Archive for May, 2012


First night under canvas for five years.... (have to go to the pub yet!)

Flickr Pics 18th May 2012

on May 18, 2012 by kirsty

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Trick or Treatment: The Undeniable Facts about Alternative Medicine

Trick or Treatment: The Undeniable Facts about Alternative Medicine by Simon Singh

In books read on May 15, 2012

Before I read this book my opinion was that "alternative medicine" was largely "trick" and only occasionally "treatment", so much so that I almost didn't bother to read it. But since I struggle to explain that viewpoint to others sometimes I thought I'd have a read and see which bits were actually useful.

The authors look into four branches of alternative medicine in detail. Before reading I thought that homeopathy was a load of rubbish (though only since realising in recent years that this involves supposedly making medicines stronger by diluting them, before that I thought it was a synonym for "natural" medicine and I suspect many people have similar delusions); I didn't know much about acupuncture other than I've heard it recommended by doctors so I thought it would have some effect; I knew chiropractic was something to do with backs but chiropractors claim they can cure other things too which I was dubious about; and finally herbal medicine, which I thought would turn out to be genuine natural drugs.

Well, after reading I am a bit disappointed that what I thought was my sceptical viewpoint turned out to be a bit rosy! Homeopathy is definitely rubbish as expected, acupuncture pretty much too - the authors leave the possibility that it may have an effect on (IIRC) nausea and pain open but it is basically unproved either way and if it does have an effect then it's very minor. Herbal medicines are a jumble, mostly nonsense with a few mostly well known exceptions like St Johns Wort for mild depression. The most surprising bit for me was the evidence that chiropractors, whilst in general having some effect on back problems and none on anything else, actually employ methods that can cause strokes when manipulating necks. I will be steering clear of them!

So, the summary is that the vast majority of the effect of alternative medicine is down to the placebo effect, and the bit I hadn't really thought about before is that you also get a placebo effect when using a conventional medicine in addition to its pharmaceutical action. And much of the problem with alternative medicines is that they lead people to reject conventional medicine for no good reason.

I feel like I'm rewriting the book here...there are lots of things I would like to mention but will stop here. It's an easy read and well worth it if you want to find out a bit more about any of these "treatment"s and why they (mostly) don't work.

This was a kindle eBook.


Transpennine.Giving up on any pretence that this is a TV

Flickr Pics 13th May 2012

on May 13, 2012 by kirsty

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Folk Festival outside my window.

Flickr Pics 12th May 2012

on May 12, 2012 by kirsty

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Stem Ginger Cupcakes.Miranda's Lunch: 3rd Mar to 4th May 2012Miranda's Lunch: 3rd Jan to 29th Feb 2012Ah, this is better. (Just about.)This is not the baking powder I was looking for.Actual sunshine.

Flickr Pics 11th May 2012

on May 11, 2012 by kirsty

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Rain.Spring is late. Cf: 54.5 weeks ago

Flickr Pics 9th May 2012

on May 9, 2012 by kirsty

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Am sure this minifig is modelled on my dad!UntitledUntitledLego ShowLego ShowLego ShowLego ShowBuilding Row 18, column 26 of the world's biggest Lego mosaic.Miranda's fish Lego mosaicMy Lego Mosaic

Flickr Pics 6th May 2012

on May 6, 2012 by kirsty

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Think I need to clean the windows. (Camping in the garden.)

Flickr Pics 5th May 2012

on May 5, 2012 by kirsty

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Destination Unknown

Destination Unknown by Agatha Christie

In books read on May 3, 2012

Not a Christie I'd heard of before and not a regular mystery. Good first half, I like the way someone about to commit suicide is offered a mission with a good chance of death instead. The plot goes gradually downhill in the second half really. This is a kind of spy thriller which falls somewhere between vintage and dated. Having finished it I am more inclined towards "vintage" for the good descriptive aspects of travelling in the 1950s rather than "dated" for some of the plot devices, I was at least pleased it didn't fall into the whole "oh no not the communists" pit that I it teetered on the edge of for a while. Not a book I'd recommend to anyone else really, but not one I regret picking up.

This was a library book.

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