What alternative health

practitioners might not tell you



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“Dr Richard Brown, the President of the British Chiropractic Association (BCA), has presided over the infamous BCA’s libel action against Simon Singh…Brown recently gave a lecture in which he reviews this experience 'that was ultimately to cost [the BCA] financially, reputationally and politically'1. This lecture has been published and is well worth a thorough read…'For reasons that still elude us, [Ernst] reserved his most poisonous venom for the chiropractic profession'…If, by that, Brown means that I have repeatedly criticised chiropractors, he is correct. But the reasons for my actions should not 'elude' him – in fact, he provides them himself later on: chiropractors have been shown to make 'claims… relating to everything from haemorrhoids to hair loss, chlamydia to cancer'. As it is my job to scientifically verify claims in alternative medicine, I had no choice but to criticise…Brown’s lecture contains many more noteworthy statements, some of which are not directly related to the libel action but reflect on the chiropractic profession more generally, for instance: 'It is unsurprising that new (and not-so new) graduates [of chiropractic colleges] are seeking innovative ways of making a living. Inevitably, however, innovation for some means sailing closer to the wind than ethics and professionalism permit'. Really? Inevitably? Only if ethics and professionalism of chiropractic are wanting, surely! From my perspective, the libel case had an enormous and lasting impact. The true legacy of Simon Singh’s courageous stance is that all practitioners of alternative medicine received a wake-up call telling them that standards of medical ethics must not be corrupted – and that can only be good for the quality of healthcare in the UK.” Professor Edzard Ernst, Pulse (28th February 2012)