Fox News Pushes Homeopathic Nonsense

We tend to think of support for homeopathy as coming from crunchy, granola-eating liberals, but apparently Fox News likes it too. They have a mostly non-critical article about homeopathy as a “natural alternative” to treat post-partum depression and other maladies. This line particularly made me laugh:

According to the National Institutes of Health, homeopathic remedies are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but the FDA doesn’t evaluate them for safety or effectiveness.

They’re “regulated” by the FDA, but not for safety or effectiveness. So what exactly is being regulated, the shape and color of the pills? The colors used in the logo on the bottle?

Instead of looking at the disease or condition, homeopathic treatment is very specific to the symptoms, Silverstein said. So although many women will have nausea, some will only feel sick in the morning, while others will feel sick all day. Or some will constantly crave grapefruit, while others will vomit at the sight of it. The homeopathic expert can then tailor the remedy depending on the symptoms.

During pregnancy, homeopathic remedies can help things like morning sickness, heartburn, insomnia, back and ligament pain, hemorrhoids, and constipation. There are remedies to prepare the uterus for childbirth, induce labor, dilate the cervix, start contractions, and make contractions more effective.

After childbirth, homeopathic remedies can heal bleeding, bruising and vaginal tears, and help women recover from both vaginal and cesarean section deliveries. In the postpartum period, remedies can help increase breast milk, unclog milk ducts, and benefit mood, postpartum depression, anxiety and fatigue.

“Most of us don’t understand how homeopathy works, but we see the results,” said Sara Chana Silverstein, a homeopath, master herbalist and an international board-certified lactation consultant who works in New York and Los Angeles.

A systematic review in the journal International Journal of Clinical Practice found that some homeopathic remedies— particularly those that contain mercury or iron, those that are not highly diluted, or those that are an ineffective remedy compared to an effective conventional treatment— can cause serious side effects.

Yet unlike pharmaceuticals which suppress the body’s functions, homeopathic medicines help the body figure out on own imbalance and find equilibrium, LoGiudice said.

Oh yes, what article on medical woo would be complete without mentions of “balance” and “equilibrium,” which are completely meaningless terms in such a context.

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  • http://www.thelosersleague.com theschwa

    Is “Homeopathic” really necessary in the title?

  • D. C. Sessions

    Give them this: they’re consistent. They don’t just reject some science, they’re uniformly against it all.

  • Sastra

    “Most of us don’t understand how homeopathy works, but we see the results,”

    Aha, the infamous Wind Argument!

    “How do we know God exists if we can’t see Him? Well, we can’t see the wind either, but we know it’s there because we see the tree branches waving and shaking. That’s how we can know there is a God. We can’t see Him, but we can see what He does! Thank you boys and girls, now let’s have cookies and milk.”

    Thus homeopathy is comfortable wherever such bad analogies reign.

    But it’s too soon to even do the Wind Argument. Ray Hyman has a famous dictum to the effect that “Don’t try to explain something before you’re sure there’s something to explain.” Those homeopathic “results” are too suspect in the first place. It’s not that we dismiss what we can’t explain or understand out of fear of the unknown. We dismiss it on point, for dam fine empirical reasons. Science involves a broader group than homeopaths.

  • daved

    Is homeopathic nonsense defined as nonsense that’s so diluted that none of the original nonsense remains? And, if so, what was used to dilute it?

  • grumpyoldfart

    I wonder how many silly bastards die each year because they use homeopathic ‘medicine’. I wonder how many of those silly bastards understand, at the the end, that their stupidity had cost them their lives.

  • scienceavenger

    They’re “regulated” by the FDA, but not for safety or effectiveness. So what exactly is being regulated, the shape and color of the pills? The colors used in the logo on the bottle?

    I believe the FDA has a “do no harm” standard, which is perfect for homeopathy, since the product has no effects whatsoever.

    The best anti-homeopathic demonstration ever given was by James Randi, who, after being handed a bottle of homeopathic sleeping pills with a warning to not take more than 2 in 24 hours (or something similar), chugged down the entire bottle of pills at once. No ill efffects were observed.

  • wreck

    Fox News should only be taken homeopathicly.

  • Larry

    Double-blind tests? Meh!

    Historical efficacy tracking? You got to be kidding!

    The usual scientific drug qualification protocols in use? Not!

    We don’t need no fancy white-coated “scientists” to tell us what works and what doesn’t. I know it works because I heard it did on TV.

  • D. C. Sessions

    grumpyoldfart, the number who realize that they’ve killed themselves is very, very few. That’s because of all the rationalization they’ve invested in belief.

    Read up on the victims of “alternative cancer cures:” right up until they go offline, they’re insisting that everything is going as planned, that the symptoms are just the toxins leaving the body, etc. Orac covers the ones that get into the news in case you can stand to read about them. He’s dealt with too many in his capacity as a breast cancer surgeon and it’s enough to make you ruin a good desk with your face.

  • tbp1

    OK, it’s low-hanging fruit, but I can’t resist:

    Fox News Pushes Homeopathic Nonsense

  • dingojack

    Any bets on when we will be first informed that:

    Fox News Pushes Homoerotic Nonsense?

    😉 Dingo

    ———

    (They’ve been pedalling psychopathic nonsense for years).

  • arthurski

    The homeopathic expert can then tailor the remedy depending on the symptoms.”

    And no two “homeopatic experts” will ever agree on what nostrum to “prescribe” to the same individual.

  • karmacat

    The idea that these homeopathic meds can treat postpartum depression is scary. Postpartum depression can be very serious and in a few cases lead to suicide. Relying on this treatment can delay patients getting treatment that works. I’m going to send this information to the American psychiatric Assoc. I don’t if they can do anything but they could warn people about the treatment

  • spamamander, internet amphibian

    I was very close to being one of those women who committed suicide. I ended up in a day hospitalization program for a couple of weeks while we waited to see if the medications and such would help. It was kind of fun actually, a break from the kids to mess with play-doh and go bowling. 😉 But because of that I absolutely rage at anyone who promotes this kind of nonsense as a cure, or proposes that PPD is not a real thing. When you sincerely believe driving your minivan into a concrete divider at 90 mph would improve your children’s lives there’s something terribly, terribly wrong.

  • daved

    I believe the FDA has a “do no harm” standard, which is perfect for homeopathy, since the product has no effects whatsoever.

    This is not categorically true. It’s true as long as you’re talking about remedies that are nice and diluted, like “20C” (diluted 100:1 20 times), but it’s NOT true if you’re talking about “1X” (diluted 10:1, once). In cases like that, there is lots of the original substance left — and some of the substances are toxic.

  • eric

    We tend to think of support for homeopathy as coming from crunchy, granola-eating liberals, but apparently Fox News likes it too.

    Gee, I can’t understand why. Now hush while I watch this ver important informational piece on why I should invest in gold coins.

  • weaver

    Well, technically, they’re right that homeopathic formulations are regulated by the FDA – the FDA monitors quite closely to ensure that they aren’t claiming to be actually – you know – effective medicine, or capable of curing disease or health conditions.

  • busterggi

    Right-wingers are theists almost universally – one kind of magical thinking leads to another.

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    Yet unlike pharmaceuticals which suppress the body’s functions, homeopathic medicines help the body figure out on own imbalance and find equilibrium, LoGiudice said.

    I had to check the original source to make sure that this nonsensical and grammatically atrocious sentence was actually published by a so-called news organization.

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    We tend to think of support for homeopathy as coming from crunchy, granola-eating liberals…

    I don’t know about homeopathy, but at least when it comes to anti-vaxxers, this is an assumption that upon empirical examination turns out to be false. So we shouldn’t accept that stereotype uncritically. Naturalistic woo-woo stuff appears to have wide (but limited) appeal and often has nothing to do with ideology.

    A quick google search hasn’t helped much, but I did discover that homeopathy is apparently supported by numerous western Green Parties, so there’s that. But then again it’s also supported by UKIP, which is right-wing. It’s probably one of those things where weirdos from both ends of the spectrum wrap around and meet.

  • David Eriksen

    @OP

    international board-certified lactation consultant

    This was not an option when I went to career fairs as a youngster. Was I cheated?

  • caseloweraz

    Ed: They’re “regulated” by the FDA, but not for safety or effectiveness. So what exactly is being regulated, the shape and color of the pills? The colors used in the logo on the bottle?

    How does the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulate homeopathic remedies?

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  • dingojack

    Meanwhile at the arse-end of the world…

    Dingo