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Old 7th March 2019, 06:12 PM   #1
arthwollipot
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Naturopathy study raises questions about university's credibility

Naturopathy defended in 'world-first' study, but critics question university's credibility

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Southern Cross University researchers say a new 'world-first' study proves the benefits of naturopathy, but critics are questioning the institution's credibility.

The scoping study, published in the latest issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, was conducted by Southern Cross University researchers who say they have demonstrated naturopathic medicine works in the treatment of a wide range of chronic conditions.

Professor Stephen Myers, from the Southern Cross University, said the study was motivated by a review chaired by the former Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer that found there was no clear evidence demonstrating the efficacy of many natural therapies.


...

Professor Dwyer, who is also the founding president of Friends of Science in Medicine, said the study damaged Southern Cross University's reputation.

"At the heart of this is the credibility of Southern Cross University," he said.

"There's been a stand-off between SCU and the rest of the scientific community in Australia for a number of years and there have been challenges to whether they are really upholding the highest standards of evidence-based medicine.

"There's only two types of medicine — good or bad — and the minute something is found to be useful it's not alternative anymore it's just medicine."

Professor Dwyer also raised questions about the university's credibility late last year when it accepted a $10 million donation from vitamin company Blackmore's to establish a National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine.

A Southern Cross University spokeswoman declined to comment on the questions raised regarding the institution's credibility.
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Old 7th March 2019, 06:32 PM   #2
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Should the study title REALLY be "Blackwoods Naturopathic Remedies Found To Be Efficacious"?
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Old 8th March 2019, 01:31 AM   #3
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I do not like the idea of online study without sometimes having to attend physically sometimes. Is that just me or have I found a major problem with the university?


https://www.scu.edu.au/study-at-scu/...-online-study/
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Online study is often the best and most flexible option for people who are juggling work and study or who wish to study a Southern Cross University course but do not want to relocate.
Several undergraduate degrees, including the Bachelor of Business, Bachelor of Information Technology, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Psychological Science and even the Bachelor of Laws offer the option of partial or complete online study. Check the details for individual courses or contact one of our student advisors to find out more.
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Old 8th March 2019, 01:46 AM   #4
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I think this is the study in question:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30785315/
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Old 8th March 2019, 04:04 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Mojo View Post
I think this is the study in question:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30785315/
Here is the full paper https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6389764/

I query the quality of some of the papers they included in the study. How many of them were double blinded?
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Old 8th March 2019, 01:26 PM   #6
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See figure 3.
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Old 22nd March 2019, 12:49 AM   #7
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This has now been covered by Edzard Ernst: https://edzardernst.com/2019/03/natu...ete-fantasies/
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Old 24th March 2019, 04:39 PM   #8
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Completely coincidentally, this article is on the Guardian today:

Naturopaths are snake-oil salespeople masquerading as health professionals

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When I began researching and conducting interviews for a feature about naturopaths, I was doggedly determined to keep an open mind. Journalism 101 dictates balance: a fair hearing to both sides. My commitment was to present the unbiased truth; I was about to embark on a learning journey, as journalists often do.

I interviewed academics from Sydney, Melbourne and the UK, senior medical professionals, sceptics, authors on the subject, naturopaths themselves, those who use them, the professional body for naturopaths, the Australian Medical Associated, the Department of Health, and a naturopath turned dissenter. What I discovered shocked me.
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Old 25th March 2019, 05:37 AM   #9
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[aside]

Is it just me that gets tickled that an acronym for the "Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine" could be pronounced as "Jack 'em"?

[/aside]
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Old 25th March 2019, 06:49 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
I do not like the idea of online study without sometimes having to attend physically sometimes. Is that just me or have I found a major problem with the university?
I know of a few reputable institutions that offer online-only courses that do not require any physical attendance. I know them to be reputable from long personal experience, and for the fact that they started out as traditional institutions decades ago. They do, however, require some form of interaction such as in scheduled chat rooms or video participation. My opinion is that these are not as effective as in-person instruction, but they are more effective than no instruction at all.

So I don't think you can necessary fault an institution just because they offer online courses with no requirement to attend physically. However, I also know of a few pop-up schools in my area that only offer online education, and I have heard nothing but bad things about them.
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Old 25th March 2019, 04:37 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Hellbound View Post
[aside]

Is it just me that gets tickled that an acronym for the "Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine" could be pronounced as "Jack 'em"?

[/aside]
It's not as good as my favourite journal name ever, which is the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science.
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Old 26th March 2019, 12:30 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Completely coincidentally, this article is on the Guardian today:

Naturopaths are snake-oil salespeople masquerading as health professionals
I'm going to say that's a bad article that fails "journalism 101". Look at how the journalist ends it with comments about nutritionists ".... I don’t mean to dismiss anyone who’s had a positive naturopathic experience, but the naturopaths who are trained nutritionists are, quelle surprise, likely to give good nutritional advice....."
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Old 26th March 2019, 12:35 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
I'm going to say that's a bad article that fails "journalism 101". Look at how the journalist ends it with comments about nutritionists ".... I don’t mean to dismiss anyone who’s had a positive naturopathic experience, but the naturopaths who are trained nutritionists are, quelle surprise, likely to give good nutritional advice....."
Well it's obviously an opinion piece. It's in the Opinion section of the website - it's not a reporting of fact. However, does that excuse the behaviour of the naturopaths described in the article?

Quote:
There were attempts to discredit the academics I interviewed, and shoehorn their own, cherry-picked ones in. A senior Cambridge University educated medical professional I interviewed – a dissenter – was labelled “ignorant”. I was told that if I really cared about the public, and if I had any credibility as a journalist, I’d remove the sceptical comments. There was a transparent attempt to rubbish a former naturopath who now speaks out against the industry. A demand to see a revised piece was then made. I declined, asking that my professionalism and independence as a journalist was respected.

Surely, if they truly had faith in their practice, naturopaths would let the results speak for themselves, rather than spending time being hyper-defensive and trying to discredit trained medical professionals.
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Old 26th March 2019, 01:59 AM   #14
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It's an excellent article. I would have preferred a longer one, but as it is, I see nothing wrong with it.
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Old 26th March 2019, 03:24 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
It's an excellent article. I would have preferred a longer one, but as it is, I see nothing wrong with it.
The issue is that he mentions nutritionists, anyone in the UK can call themselves a nutritionist, at the start of the article he states

"The snake-oil salespeople, masquerading as health professionals, are naturopaths. They don’t need to go to medical school to put up a sign and declare themselves a “naturopath” – as a doctor would. In fact, anyone can call themselves a naturopath. It isn’t a registered profession, even its official body only requires a bachelor’s degree to grant membership."

If he had done his journalism 101 he would have learned that the exact same can be said about nutritionists in the UK. Well one difference is that the major nutritionist "professional " bodies in the UK don't require a BA. In the UK the medical professional trained and regulated is a Dietician.

If you are criticising one type snake oil provider it is not good to then give support for another type of snake oil provider
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Old 26th March 2019, 05:23 AM   #16
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However, a nutritionist isn't necessarily a snake oil provider. A naturopath almost certainly is. When he talks about "trained nutritionists", I assume that he means people who have been properly educated.
But I agree: He should have made it clear that it very much depends on the kind of education a nutritionist has had.
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