INFORMATION

This website uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some of these cookies are essential to make our site work and others help us to improve by giving us some insight into how the site is being used. For further information, see our Privacy Policy.

Ofquack

Any topic related to science can be discussed here.
Message
Author
User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 20618
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: Ofquack

#41 Postby Alan H » February 24th, 2009, 4:55 pm

Latest post of the previous page:

There's a good article in The Sun (yes, I know) by their resident doctor:
********************************************************************************
Why I'm so sick of alternative therapy | The Sun |Woman|Health|Health|Dr Keith Hopcroft
http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/wo ... 157641.ece
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’VE got this tension headache. And I don’t know whether to take some paracetamol, pop some homeopathic pills, try aromatherapy or see a reflexologist.

Actually, I do. Because I know what has caused it. And because, as far as I’m concerned, “alternative treatments” are all nonsense.

So what’s got me rubbing my temples? This week’s headlines about an “alternative therapy crackdown’’, that’s what.

To quote one of the stories: “The head of the UK’s first regulator for complementary medicine has promised to get tough with the industry and drive out cowboy therapists.”

Apparently, the Complementary And Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) is going to do this by setting up a register of alternative practitioners. To get on this register, therapists will have to show they have adequate training and experience, stick to a code of conduct and have proper insurance.

Cowboy

You might think that sounds like a good idea. Maybe. But I have two objections. First, that “Drive out cowboy therapists” line.

Because I reckon they could all be viewed as cowboy therapists. True, many are well-meaning and some genuinely believe their “therapy” works.

But they’re peddling treatments that are either of no proven benefit or are just common sense masquerading as miracle cures.

Nutritional therapists, for example. That’s just “eat a healthy diet” dressed up as something pseudoscientific.

Aromatherapy? I’m happy for the world to smell better but not when it’s sold as a “treatment”.

Reflexology? Frankly, it’s not a foot massage you need, it’s a brain scan.

As for homeopathy, don’t get me started. There’s another word for homeopathy — and that’s “water”. The homeopaths claim that there’s more to it than that, but unbiased boffs who have checked the best research say it doesn’t work.

Which is hardly surprising — the “logic” behind this treatment is just mumbo jumbo.

Still not sure? Try this test. Dilute your pint until it’s got about one molecule of beer in it — that’s a homeopathic dose.

Then neck it to see if it has any effect, as homeopathic theory suggests it should. The only good news is you should still be able to drive home safely and legally.

All of which begs the question, why are these treatments so popular? Partly, it’s because conventional medicine doesn’t have all the answers. So it’s understandable people should look elsewhere — and there’s a huge industry out there happy to oblige.

But why do some people swear by it? That’s the placebo effect. You’d be expecting to feel better when you’ve spent lots of time with — and dosh on — an alternative therapist. So you do.

In fairness to the CNHC, it’s not judging whether or not these treatments actually work. It’s just checking that the therapists are professional and safe.

If they are, then, for the grand sum of £45 per year, they can be signed up — and able to use the “CNHC registered” logo.

And that’s my second problem. This looks like a “stamp of approval”. Which is how it will be viewed by the majority of the public.

But remember. It doesn’t mean the treatment is any good. Many of these “therapists” are, at best, spouting nonsense and, at worst, peddling snake-oil. CNHC approval just means they’re doing it in a “professional” manner.

If that’s a crackdown, it’s a homeopathic one. Anyway, my tension headache’s getting worse. Pass me that paracetamol.

[Retrieved: Tue Feb 24 2009 16:54:02 GMT+0000 (GMT Standard Time)]

###################
Brilliant! You've got to see the OfQuack cartoon!
Alan Henness

"We're all in this together, but some are more in it than others."
— Me, with apologies to Napoleon

User avatar
Alan C.
Posts: 10356
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 3:35 pm

Re: Ofquack

#42 Postby Alan C. » February 24th, 2009, 5:14 pm

Some of the readers comments are good for a laugh.
I had a severe knee problem and was told "without an operation you will always be in pain and have a permanent limp. I was put in touch with a super reflexologist who within six months had me walking perfectly again without any medication whatsoever. That was in 1984 - I have had no trouble since!! She was so good, I eventually married her!

No bias there then? :D
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 20618
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: Ofquack

#43 Postby Alan H » February 26th, 2009, 11:34 pm

Alan H wrote:OfQuack have been working hard again:

Disciplines Number
Nutritional therapy 38
Massage therapy 68
Alexander technique 0
Aromatherapy 0
Bowen technique 0
Cranial therapy 0
Homeopathy 0
Naturopathy 0
Reflexology 0
Reiki 0
Shiatsu 0
Yoga therapy 0

Total 106

I have to admit it. I was wrong.

OfQuack don't have 106 registrations. They only have 99. They were applying the same rigour and integrity to entering quacks into their database as they use when checking that the quacks have studied an appropriate amount of human anatomy, etc or that their customers are receiving proper medical care for their conditions or that the therapies actually work. None. They had one person in EIGHT times with exactly the same data, making it look like they had 7 more registered that they actually have*. Of course, we can expect them to fix the problem immediately...give them time...they've only had 10 days so far (and they've been 'overwhelmed', remember) to spot and correct their counting error...what's it going to be like when they have hundreds or thousands?




* This works out as an error rate of 7.1%. If they get 10,000 in 2009 (their self-proclaimed objective), this would be 707 errors in their database. But why bother with accuracy when you're dealing with quackery, eh?
Alan Henness

"We're all in this together, but some are more in it than others."
— Me, with apologies to Napoleon

User avatar
seantellis
Posts: 33
Joined: February 7th, 2009, 5:35 pm

Re: Ofquack

#44 Postby seantellis » February 27th, 2009, 9:31 pm

Just a quick update on the petition (http://snipurl.com/ofquack) - we now have 300 signatories. Not bad, but I'd like to multiply that by 300 before the end of April.

Also, believe it or not, the name "ofquack" was not registered on Twitter when I checked this morning. It is now, obviously...

As for the duplicate entries, it's ironic and amusing to note that they are for a lady with the name Suzanne Harmer. Not a good name for a massage therapist.

Mind you, our local osteopath is Dr. Pinches.
Sean
Follow OfQuack's antics at http://twitter.com/ofquack .

User avatar
Alan C.
Posts: 10356
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 3:35 pm

Re: Ofquack

#45 Postby Alan C. » February 27th, 2009, 10:46 pm

:pointlaugh: I used to deliver the mail to a doctor Death, although he pronounced it De-ath.
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 20618
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: Ofquack

#46 Postby Alan H » February 27th, 2009, 10:55 pm

Sean

How do I find OfQuack on Twitter? I'm on it, but hardly use it. (I've subscribed to their RSS feeds for news and events, so Twitter may not be any different.)

Any thoughts on how to get more signatures?
Alan Henness

"We're all in this together, but some are more in it than others."
— Me, with apologies to Napoleon

User avatar
seantellis
Posts: 33
Joined: February 7th, 2009, 5:35 pm

Re: Ofquack

#47 Postby seantellis » February 28th, 2009, 12:22 pm

Try http://twitter.com/ofquack and then you can click on "follow" to subscribe to the feed. I've posted a few updates so far, so you should get an idea what I'm doing with it.
Sean
Follow OfQuack's antics at http://twitter.com/ofquack .

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 20618
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: Ofquack

#48 Postby Alan H » February 28th, 2009, 2:11 pm

Got it now, Sean — no idea why I wasn't able to find it yesterday.
Alan Henness

"We're all in this together, but some are more in it than others."
— Me, with apologies to Napoleon

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 20618
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: Ofquack

#49 Postby Alan H » March 5th, 2009, 11:53 am

I wonder how OfQuack would deal with someone like this?
********************************************************************************
Therapist Derek Gale said ‘call me daddy’ - Times Online
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_a ... 848037.ece
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Therapist Derek Gale said ‘call me daddy’
David Brown

A therapist groped and bullied his clients and even treated them like children, a misconduct hearing was told yesterday.

Derek Gale, 59, read bedtime stories to the middle-aged professionals who sought help for problems with their relationships and told them to refer to him as “daddy”. He also allegedly told a vulnerable woman to have unlimited sex, groped other clients and encouraged them to smoke cannabis.

The Health Professions Council, which regulates arts therapists, was told that his exploitation of clients dated back 20 years.

Michael Caplan, QC, said: “Mr Gale systematically took advantage of his clients’ vulnerable state and exerted undue influence on them to behave in a way to serve his own ends.”
Related Links

* Couples therapist uses loophole to cheat ban

Mr Gale is accused of exploiting clients at the Gale Centre, in Loughton, Essex. He denies any wrongdoing and told the tribunal that there was “nothing sinister or strange about the way I operate”.

The Times revealed in 2007 that Mr Gale had been suspended from working as an arts therapist because of “significant potential risk of harm to clients” but was able to continue working because of a legal loophole.The Health Professions Council can only regulate therapists who offer music, art or drama therapy. Mr Gale now refers to himself as a psychotherapist and a couples therapist.

[Retrieved: Thu Mar 05 2009 11:49:46 GMT+0000 (GMT Standard Time)]

###################
Alan Henness

"We're all in this together, but some are more in it than others."
— Me, with apologies to Napoleon

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 20618
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: Ofquack

#50 Postby Alan H » March 8th, 2009, 11:12 pm

OfQuack were busy last week! They now have 139 quacks registered (excluding the seven duplicates that haven't bothered to fix yet). Still not overwhelmed.

That's a rate of less than 20 a week. Their target is 10,000 by the end of the year, but at this rate, they will have only 850 registered!

(They've made it more difficult for me to gather the data, but they haven't beaten me yet!)
Alan Henness

"We're all in this together, but some are more in it than others."
— Me, with apologies to Napoleon

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 20618
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: Ofquack

#51 Postby Alan H » March 10th, 2009, 4:19 pm

Well, they tried to stop me gathering the data on registrations automatically, but they have failed! I now have to go through a three-stage process, but it's easy and fairly automatic. It's been interesting finding out how to do it!

There are now 141 quacks registered, excluding the seven duplicates, which they still haven't removed.
Alan Henness

"We're all in this together, but some are more in it than others."
— Me, with apologies to Napoleon

User avatar
Alan C.
Posts: 10356
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 3:35 pm

Re: Ofquack

#52 Postby Alan C. » March 10th, 2009, 5:43 pm

You've got too much spare time big man :smile:

Is there anywhere we can access a list of the quacks they've registered? I'd like to see if any of the many quacks up here are on the list.
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 20618
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: Ofquack

#53 Postby Alan H » March 10th, 2009, 6:14 pm

Easy. All my method does is extract the data from the search facility they provide. Go to www.ofquack.org.uk (I can't use the real URL!). In the search box on the right, enter ZE for your postcode in the 'Search on' box and select 'postcode' in the 'Search type' box. For some reason, they actually use a different site for their register (www.cnhcregister.org.uk), so you can use either website. Currently, there are the following in the Scottish postcode areas:

AB 0
DD 0
DG 0
EH 3
FK 1
G 0
HS 0
IV 0
KA 1
KW 0
KY 0
ML 0
PA 0
PH 0
TD 0
ZE 0

giving a total of 5 in Scotland, none in Shetland.

You can also search by name if you are checking someone or by registration number, but I don't know what the format is yet and they don't give the numbers when you find someone by name or postcode. You'd have thought it'd be necessary to verify the quack you're looking up.
Alan Henness

"We're all in this together, but some are more in it than others."
— Me, with apologies to Napoleon

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 20618
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: Ofquack

#54 Postby Alan H » March 10th, 2009, 6:30 pm

Current registrations (this includes the seven duplicate entries, so it comes to 148):
Attachments
OfQuack.jpg
OfQuack.jpg (24.12 KiB) Viewed 13792 times
Alan Henness

"We're all in this together, but some are more in it than others."
— Me, with apologies to Napoleon

User avatar
Alan C.
Posts: 10356
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 3:35 pm

Re: Ofquack

#55 Postby Alan C. » March 10th, 2009, 7:20 pm

Thanks Alan, but you've buggered up the screen with that huge graph, I can't fit it all on :sad:
Can you reduce it, as it's making all the earlier posts difficult to read, ta :smile:
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 20618
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: Ofquack

#56 Postby Alan H » March 10th, 2009, 9:30 pm

Sorry about that, Alan. I've made it smaller and hope you can still read it!
Alan Henness

"We're all in this together, but some are more in it than others."
— Me, with apologies to Napoleon

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 20618
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: Ofquack

#57 Postby Alan H » March 10th, 2009, 9:56 pm

Definitely too much time on my hands.

A typical entry in their register of quacks is (I've used the one that's duplicated seven times as an example):
Suzanne Harmer
44 Moneybrannon Road, Aghadowey, County Londonderry BT51 4AA Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Telephone: 07799 471235 Telephone: 07799 471235

Disciplines Massage Therapy Massage Therapy Status Registered until 17/02/2010

So, it has the name, home address (some are obviously business addresses, but most appear to be home addresses — probably the same thing for many), land line and mobile phone numbers, what 'discipline' they are registered with and when their registration expires. Every entry is the same.

All well and good. I assume they thought long and hard about providing people's home addresses and phone numbers, and decided that the address was essential to allow a potential patient customer to verify their chosen practitioner quack can cure their ills has good insurance. Not so sure why they're making their phone numbers public, though...

Let's look at what OfQuack say about privacy of registrants' details just to check things are OK:
The Published Register
CNHC will make part of your register entry available to any enquirer as part of the published register.

The public can inspect the following information on the online register:

* Your full name
* Your profession or practice discipline
* Your approximate work location
* Your registration number
* Any restrictions imposed on your registration

Your home address, contact details, date of birth and other data are not available to the public.

(Source: http://www.cnhcregister.org.uk/apply/privacy.cfm)


Oops!
Alan Henness

"We're all in this together, but some are more in it than others."
— Me, with apologies to Napoleon

User avatar
seantellis
Posts: 33
Joined: February 7th, 2009, 5:35 pm

Re: Ofquack

#58 Postby seantellis » March 11th, 2009, 9:59 pm

Edit: Ooops, posted this to the wrong thread. That'll teach me to have more than one tab open... Still, it's vaguely related and relevant so here's the original link:

http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2009/03 ... -pies.html

Oh dear, oh dear: "all you have to do to seek official approval to sell a herbal remedy is to show that it has been used 'traditionally' within the EU. Traditional, in this case, could be as little as fifteen years use"

What the... That's great. I've been used (as a software developer), within the EU, for more than 15 years, so maybe I can register myself as a traditional herbal remedy.

But it's great the the BBC is running this as a "quack" story, rather than a credulous puff piece.
Sean
Follow OfQuack's antics at http://twitter.com/ofquack .

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 20618
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: Ofquack

#59 Postby Alan H » March 11th, 2009, 10:13 pm

seantellis wrote:Oh dear, oh dear: "all you have to do to seek official approval to sell a herbal remedy is to show that it has been used 'traditionally' within the EU. Traditional, in this case, could be as little as fifteen years use"
I thought it was 30 years and you don't have to provide any evidence whatsoever? But you may be right, Sean.

What the... That's great. I've been used (as a software developer), within the EU, for more than 15 years, so maybe I can register myself as a traditional herbal remedy.
Let me think...it wouldn't be Objective-C, very BASIC, python may be in there somewhere. (Poor attempt at geek joke!)

But it's great the the BBC is running this as a "quack" story, rather than a credulous puff piece.
Do you mean about HRH and his Dodgy Originals?
Alan Henness

"We're all in this together, but some are more in it than others."
— Me, with apologies to Napoleon

User avatar
seantellis
Posts: 33
Joined: February 7th, 2009, 5:35 pm

Re: Ofquack

#60 Postby seantellis » March 12th, 2009, 8:03 am

I do indeed. Never post to forums when you're tired and have 15 tabs open.
Sean
Follow OfQuack's antics at http://twitter.com/ofquack .

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 20618
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: Ofquack

#61 Postby Alan H » March 12th, 2009, 9:09 am

seantellis wrote:I do indeed. Never post to forums when you're tired and have 15 tabs open.
:laughter:
Alan Henness

"We're all in this together, but some are more in it than others."
— Me, with apologies to Napoleon


Return to “Sciences and pseudo-science”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest