Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A quack medicine group I'd never come across before

This is a departure from my more usual politics and economics posts of late. But I just heard of a new crackpot alternative-medicine niche that had never previously crossed my radar.

It's called the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF). Harriet Hall writes about it in Weston Price’s Appalling Legacy Science-Based Medicine 10/13/2015. A couple of excerpts from her critique:

It is a non-profit, tax-exempt charity founded in 1999 to disseminate the research of Weston A. Price, who “established the parameters of human health and determined the optimum characteristics of human diets.” (He did no such thing!) It publishes a journal “dedicated to exploring the scientific validation of dietary, agricultural and medical traditions through the world.” That statement reveals how poorly they understand science. The purpose of science is not to “validate” traditions and beliefs; it is to ask “if” those traditions offer any demonstrable benefits, and if the beliefs correspond to reality.
There is a whole section of articles [on WAPF's website] on homeopathy. It is recommended for things like home dental care, treating the effects of electromagnetic radiation, using dilute coffee for insomnia, homeopathic metallic gold for male infertility, and homeopathic iodine for hypothyroidism. They even recommend a homeopathy first aid kit.
The WAPF is firmly ensconced in the unscientific anti-vaxxer camp. They don’t just suggest that we are giving “too many, too soon;” they suggest that all vaccines are evil, doing more harm than good. Instead of vaccines, they advocate nutrition and homeopathic prophylaxis.
In her concluding paragraph, she writes:

Since I started writing for Science-Based Medicine almost 8 years ago, I have visited many, many websites offering questionable information about health. In my opinion, the Weston A. Price Foundation is one of the worst. It is full of misinformation and dangerous advice. It might be useful in reverse: if you read it on WAPF, it is probably wrong.

This is a photo of Price (1870–1948):

Science-Based Medicine is one of numerous pro-science blogs that daily take on pseudoscience and quack medicine in a form that's both sound in their science and popular enough in their approach that their debunking is widely accessible.