Thursday, 28 June 2012

Homoeopathic Medicine

I was watching a bit of Grand Designs a few weeks ago, because I have an exciting life. Anyhow, the couple making the “grand design” where talking to Kevin McCloud about their reasons for deciding to do it. Long story short the husband had a brain tumour, and they felt they wanted to get out of the city and live in the country. The reason for this was they felt they couldn't manage the treatment in the noise and bustle of London.
That’s what I getting at here; the treatment. They decided not to go down the traditional route of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and such. No, they decided to treat the cancer with a diet. I am not joking. The idea is that following an organic, vegan diet, you can cure a brain tumour.

I shouldn’t judge.

And yet, I will.

I’m a great believer in medicine. Medicine works. We can prove that it works. Indeed, you have to prove medicines or medical procedures work before you can start using them on people outside of a clinical trial. We know that chemotherapy and radiotherapy can make a difference, that these treatments can save lives. Sadly, they don’t always work. They don’t. And they’re not pleasant. In fact, chemotherapy looks more like killing someone than saving them. But still, if I happen to get cancer or a tumour during my life - and rates are depressingly high - I will most certainly go to a hospital and get treatment. I think that works.

On the other hand, I happen to think that fruit and soya milk doesn’t. The first thought is perhaps the most natural, irrational one: it doesn’t seem very substantial. Compared to injections and pills, diet doesn’t feel like it would have much sway over your health. Of course, just because something doesn’t seem like it’s going to work is no reason to ignore it. So let’s look at the evidence.

This is where it gets worrying. In nearly every area, there is little or no evidence to suggest that alternative or homoeopathic medicine is more beneficial that standard medical practices. Yet people still believe that alternative medicine (read: voodoo) works. And that seems dangerous. Believing something without evidence is never a good idea, but when it comes to medicine you're risking your life if you delude yourself.

I suppose you have to do what you think is best. But when it comes to medicine, please, let science tell you what's best.

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