once asked one of my goats whether it was psychological and she denied it ;-)

      3. graeme leggett

        Re: They walk amongst us

        Let us consider the homeopathic practice of entirely bogus preventions in lieu of actual real-life vaccines and the likely outcomes of such practices.

        And, as to "any proper homeopathic practitioner " "No worthwhile homeopath "

        That is the No True Scotsman Fallacy.

      4. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: They walk amongst us

        There is no such thing as a proper homeopathic practitioner. Any GP prescribing a homeopathic treatment would either be doing so as a placebo, as an adjunct to proper treatment, or to 'treat' a psychosomatic illness, or be guilty of malpractice. It's not like they don't spend five years at medical school learning how to treat patients scientifically, followed by two years of junior doctor training in a hospital setting before even starting to train as a GP.

      5. Yes Me Silver badge

        many people report positive outcomes...

        ... which are known to be the result of the placebo effect. Nothing wrong with that in itself, but the danger is people refusing real treatment because of magical beliefs.

      6. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: They walk amongst us

        "they tend to use homeopathy as complementary treatment, not as an alternative."

        etc.

        placebo effects are well documented. homeopathy in general is another snake oil. I cite the process of "dilution" that allegedly increases the potency as my number one proof of that.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeopathic_dilutions

        But, like the honey "treatment" there will be a placebo effect from homeopathy, and occasional SOMETHING from an herb or chemical that was included in the mix in sufficient quantity to have an effect. For all we know, putting the patient in a good mood with lots of confidence is all that it takes for some people to be cured instead of dying. The brain is very powerful, and not that well understood. There are psychosomatic diseases with real symptoms. "Good mood" therapy may be a part of any balanced treatment. The doc could prescribe a good book, video games, or 'get off your ass and do something' and be just as effective as any 'snake oil' (probably more effective because those are real things, not fake like snake oil).

      7. MonkeyCee Silver badge

        Re: They walk amongst us

        "Simple - any proper homeopathic practitioner (and I have met a number who are qualified GPs)"

        Living in the Netherlands is nice for this, Germany too.

        Homeopathy is a protected profession here. So you have to be an actual doctor before you can start calling yourself a homeopath. Which is great, since the snake oil sellers have to be quite a bit more careful (still tons of health food shops etc), but the actual shamans have enough medical knowledge that if you are ill and treatable then they will push you towards the correct areas rather than bilk you for more cash.

        It appears to be mainly populated by kind, well meaning physicians who are not emotionally capable of dealing with the loss of their patients. Hence they are treating people who are mainly not unwell, just in need of some hand holding and some magic pills.

        I've considered starting an online homeopathic pharmacy, you input all your instructions for what you want, then it gets printed onto a label and attached to the vial of sugar pills and sent out. I'll even tap the pills firmly on a red leather pad whilst thinking good thoughts for you :)

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Makes you wonder how homeopathists gets away with it .

      Makes me wonder how Christian Scientists (!) gets away with it. Also, Scientology.

      Oops, nevermind. They're *religions*. Carry on.

      Mr/Mrs Abid, just turn Nubius Technologies from LLC to Church of Nubius Technologies and you may succeed. Can't say that for your victims, though.

    6. Shooter

      Re: They walk amongst us

      "At this time I take a number of allopathic meds and a similar number of CAM meds that are also allopathic. All were prescribed by fully qualified health professionals."

      Well, *someone* has to graduate at the bottom of their class.

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: They walk amongst us

        "Well, *someone* has to graduate at the bottom of their class."
        Presumably yourself. I very much doubt you know either my GP or my cardiologist.

    7. Mark Jan

      Re: They walk amongst us

      "There are a variety of legal offences for people who knowingly cause, or attempt to cause, harm and death to other people."

      Makes you wonder how homeopathists gets away with it .

      Also the upper management of various religions that eschew modern medicine

      And yet, properly prescribed medicines are the 4th biggest killer. Makes you wonder how "modern medicine" gets away with it:

      Lenzer refers to a report by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices: “It calculated that in 2011 prescription drugs were associated with two to four million people in the US experiencing ‘serious, disabling, or fatal injuries, including 128,000 deaths.’”

      The report called this “one of the most significant perils to humans resulting from human activity.”

      And here is the final dagger. The report was compiled by outside researchers who went into the FDA’s own database of “serious adverse [medical-drug] events.”

      Therefore, to say the FDA isn’t aware of this finding would be absurd. The FDA knows. The FDA knows and it isn’t saying anything about it, because THE FDA CERTIFIES, AS SAFE AND EFFECTIVE, ALL THE DRUGS THAT ARE ROUTINELY MAIMING AND KILLING AMERICANS.

      http://www.bmj.com/content/344/bmj.e3989

      And in June 27th, 2014, issue of the Harvard Safra Center for Ethics newsletter, by Donald Light, “New Prescription Drugs: A Major Health Risk With Few Offsetting Advantages”:

      “Few know that systematic reviews of hospital charts found that even properly prescribed drugs (aside from misprescribing, overdosing, or self-prescribing) cause about 1.9 million hospitalizations a year. Another 840,000 hospitalized patients are given drugs that cause serious adverse reactions for a total of 2.74 million serious adverse drug reactions. About 128,000 people die [per year] from drugs prescribed to them. This makes prescription drugs a major health risk, ranking 4th with stroke as a leading cause of death. The European Commission estimates that adverse reactions from prescription drugs cause 200,000 deaths; so together, about 328,000 patients in the U.S. and Europe die from prescription drugs each year. The FDA does not acknowledge these facts and instead gathers a small fraction of the cases.”

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: They walk amongst us

        @ Mark Jan

        The U.S. National Poison Data System publishes data in the journal Clinical Toxicology. The linked document shows no deaths from homeopathic remedies, vitamin supplements, mineral supplements or nutritional supplements. None. Zero. Zilch.

        My experience with CAM:

        Since commencing magnesium supplementation 5 years ago, I have had no occurrence of night cramps.

        Since commencing consumption of glucosamine sulphate and biocurcumin for osteoarthritic pain, I have had a dramatic decrease in the number of flare-ups requiring the steroid prednisol and/or the synthetic opiate oxycontin. Both of the latter have significant unwanted side-effects.

        Since commencing a regime of supplementation of my diet with fish oil capsules, I have reduced my intake of candesartan HCTZ while maintaining a satisfactory BP. HCTZ worsens insulin sensitivity, problematic when you're born with a genetic predisposition to Type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, other anti-hypertensive drugs were not as effective in lowering my BP.

        Would I ever contemplate daily taking quinine for night cramps, prednisol for my arthritic pain, or taking a greater amount of HCTZ and becoming diabetic? In a pig's eye!

        1. Mark Jan

          Re: They walk amongst us

          @Pompous Git

          Congratulations, you've treated yourself by attending to the root causes.

          Have you ever tried magnesium oil as an adjunct or even replacement to the magnesium supplementation?

          And yet, those with a closed mind will down vote you without even investigating for themselves.

          I would have thought people on this board had enquiring, inquisitive minds.

          1. Pompous Git Silver badge

            Re: They walk amongst us

            "Congratulations, you've treated yourself by attending to the root causes."
            Indeed, but then I have no intention of merely being a cash cow for doctors, pharmacists and the drug companies. Active participation in successful maintenance of my health is critical given that I have two debilitating diseases: severe osteoarthritis and congestive heart failure.

            Eighteen months ago my heart's exit fraction was less than 20% and today it's 95% of normal. Currently I take 4 prescription meds 3 being for the benefit of my heart. Typically my fellow patients are taking a dozen and I came across one who's taking twice that number. But then they didn't undertake the research that I have. I'm currently reading a paper that claims 21% of patients in the study suffered clinical consequences of inappropriate prescription of drugs. A chap who worked for me in the 1970s while studying for his pharmacy degree now owns a string of pharmacies. He told me that GPs frequently prescribe drug combinations that would likely kill the patient.

            "Have you ever tried magnesium oil as an adjunct or even replacement to the magnesium supplementation?"
            No and the blurbs I'm reading are not encouraging: "Amazing Oils have stated that up to 90% of oral magnesium can be destroyed by the gut". But that doesn't mean I won't give it a go after discussing with my sports physio dude. Transdermal magnesium sounds like something he's be trialling on his clients.

            "I would have thought people on this board had enquiring, inquisitive minds."

            Several do :-)

  6. Korev Silver badge
    Flame

    I really hope that Google chose not to settle out of court (to avoid the hassle) and fight this one all the way. Google would like to move into Healthcare, they should demonstrate that they are prepared to do the right thing for the world's health.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      they should demonstrate that they are prepared to do the right thing for the world's health.

      What, like they do for your privacy? No thanks, I don't think the world has a need for more companies in healthcare with ulterior motives, there's enough of a mess already.

      If they want to offer large scala analytics, fine, but not with "creatively acquired" information and with disclosure of the mechanics so we'll know for sure the output doesn't have a couple of lines above the actual data that is sponsored by a pharmaceutical outfit.

    2. Mage Silver badge

      Google Healthcare

      Allegedly they are in "Healthcare".

      i.e. processing patents records.

      I'm sceptical as to what they are doing.

  7. Blergh
    Devil

    Advertising

    Oh dear I can't advertise on Google. How else can I advertise with Google? I know I'll sue them for a ludicrous amount and then all the media will advertise my product for me. Yay!

    (I've no idea what the legal bills are for such a method but maybe it works)

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Advertising

      Rather higher than $88.

      The FDA might also take an interest, those costs are astrological*.

      * Like astronomical, except the Gods actively attack you.

  8. Your alien overlord - fear me

    If it's a divine cure, surely his/your God should be curing you, not a jar of honey which would be an Melittological cure?

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      "not a jar of honey which would be an Melittological cure?"
      I suspect it's the herb, not the honey. I've been channelling Bob Marley lately...

      1. Steve K Silver badge

        Maybe it helps if you put Jam in too?

      2. JLV Silver badge

        Not, as it happens, the cleverest choice here, given what Marley died from. Not so much the herb as his perhaps too dismissive approach to conventional, non-quack, medicine.

        Died way too young :(

  9. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Quack, quack, quack!

    Gawd, how I wish him to burn in court.

    It is "alternative medicine" like this that makes people skip real treatment and die. "I want 10 billion and those 88 dollars", stay classy, dude.

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Quack, quack, quack!

      It's not the alternative medicine that kills you.

      It's **choosing** to use the alternative medicine.

      Quite literally, Darwin Award candidates.

      If you stop one scam artist snake oil salesman, another will pop up to take their place.

      But if you just stop listening to utter b****cks, it doesn't matter how many scam artist snake oil salesmen exist, for your particular instance of whatever condition.

      Anyone with a brain knows this is rubbish.

      The people without brains cannot be regulated and are capable of much worse than buying products like this if left unsupervised.

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: Quack, quack, quack!

        Good advice.

        That was Facebook's message this morning on radio 4 re fake news, to which the reporter replied - you actually expect people to check the facts? cant you magically do that for them?

      2. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Quack, quack, quack!

        Desperate individuals. Not gullible fools. That's the issue.

        Drowning man and straw.

  10. 0laf Silver badge
    Alert

    No adverts when I search on Google for homoeopathy?

    So they might have a blanket ban on snake-oil.

    I feel a bit dirty I might have something positive to say about Google now.

    1. Named coward

      Healthcare products are considered as restricted on adwords

      "...The restrictions that apply to this content may vary depending on the product or service that you're promoting and the countries that you're targeting. Some content, such as unapproved substances, can't be promoted anywhere..."

      It's all there in their terms and conditions, which he clearly didn't read

    2. Aladdin Sane Silver badge
      Headmaster

      No adverts when I search on Google for homoeopathy?

      Try searching for homeopathy and you might get different results.

      1. 0laf Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: No adverts when I search on Google for homoeopathy?

        Luckily Google usually sorts out my keyboard mashing attempts at typing.

        Is that two things now?

        Double dirty.

  11. DropBear Silver badge
    Facepalm

    If only our local newsrag would have the decency to do the same... but noooo, it's Eastern Europe, so we're happily runnig ads for magic healers with magnets and crystal ball gazers happy to "remove curses" all they long, full page, just keep the money flowing... Oh, and good luck trying to explain even to fairly reasonable people why your "(non-)belief" and their "belief" are not supposed to be equally valid. It's in print, man! It MUST be true! "Look, I'll get you the book - you should really read it; you'll see they're right, it's all explained in there...!"

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      It's in print, man! It MUST be true! "Look, I'll get you the book - you should really read it;

      Somethings never change! my understanding is "the book" is one of the reasons why certain religions such gained ground against traditional belief systems handed down by word of mouth.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "Look, I'll get you the book - you should really read it; you'll see they're right, it's all explained in there...!"

      I've been tempted on multiple occasions to sort myself out a nice hand-made leatherbound tome which contains "XYZ is bullshit" statements, one per page.

      'I've got a book too - see?'

      1. Robert Moore

        I've been tempted on multiple occasions to sort myself out a nice hand-made leatherbound tome which contains "XYZ is bullshit" statements, one per page.

        I would like to buy a copy of that book.

    3. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      "I read it in a book"

      Has anyone tried asking if all books are infallible sources of wisdom?

      I prefer "the test of truth is an experiment". Shajar Abid is welcome to eat radium until he gets cancer then cure himself with his magic honey.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: "I read it in a book"

        Trouble is that experiments can't help on matters of faith, which by definition can neither be proved or disproved.

  12. John G Imrie Silver badge

    Can I sue this guy...

    For making me have to like Google today?

  13. jake Silver badge

    The mind boggles.

    "...observed the eminent lawyer, "I hesitate not to pronounce, that every man who is his own lawyer, has a fool for a client." --Henry Kett, 1814

  14. Kapudan-i Derya

    This guy doesn't need 10 billion dollar, he needs mental help.

    Or he is a clever snake who just wants publicity for his product which he got alright. At one point people try ANYTHING to get rid of their cancer. "Why not the miracle cure which got in the news on sites like The Register, ...! I mean this guy is suing for 10 billion, he is confident. What to lose at this point?"

    -Another customer for his $47 pot of cancer curing divine honey.

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge
      Flame

      The 10 billion figure he's touting is an indication of how many lives he was going to ruin.

  15. Winkypop Silver badge
    Devil

    How do you become an Alt Med practitioner?

    It's easy, there's nothing to it.

  16. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

    Amid all this:

    "The Register also reached out to IBM"

    What? Have you just employed an out of work HR consultant?

    What's wrong with "The Register also asked IBM"

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Amid all this:

      Re: "The Register also reached out to IBM"

      Given the content of the article, I think El Reg is giving alternative communication methods a go, to see if they are any more successful than simply picking up the phone. You never know, perhaps the preacher really can "reach out"...

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: Amid all this:

        Maybe they used one of those gypsy ladies with a crystal ball that advertise in the back of magazines for the brainless

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Amid all this:

        Given the way IBM is going the only way to contact them soon is going to involve a Ouija board

      3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Amid all this:

        I think El Reg is giving alternative communication methods a go

        What - staring at goats? It could be worse, you could be talking to them about homeopathy :-)

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And despite all this

    he validates the 1% average hit rate that's seems to remain unchanged even the most ridiculous pill pushing spam.

    I find it hard to believe his business could ever generate 10 beeelion or even 10$ in sales. I wonder how he arrived at this figure?

    Google can trade with who it likes - most private companies are not obliged to deal with individuals or organisations they don't like. Find a different advertiser if you really think cough mixture is a cure for cancer...

  18. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    And talking of quack medical gadgets...

    Saw this doozy in the Daily Fail this morning (yes, I know, I buy it for the servants to read)

    "It’s a vibrator…. but not as you know it: New 2-in-1 wand promises to give you better ORGASMS and reduce bladder weakness by strengthening pelvic floor muscles

    Sculpt uses a combination of light energy from red and infrared light-emitting diodes (LEDs), thermal heat, and therapeutic vibration to help rebuild collagen to improve vaginal tissue laxity and restore the overall health of the pelvic floor"

    The mind boggles.

    1. hi_robb

      Re: And talking of quack medical gadgets...

      I bought the wife one of those vibrators!

      All she has done is moan since...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    POTUS

    Could this be the start of a bid for Trump's job? Get his name out there, wave a flag for Google-haters, fan some flames, sit back while that constituency grows? Collect some more bunches of nutters with other causes ...

    I'll get me coat. With the lead lining.

  20. Tom 38 Silver badge

    ultra-rare herb Soul of Kashmir

    I normally buy this in little baggies, I never thought you get just get it in honey and spread it on toast - mind == blown.

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      "I never thought you get just get it in honey and spread it on toast"
      Watch out for ingesting rather than inhaling. Easy to OD...

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        "Watch out for ingesting rather than inhaling. Easy to OD..."

        Given the substance, I'd be amazed to find ONE verified death directly attributed to it, regardless of intake method.

        1. Pompous Git Silver badge

          "Given the substance, I'd be amazed to find ONE verified death directly attributed to it, regardless of intake method."
          Tasmanian vet Tim McManus reported on a rash of dogs that had ingested MJ butter to excess. No, they didn't die, but they were apparently very ill and very distressed.

          As presumably were their owners having lost their supply :-)

        2. Tom 38 Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Given the substance, I'd be amazed to find ONE verified death directly attributed to it, regardless of intake method.

          Where did he say anything about dieing, he said you can OD on it. Not at all the same thing.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            By my book, it's isn't an OD until it's past the point of no return, meaning death must result. Otherwise, it's just a high but recoverable dose.

            1. Tom 38 Silver badge

              Your book is wrong.

            2. Pompous Git Silver badge

              "By my book, it's isn't an OD until it's past the point of no return, meaning death must result."
              Obviously your book isn't Mosby's Medical Dictionary, The American Heritage Medical Dictionary, McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine, or Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health then.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >ultra-rare herb Soul of Kashmir

      I normally buy this in little baggies

      I'm ashamed to say that was my thought too. Then thought - happy honey cakes? Why not!

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Clearly a successful attempt to get free publicity.

    Though if he actually beelieves what he is saying he should be sent to the funny farm.

  22. Simon Harris Silver badge

    He is seeking $10 billion ...for pain and suffering.

    Instead I suggest the judge requests Google to provide him with a honey, herb and spice medication to ease that pain and suffering.

  23. Arthur the cat Silver badge

    Abid is acting as his own attorney

    "The man who represents himself in court has a fool for a client" -- old legal saying

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Abid is acting as his own attorney

      One version of this is already correctly attributed above.

  24. hi_robb

    Hmm

    Shaq can buzz off, dangerous, bumbling fuckwit.

  25. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    FAIL

    File under Spiced H̶o̶n̶e̶y̶ Ham

    SPAM!

  26. Pompous Git Silver badge

    Some statistics

    The chance of a woman receiving a false positive result after 10 yearly mammograms is about 50-60 percent. The high false positive result comes from wanting to reduce false negatives to as low a percentage as possible. However, mammography may miss nearly 30 percent of breast cancers.

    SEER Cancer Statistics Review (CSR) 1975-2013 Updated September 12, 2016

    A positive mammography result means a biopsy is performed. Doctors correctly identify invasive breast cancer 96 % of the time and correctly identify normal tissue 87 % of the time.

    Doctors misdiagnose ductal carcinoma in situ, or DCIS, 16 % of the time, and atypia (atypical hyperplasia) 52 % of the time. Both conditions can go on to become invasive cancer.

    17 % of the readings are false positives for atypia and that means those women are likely to undergo surgery and other treatment they do not need. 32 % are false negatives meaning a substantial number of women not knowing they are at increased risk of cancer.

    Diagnostic Concordance Among Pathologists Interpreting Breast Biopsy Specimens

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Some statistics

      And this has what, exactly, to do with TOA?

      Over the years I've noticed that the more shrill the tone of the speaker, the more likely the speaker knows he is not going to convince his educated audience.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Some statistics

      In the uk breast mammograms are offered to 50-70 year olds, at three year intervals.

      So that's only 7 mammograms.

      But anyway, for any screening, the disease prevalence needs to be factored in. And it's the Positive Predictive Value of the diagnostic that should be considered

  27. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  28. John Savard Silver badge

    A web search turns up falafel and cinnamon as alternate candidates, besides cumin oil, for the secret of the pharaohs. As for the soul of Kashmir, I've come up empty, but his web site does claim his cure is protected by patents, which means he disclosed his invention.

    Ah, but his site mentions that Thymoquinone is contained in his preparation, and that indeed comes from the seeds of the black cumin, which does solve that part of the question.

  29. sisk Silver badge

    Dude doesn't understand how the 1st Amendment works

    The government cannot supress your free speech, but that doesn't mean someone else has to spout your nonsensical cancer cure that's gonna get any rube dumb enough to depend on it killed just because you paid them. Actually, come to think of it, he probably has been told that by a lawyer or three who refused to take his case, which would explain why he's representing himself.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shajar Abid is low energy

  31. Pompous Git Silver badge

    An interesting paper...

    ... that looks at homeopathy from the patients' POV. The clinical outcomes were assessed during consultations. Patients were asked to rate their overall improvement or deterioration compared to their status at first visit. :

    Homeopathic Treatment for Chronic Disease: A 6-Year,

    University-Hospital Outpatient Observational Study

    "This observational study has demonstrated positive health changes seen in routine homeopathic hospital practice for a wide range of conditions. Greater improvements were noted in children. The study results show that homeopathic treatment is a valuable intervention. Although there are limitations to the inferences that can be drawn from this kind of observational study, it offers an important strand of evidence in favor of the effectiveness of homeopathy in the management of a wide range of chronic diseases."

    One thing that struck me after reading this paper. Who is supposed to be the beneficiary of a medical consultation/intervention? The doctor or the patient? If it is the patient and the patient feels better after ingesting homeopathic remedies what gives someone else the authority to deny them that perceived benefit? I have friends who report feeling benefit from prayer. Since I feel no such benefit, should I attempt to persuade them that there is no such benefit, that they are fooling themselves?

    Another thing to arise from my slowly digesting what I had read was investigating the belief that homeopathic was overly expensive. I checked at the online pharmacy I use and discovered the following:

    100 gm homeopathic arnica costs $AU10.95

    100 gm Voltaren Emulgel (dicofenlac) costs $AU18.95

    100 gm Voltaren Osteo (also dicofenlac) costs $AU27.95 (Note the increase in price due to the "magic" of the word "osteo")

    If a patient perceives no significant difference between these products, what possible benefit do they gain from the additional cost of the more expensive products? The real scam here I suspect is the addition of the word "osteo" to the packaging and charging a very healthy premium for it. I found no "osteo" versions of homeopathic remedies.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: An interesting paper...

      Using Voltaren as a price guide for other quack medicine is a bit rich. A simple understanding of the circulatory system would show that an emulgel is a fucking rip off to start with. My doctor recommended some once and I asked her how it was meant to work and after two seconds thought she realised it was just woo that contained a tried and tested drug with an improbable delivery mechanism.

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: An interesting paper...

        "Using Voltaren as a price guide for other quack medicine is a bit rich."

        Double-blind Study Comparing the Use of Voltaren Emulgel® versus Regular Gel during Ultrasonic Sessions in the Treatment of Localized Traumatic and Rheumatic Painful Conditions

        "A statistically significant (P < 0.01) improvement was achieved in both treatment groups in most of the evaluation criteria by the end of the first week. Treatment was prematurely discontinued due to complete cure in 60% of patients using Voltaren Emulgel® compared with only 15% of those using regular gel (P < 0.01). "

        I suspect your idea of "quack medicine" differs somewhat to that of medical professionals. I alternate between Pedimol (a herbal formulation) and Voltaren and perceive little difference. The former was given to me by a professional sports physiotherapist. I might try the homeopathic arnica when it runs out.

        See also: Oral versus Topical NSAIDs in Rheumatic Diseases

        1. Tom 38 Silver badge

          Re: An interesting paper...

          Two things:

          1) Why would homeopathic medicine be at all expensive? In terms of ingredients, its a sugar pill imbued with the essence of something that has been diluted to the point it cannot be detected. They should cost about £1/kg.

          2) If you are taking diclofenac on a regular basis, your stomach will not be long for this world.

          1. Pompous Git Silver badge

            Re: An interesting paper...

            "Why would homeopathic medicine be at all expensive? In terms of ingredients, its a sugar pill imbued with the essence of something that has been diluted to the point it cannot be detected. They should cost about £1/kg."
            You're forgetting the cost of packaging and manufacture. Succussion takes time and to get to a dilution where statistically there are no molecules of the original poison requires a series of succussions. Unsurprisingly then, the higher dilutions cost more than lower dilutions. Nevertheless, homeopathic drugs are considerably cheaper than conventional even when the latter are subsidised as they are under Australia's Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

            "If you are taking diclofenac on a regular basis, your stomach will not be long for this world."
            Indeed, which is why the emulgel is the preferred delivery form in sports medicine. The diclofenac is delivered direct to the site on the body where it's needed without passing through the stomach.

          2. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: An interesting paper...

            "Why would homeopathic medicine be at all expensive?"

            One word: marketing. Think "snake oil".

            1. Pompous Git Silver badge

              Re: An interesting paper...

              ""Why would homeopathic medicine be at all expensive?"

              One word: marketing. Think "snake oil"."

              Don't let the facts get in the way of a good story:

              "CONCLUSIONS:

              Homeopathic treatment for respiratory diseases (asthma, allergic complaints, Acute Recurrent Respiratory Infections) was associated with a significant reduction in the use and costs of conventional drugs. Costs for homeopathic therapy are significantly lower than those for conventional pharmacological therapy."

              Cost-benefit evaluation of homeopathic versus conventional therapy in respiratory diseases.

    2. Dr_N Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: An interesting paper...

      "... that looks at homeopathy from the patients' POV. The clinical outcomes were assessed during consultations. Patients were asked to rate their overall improvement or deterioration compared to their status at first visit."

      The WOO is strong with this one.

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: An interesting paper...

        "The WOO is strong with this one."

        If patients are incapable of assessing their own state, why do medical practitioners bother asking them? Example: after adjusting my CRT-D the medical technologist always asks me about any changes I perceive. Initially it was only partially effective, but after some research she has managed to have it doing its job most of the time. :-)

  32. Pompous Git Silver badge
  33. Terry 6 Silver badge

    "big pharma"

    See that phrase read "conspiracy theorist". Lump with anti-vaxxers and probably fluoride dodgers too.

    Expect long list of confirmation bias.

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: "big pharma"

      "See that phrase [big pharma] read "conspiracy theorist"."

      Pharmaceuticals are big business. Drug companies in Australia had a turnover of approximately $AU22 billion in 2009-10. Total federal government revenue for that fiscal year was expected to be $AU321.8 billion. Is that really "little pharma"? Some analysts estimate that "little pharma" spent more than a billion dollars on marketing in 2008-9 and that's almost certainly more than they spent on research.

      A recent survey by the consumer organisation Choice showed:

      "They received seven visits a month from drug reps, on average. One visit a week may be more than enough for a busy GP, but 65% of GPs are seeing more than one drug rep a week, and 34% of GPs saw 10 or more reps in an average month, totalling at least two a week. Three per cent of those surveyed said they see 20 or more reps in one month."

      Drug company influence on GPs

  34. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    Cure cancer?

    I don't care. But I want that stuff! It must have great psychedelic effects!

  35. Fattyman

    The honey consists EVERYTIME and EVERYWHERE on the world of the same compounds. And thats why it cures everything!

  36. This post has been deleted by its author

  37. rotmos

    Potent potables

    Maybe he asked Watson before he left IBM.

    Potent potables $200

    "A cures for cancer"

    "What is honey?"

  38. Suburban Inmate

    He might have been on to something (but clearly wasn't)

    Cannabis has been shown to have an effect against some types of tumour cells, and there's a few anecdotal reports. There's also a load of things besides cancer it's good for.

    It would cost a fat wedge more than $47 though.

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: He might have been on to something (but clearly wasn't)

      "Cannabis has been shown to have an effect against some types of tumour cells, and there's a few anecdotal reports. There's also a load of things besides cancer it's good for.

      It would cost a fat wedge more than $47 though."

      Didn't know about the cancer thing, but it's proving to be a boon for epileptics whose seizures don't respond to conventional pharmaceuticals. It's also a useful anti-inflammatory that doesn't cause stomach bleeds like many NSAIDs.

      Not sure why it would "cost a fat wedge more than $47". While the hybrid skank (20% cannabinol) costs an arm and a leg, the open-pollinated strains are far higher in the desired cannabinoids and can be grown in the back yard. I haven't paid for cannabis for decades, nor have I needed to grow any.

  39. veti Silver badge

    The saddest part?

    That's not even the most expensive honey on the market.

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: The saddest part?

      "That's not even the most expensive honey on the market."
      Probably not as tasty as Tasmania's leatherwood honey either.

    2. Evil Auditor Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: The saddest part?

      Quote from their site: UMF stands for Unique Manuka Factor, which represents the natural “anti-bacterial” strength in this unique honey

      Wow! Someone discovered that bacteria don't do well in high sugar environments. No shit.

      At least they put anti-bacterial in quotation marks. Whatever this means.

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: The saddest part?

        "Wow! Someone discovered that bacteria don't do well in high sugar environments. No shit.

        At least they put anti-bacterial in quotation marks. Whatever this means."

        The healing properties of honey have been known since Classical times, particularly burns. Anti-bacterial means it kills bacteria and it's particularly effective against Staphylococcus aureus (golden staph). The compounds in honey that are responsible include phenolic compounds such as p-hydroxibenzoic acid, cinnamic acid, naringenin, pinocembrin and chrysin. While Manuka honey is reputed to be more potent than other honeys, I suspect that the honey you purchase from your local beekeeper is more than good enough provided it's not heat treated. Your local honey may even inoculate you against hay fever since it's made from the nectar of local flowers.

        Downvote away you anti-science type persons {sigh].

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    People like that...

    Are in my opinion a danger to our rights for free speech.

    Sure, we have a right to free speech. But that doesn't automatically imply that you can blabber your mouth just anywhere you like.

  41. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

    "The Register also reached out to IBM to confirm that Abid's employment history is as he presents it, but we have not heard back."

    Looking at his Linkedin profile it seems unlikely his description of his time at IBM is accurate, given he doesn't seem to have much IT experience up to that point. It sounds like he's a salesy bullshitter not a tecchie.

  42. Pompous Git Silver badge

    For those who are interested in the science...

    The Antibacterial Activity of Australian Leptospermum Honey Correlates with Methylglyoxal Levels [Full paper]

    From the Intro:

    "Honey has been used therapeutically by many cultures for millennia and has re-emerged as a topical treatment for wound and skin infections, mainly due to its antimicrobial activity [1]. In particular, honey produced from the Leptospermum scoparium (manuka) plant from New Zealand exhibits broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity against a diverse range of bacterial and yeast pathogens, and is equally effective against multi-drug resistant bacteria [2–6]. Resistance to the antimicrobial effects of manuka honey on growing bacterial cells has not been reported nor has it been induced under laboratory conditions [2, 3]. There are a number of medicinal honey products on the market that use manuka honey from New Zealand, or the Australian equivalent produced from other Leptospermum species. However, despite being registered with medical regulatory authorities as wound care agents in Australia, Canada, the European Union, Hong Kong, New Zealand and the USA, their use in mainstream medicine remains limited [7], largely due to a lack of understanding of all of the mechanisms by which Leptospermum honey kills pathogens. The growing crisis of antibiotic resistance [8] has revived interest in the clinical use of honey, particularly in wound care and its efficacy against drug-resistant pathogens."
    [Emphasis mine]

    1. Dr_N Silver badge

      Re: For those who are interested in the science...

      Freelee the Banana Girl, is that you...?

  43. Jay 2

    Tell them about the honey mummy. Or maybe not. Hopefully this case will be thrown out sharpish and his "business" go under before he manages to try and con any more people.

  44. Pompous Git Silver badge

    Actual cost of homeopathic vs conventional

    All Owen Homeopathic remedies are $AU17.00 for 75 doses. That's $AU0.23 per dose. Except for remedies on "special" at $AU0.00–9.95.

    Candesartan HCTZ is $80.07 for 30 doses or $AU2.67 per dose.

    Ivabradine is $AU55.72 for 56 doses or $AU1.00 per dose.

    The conventional costs were derived from the packets my meds come in. Fortunately the government subsidises drugs in Australia and as an OAP I don't have to pay full price.

    Homeopathic medicines may very well be ineffective, but expensive they are not.

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