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Member since: 2002
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SBM: Is there a naturopathic standard of care?



This is where naturopathy departs from health professionals like medicine and the allied health professions like nursing, pharmacy, dentistry and physiotherapy: all of those professionals are grounded in science and rely on evidence to guide the standard of care. Naturopathy is a philosophical belief system, and not a science, which picks and chooses what’s appropriately “naturopathic care” – not because of the scientific evidence, but despite the scientific evidence. As long as a practice is acceptably “naturopathic”, then it’s acceptable. After all if homeopathy is a “clinical science” in naturopathy, and is on the naturopathic certification examination, is there any likelihood that any practice, no matter how useless, would fail to meet the naturopathic standard?

Given there is a lack of objective evidence that determines what naturopaths offer, concerns have been raised about the naturopathic standard of care. A letter published in Allergy, Asthma, & Clinical Immunology documents the concerns about naturopathy in Canada and any naturopathic alignment to science-based methodologies. Timothy Caulfield and Christen Rachul found that the most widely advertised practices in Alberta and British Columbia lacked a sound evidence base. They concluded:

A review of the therapies advertised on the websites of clinics offering naturopathic treatments does not support the proposition that naturopathic medicine is a science and evidence-based practice.


There is no naturopathic standard of care. Without “naturopathic medicine” being tethered to principles and practices that are scientific, then naturopathy will remain an “anything goes” profession – which is exactly what naturopaths seems to prefer. Held to the own non-standard, it’s not clear how a naturopath could ever be said to have failed to meet a “naturopathic standard of care”. The question that remains is whether or not naturopaths will be held to the same standards of care as medical doctors, given their claims that they are as capable of providing primary care just like medical doctors. Let’s hope there are no further tragedies like that of Ezekial Stephan that leave us continuing to ask this question."


Obama to name Stonewall 1st national monument for gay rights


"New York’s iconic Stonewall Inn, where the modern gay rights movement took root, will become the first national monument honoring the history of gays and lesbians in the U.S. under a proposal President Barack Obama is preparing to approve.

Designating the small swath of land will mark a major act of national recognition for gay rights advocates and their struggles over the last half-century. Since the 1969 uprising in Greenwich Village, the U.S. has enacted anti-discrimination protections, allowed gays and lesbians to serve openly in the U.S. military and legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

Though land must still be transferred to the federal government and other details worked out, the president is expected to move quickly to greenlight the monument following a public meeting Monday in Manhattan, according to two individuals familiar with the administration’s plans. The individuals weren’t authorized to discuss the plans publicly and requested anonymity.


The gritty tavern, known colloquially as the Stonewall, became a catalyst for the gay rights movement after police raided it on June 28, 1969. Bar-goers fought back, and many more joined in street protests over the following days in an uprising widely credited as the start of large-scale gay activism in New York and around the word. Annual pride parades in hundreds of cities commemorate the rebellion.



They Have To Be Monsters: On Empathy, The Internet, And Typing



As an exercise in empathy, try to imagine saying some of the terrible things people typed to each other online to a real person sitting directly in front of you. Or don't imagine, and just watch this video.


I challenge you to watch the entirety of that video. I couldn't do it. This is the second time I've tried, and I had to turn it off not even 2 minutes in because I couldn't take it any more.


I imagine the suffering that these parents are already going through, reading these words that another human being typed to them, just typed, and something breaks inside me. I can't process it. But rather than pitting ourselves against each other out of fear, recognize that the monster who posted this terrible thing is me. It's you. It's all of us.

The weight of seeing through the fear and beyond the monster to simply discover yourself is often too terrible for many people to bear. In a world of hard things, it's the hardest there is."


It's a mildly long piece, but worth the time of day in my opinion.

Why is the American story of nature and conservation so white?


U.S. Wasted $1.4 Billion To Stop HIV In Africa By Promoting Abstinence.


"In the past 12 years, the U.S. has spent more than $1.4 billion funding abstinence programs in Africa. They're part of a larger program — called the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief — aimed at stopping the spread of HIV around the world.


But a study, published Monday in Health Affairs, finds the abstinence programs have been a failure.


Congress funded the program with bipartisan support. But one part of the plan was controversial: A third of the money going toward HIV prevention was earmarked for programs teaching abstinence before marriage and faithfulness. This included sex education classes in schools and public health announcements on billboards and the radio.


The earmark was added to please some Republicans, Dietrich says, "who wanted to make sure the money wouldn't be spent on anything that might be seen as promoting teenage sex or promiscuity."



Just clarifying what we already knew, I suppose, but...



"I’M IN A CRAFT BEER BAR IN BROOKLYN, sipping a $9 stout and looking for black people. “Juicy” is on the speakers, and Notorious B.I.G. grew up a five-minute walk from my barstool here on the dividing line between Clinton Hill and Bedford-Stuyvesant. This is a traditionally black neighborhood, but right now, at 10:30pm on a Thursday, the only people in the bar are me (white), the bartender (white), and a stocky guy with a beard down at the end mouthing lyrics and nursing a bomber of what looks like Hill Farmstead (he’s white, too).

My search isn’t going well so far.

That’s because craft beer is white. Whiter than a ski lodge. Whiter than a Whole Foods in the suburbs. Craft beer is so white, in fact, that there’s an entry for “microbreweries” in Stuff White People Like, a book based on a blog written by a white person making fun of white people for being white. The passage concludes with this sentence: “ost white people want to open a microbrewery at some point.”

Do most black people want to open a microbrewery at some point? Do any? The Brewers Association, the craft industry’s leading trade group, doesn’t keep records on the racial breakdown of its membership; nor does the American Homebrewers Association, its DIY-focused branch. Both organizations told me they weren’t aware of the existence of any such data. After digging around, neither am I.

So, in the absence of statistics, I set out to answer a simple question: where the hell are all the black craft brewers, bar owners, bloggers, aficionados, and nerds? Why is craft beer -- the consumer side, and especially the business side -- so white?



Well, I found it interesting.

The Republican Party has made an antivaccine loon named Donald Trump its presumptive nominee


"I haven’t written anything about Donald Trump and vaccines in a while. When last I did write about him, I enumerated his long, sordid history of making ridiculously pseudoscientific antivaccine statements linking vaccines to autism dating back at least to 2007. That was when I first discovered him and referred to him as the latest celebrity antivaccinationist drinking the Kool Aid of vaccine pseudoscience. A few years later, I noted his risibly nonsensical claim that a “monster shot” causes autism. Truly, Donald Trump’s history of making idiotic antivaccine statements is long and sordid. Of course, Donald Trump’s history of making idiotic statements about a great many subjects is long and sordid, but antivaccine pseudoscience is what I know better than domestic or foreign policy.

Of course, I don’t recall having heard anything from Trump in a while on the vaccine-autism front, at least not since September last year. But his antivaccine lunacy is definitely part of his persona, so much so that when I started to type “Donald Trump vaccines autism” the first entry on the search was a Natural News link from 2012. In any case, I get the feeling that Trump’s antivaccine views were too crazy even for most of Trump’s supporters, hence his relative silence these last eight months. Sure, he can spout off about how he wants to build a wall on the Mexican border and have Mexico pay for it and numerous other proposals even more ludicrous than that, but he’s apparently toned down the antivaccine nonsense. Now, with the Indiana primary today, Trump is on the verge of all but wrapping up the Republican nomination if he wins there today. That’s why I decided to revisit the topic today, particularly given that the issue has reared its ugly head again.

Still, if Trump were actually to become President, he could do great damage to public health. Sure, school vaccine mandates are a state issue, but the guidelines upon which they are based are developed by the CDC. Over the last couple of decades, there have been various antivaccine legislators who have brought CDC officials before Congressional committees to demand “answers” about the link between vaccines and autism. Just imagine how much trouble a President Trump could cause, with his power to appoint a Secretary of HHS. I was reminded of this again by a video in a story that popped up in my feed yesterday featuring Elizabeth Emken.

The reason this is relevant is that Emken used to be the Executive Director of Autism Speaks, an “autism advocacy” group that used to be very much into antivaccine pseudoscience. Indeed, after much foot dragging, it wasn’t until 2015 that Autism Speaks finally grudgingly admitted that there is no good evidence linking vaccines to autism after a large study was published showing no evidence of a link between vaccines and autism and a meta-analysis involving over a million children similarly failed to find a link. It’s not for nothing that Autism Speaks has been quite appropriately accused of speaking up too late on vaccines.



In case anyone had forgotten this part of Trump's despicable persona.

Is a profit-first philosophy in retail pharmacy compromising working conditions and patient care?


"The tension between the “business of pharmacy” and the professional responsibilities of pharmacists, as health care professionals, has always been present in retail (“community”) pharmacy practice. For much of the past several decades, pharmacies have generally been owned by pharmacists, elevating pharmacy ethics and professional responsibilities to the level of the owner. But the era of the independent pharmacist-owner-operated pharmacy is disappearing, and the era of the massive pharmacy chain is upon us. In the United States, CVS and Walgreens command 50% of the retail pharmacy business in major cities. In Canada, Shoppers Drug Mart has been purchased by the grocery giant Loblaw, and the Rexall chain has been purchased by American giant McKesson. And in the United Kingdom, retail pharmacy chain Boots has about 25% of pharmacy market share.

With this retail consolidation, are we seeing a decline in the autonomy of the front-line pharmacist? A scathing series of articles in The Guardian is raising questions about whether pharmacy giant Boots is putting a drive for profits ahead of safe and appropriate pharmacy care. And pharmacists are speaking up.The Guardian column is scathing. “How Boots went Rogue” was the headline in a long piece by Aditya Chakrabortty:

This is the tale of how one of Britain’s oldest and biggest businesses went rogue – to the point where its own pharmacists claim their working conditions threaten the safety of patients, and experts warn that the management’s pursuit of demanding financial targets poses a risk to public health. (Boots denies this, saying that “offering care for our colleagues, customers and the communities which we serve…is an integral part of our strategy.”)

At the heart of this story is one of the most urgent debates in post-crash Britain: what large companies owe the rest of us – in taxes, in wages, and in standards of behaviour.



Link to the Guardian piece: http://www.theguardian.com/news/2016/apr/13/how-boots-went-rogue


Pulling Back Canadian Censorship of Science


"During the recent Harper administration in Canada, scientists doing federal research were effectively censored from speaking with the media. This was a clear attempt at controlling the narrative with regard to environmental issues, from global warming to the effect of fisheries and water quality.

Now that the Harper administration has been replaced by the Trudeau administration, the restrictions are being lifted and scientists are able to talk about how oppressive the Harper restrictions truly were.

Nature has an in depth report, which discusses the totalitarian atmosphere created by the Harper restrictions. Essentially reporters could no longer directly contact federal scientists to verify facts or comment on their research. Rather, they had to go through a series of government officials. This became more frustrating and time consuming than navigating the DMV, and as a result reporters could never get any comment prior to their deadlines.

The end result was that journalists simply stopped trying. There was no point. This effectively cut off communication between federal scientists in Canada and the press.



Link to the report in Nature: http://www.nature.com/news/nine-years-of-censorship-1.19842

If You Love Underdogs, Then It's Time To Celebrate LEICESTER CITY, EPL Champions!

Leicester City have won the Premier League title in one of the greatest sporting stories of all time.

"Leicester started the campaign as 5,000-1 outsiders for the title after almost being relegated last season.

But they have lost just three league games in what has been described as a "fairytale" and the "most unlikely triumph in the history of team sport".

Closest challengers Spurs, Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United and last year's champions Chelsea, have all failed to match the Foxes' consistency across the season.

"In terms of domestic football, Leicester City winning the Premier League is the greatest achievement ever and I think it will never be surpassed," former Leicester midfielder Robbie Savage told BBC Sport.



Nothing like this has happened in a US league. This is incredible.

Yes, a good distraction is worthy, now and then.

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