The recent death of Apple boss Steve Jobs is putatively yet another example of how dangerous spurious alternative medicine (!Rx) can be. In October 2003, when Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he turned not to real medicine but to acupuncture, macrobiotic diets, and visits to a spiritualist. If he had seen an oncologist sooner, who knows what might have been his chances?
There are still homeopaths around claiming their snake oil and sugar pills can prevent malaria and treat HIV. Yes…I knoooow…the placebo effect is strong, but there are limits.
Meanwhile, in this fascinating interview with Ernst he points out that we really don’t know how big a problem alt meds are:
“Risks of alternative medicine are under-researched and under-reported. We know of some 700 serious complications after chiropractic [damage to neck arteries leading to stroke and death, for instance]. We also know that under-reporting is such that this figure could be larger by one or two orders of magnitude.” — Ernst.