How To Combat The “Illusion Of Causality” That Contributes To So Many Healthy People Taking Multivitamin Pills They Don’t Need

By Matthew Warren Millions of people around the world spend time and money on healthcare remedies that mainstream science considers ineffective (in the sense of being no more effective than a placebo), like homeopathy and acupuncture. A study published recently in Psychology and Health investigated how to address this issue in the context of multivitamins, which evidence suggests provide no benefit for healthy people – and may even cause harm in some contexts.  Despite this research evidence, huge numbers of healthy people take multivitamins because they appear to be helpful. Scientists refer to this as the “illusion of causality”: when someone takes a vitamin and then their cold goes away, for example, they may believe it was the vitamin that cured them, even though they would have recovered just as quickly anyway. Past research has shown that simply giving people the raw outcomes of clinical trials that show remedies to be ineffective does not necessarily help combat this problem, perhaps because the data can involve large numbers and complex findings, which are difficult for the public to interpret.  Douglas MacFarlane and colleagues from the University of Western Australia have explored how to better inoculate people against this illusion. The researchers report that people need to be told clearly about the proportion of people who benefit from the remedy versus taking a placebo – and this data has to be accompanied by a scienti...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Tags: Health Source Type: blogs

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About a third of cancer patients use alternative medicine — but many of them don’t tell their doctors, according to a new research letter published in JAMA Oncology. Complementary and alternative therapies are those that people use in addition to or instead of traditional medical care. Out of about 3,100 cancer patients who responded to questions about cancer and complementary therapy use through the 2012 National Health Interview Survey, just over 1,000 reported using one or more of these therapies during the prior year, the research letter says. Of these, about a third said they did not tell their doctors tha...
Source: TIME: Health - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Uncategorized Cancer Source Type: news
This study was not designed to directly compare non-conventional therapies with conventional ones, and the results do not mean that all unproven remedies are useless. In fact, an unproven treatment may become conventional if rigorous research proves its worth. There are many types of alternative treatments (including herbs, vitamins, homeopathy, yoga, and acupuncture) that might have different effects and have not yet been well studied. Importantly, this study did not examine the interaction of conventional and alternative treatments (which in some cases may cause problems). In addition, this study did not actually find th...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Cancer Complementary and alternative medicine Health Source Type: blogs
ConclusionsThe time physicians take and the extent to which they listen attentively are most important and are equally important to all patients. These results may contribute to the debate about more patient-centered healthcare. They support a strengthening of medical consultations in the German healthcare system. We suggest giving physicians the opportunity to spend more time with their patients, which may be achieved by changing the general conditions of remuneration (e.g., improved reimbursement of medical consultations).German Clinical Trial RegisterDRKS00013160.
Source: The Patient - Patient-Centered Outcomes Research - Category: International Medicine & Public Health Source Type: research
ConclusionAs conventional therapies may not be sufficiently effective, women's needs should be closely examined, and individual treatment options should be discussed and initiated by clinicians to provide the best comprehensive treatment possible for endometriosis.
Source: Reproductive BioMedicine Online - Category: Reproduction Medicine Source Type: research
Background:Polycythemia vera (PV), essential thrombocytosis (ET), and myelofibrosis (MF) are chronic myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) characterized by clonal cell proliferation, splenomegaly, and significant symptom burden. Integrative medicine interventions may offer unique symptom management strategies. (Gowin, et al., EHA 2017). Here we describe integrative interventions utilized and association with symptom burden, quality of life, depression, and fatigue adjusted for lifestyle confounders.Methods:Patients were recruited via social media. Consent and online self-report surveys were completed capturing patient demogr...
Source: Blood - Category: Hematology Authors: Tags: 634. Myeloproliferative Syndromes: Clinical: Poster II Source Type: research
ConclusionsVarious models for integrating CAM with UK primary care were identified. Social prescribing and NHS/patient co-funded CAM may be potentially sustainable models for future integration. Lack of funding and negative perceptions of CAM remain the primary challenge to integration. Evaluating effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of integrated services is vital to ensure sustainability.
Source: European Journal of Integrative Medicine - Category: Complementary Medicine Source Type: research
CONCLUSIONS: The type of CAM being used plays an important role when the patient makes the decision to inform the gastroenterologist. Other healthcare professionals play an important role in providing the advice to start CAM. Gastroenterologists must be aware of the high prevalence of CAM use in IBD patients, actively ask about CAM use and guide the patients who want to use CAM in a responsible and safe manner. PMID: 30219473 [PubMed - in process]
Source: Complementary Therapies in Medicine - Category: Complementary Medicine Authors: Tags: Complement Ther Med Source Type: research
Conclusion. Patients diagnosed with MS seek hope in T&CM such as homeopathy or acupuncture. The results of this study suggest that MS patients need more professional support in their personal search for alternative therapies. Key point. 50% of patients diagnosed with multiple sclerosis search relief in traditional and complementary medicine such as homeopathy or acupuncture. These patients often feel compelled to try every opportunity to heal, often stimulated or urged on by friends or relatives. Multiple sclerosis patients are more satisfied with their conventional treatment than with the traditional and complementary med...
Source: Journal of Medicine and Life - Category: General Medicine Tags: J Med Life Source Type: research
CONCLUSION: We identified 60 good quality RCTs which were heterogenous in terms of interventions, disease, measures used to assess outcomes, and efficacy of CAM interventions. Evidence indicates that some CAM therapies may be useful for rheumatic diseases, such as acupuncture for osteoarthritis. Further research with larger sample size is required for more conclusive evidence regarding efficacy of CAM interventions. PMID: 29609927 [PubMed - in process]
Source: Complementary Therapies in Medicine - Category: Complementary Medicine Authors: Tags: Complement Ther Med Source Type: research
A couple of weeks ago, I was interviewed by the a reporter from the Georgetown student newsletter about its integrative medicine program. It got me to thinking how delusion that one’s work is science-based can lead to collaborations with New Age “quantum” mystics like Deepak Chopra. "Integrative medicine" doctors engaging in what I like to refer to as quackademic medicine all claim to be "evidence-based" or "science-based." The words apparently do not mean what integrative medicine academics think they mean. The post Quackademic medicine versus being “science-based&rdqu...
Source: Respectful Insolence - Category: Surgery Authors: Tags: Bad science Cancer Clinical trials Complementary and alternative medicine Integrative medicine Pseudoscience Quackery acupuncture Aviad Haramati Chopra Center Deepak Chopra featured Georgetown University Hakima Amri homeopathy Source Type: blogs
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