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Alternative medicine: how fools are made of us

In the era of the development of the Internet, you can “google” any disease: you enter the symptoms, and the search engine gives you a list of medical sites, videos, or, at worst, forums. In the latter, you can not only diagnose yourself, but also “prescribe” the treatment, as there are plenty of volunteers who will describe in detail what tablets they took, what tests they gave, and if you are lucky, you can also find out about the personal treatment method, which forum users themselves came up with.

It’s okay if such tips concern non-serious topics, for example, how to increase immunity or strengthen hair using folk methods, but more often people want to recover from more serious illnesses by resorting to alternative medicine.

Non-standard or alternative methods of medicine usually include dietary supplements, herbs, special diets, homeopathic remedies, energy effects or magic, that is, everything that is not recognized by either medical or scientific communities. Such methods cannot be approved by regulatory authorities, as they are not confirmed by clinical studies.

Despite the fact that many methods of alternative treatment are not approved by doctors, some people decide to abandon the pills, completely switching to folk remedies.

The patient has the right to choose what methods to treat. This choice will depend on the person’s knowledge, on his education, and on his lifestyle. The doctor should always tell the patient all the development paths: what will happen if you take this, and what happens if you don’t get treated at all. As for alternative or alternative medicine – herbal decoctions, acupuncture, massages, there is nothing wrong with it, if you correctly approach the choice of methodology. Doctors must first take all the tests, make the correct diagnosis, and only then prescribe something from alternative medicine,
told “Reedus” Vladimir Potapov, a member of the expert council on traditional medicine of the State Health Committee. Duma of the Russian Federation, Doctor of Medical Sciences.
Homeopathy: Now you will be divorced
Homeopathy is one of the areas of alternative medicine that involves the use of highly diluted drugs in water. The substance is diluted several times, filtered, and shaken in a “special” way to obtain a solution in which essentially nothing remains of the original preparation.

Moreover, convinced homeopaths are sure that the more dilute the medicine, the stronger the result. But, let’s look at a simple arithmetic problem: if you dilute the drug in the proportions of 1: 10²⁴ (according to the homeopathic classification – “12C”) or even stronger, then the final solution will not contain a single molecule of the active substance, that is, we will get a placebo – the usual a dummy.

If a homeopathic medicine contains only water and some kind of sweetener, then why are their prices sometimes higher than with conventional medicines? If you did not know, then homeopathic medicines are sold not only in specialized pharmacies, but also in ordinary pharmacies, next to traditional medicines.

Many pharmacies have recently begun to sign shelves of “homeopathic remedies,” but this has not been observed in large numbers before. For example, 5–7 years ago, before traveling to the sea, I constantly bought the Avia-More drug — tablets for motion sickness, and it was the pharmacists who advised him to buy it. These pills did not give me any result, but I believed that it was really easier for me, and convinced myself that the drug worked. But he did not work.

When I became aware of homeopathy, I began to be more attentive to medicines, read their compositions. It turned out that not only Avia-Sea got into my medicine cabinet: Anaferon – from the flu, Oscillococcinum (which contains, oh horror, the liver of some Barbarian duck), Calm down – from anxiety and stress. Yes, these are all homeopathic remedies, the effectiveness of which should not be counted on, but it was the pediatrician who prescribed the first two drugs to me.
Despite the inefficiency of homeopathic remedies, they continue to be sold in pharmacies, and bring good income to manufacturers. In many ways, such homeopathic remedies were achieved precisely because of the illiteracy of the people: as polls show, one third of Russians do not know about homeopathy: 17% hear this word for the first time, and 33% are familiar with it, but do not know what it means. Only 3% consider homeopathy quackery.

By the way, the invalidity of homeopathic remedies has been proven scientifically, and more than once.

In order not to be unfounded I will give a vivid example. In 2015, Australia’s National Board of Health and Medical Research conducted a thorough study of almost all known homeopathic remedies. After studying the scientific literature on the effectiveness of homeopathic remedies, as well as interviewing supporters of homeopathy, the scientists chose studies that corresponded to all the qualities of the scientific methodology: works in which the control and experimental groups participated, where the homeopathic remedy was compared with placebo, etc.

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