Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Some Lines for Labour

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  • Rich of Observationz,

    I'd suggest the view of the less-hippy Greens (and of many doctors) is that if people want to indulge in quackery and it makes them happy, they should do so.

    For self-limiting conditions at least, it gives people the idea that they are "doing something" about getting better, which may be psychologically useful.

    It was suggested that all quack medicine stores have a sign over the door: "Ineffective Treatments For Self-Limiting Conditions".

    None of this is as harmful as allowing Big Pharma to gut Pharmac and force us to pay over the odds for treatments that have also been found unjustified. That's National's policy (see Herceptin) and it's probably worse than subsidising St John's Wort.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Agreed Rich. Pharmac has been one of the most powerful tools for optimising the use of money in health care and screwing those folks over the way National did simply to buy votes was despicable.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4450 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Still waiting for a response from the Southern Maori candidate/s...in the meantime, my vote, and many of the votes of myleftwing-Labour-inclined
    whanau, are in a weird deep freeze. None of us feel inclined to vote for anything rightwing; none of us are inspired by Harawira's Mana Party, and while some of us have given our party votes to the Greens in the past, neither the candidates they field in the South nor their policies
    (taken as a whole*) are attractive.

    *Some of the policy planks are engaging; some are necessary (and should be adopted by other leftist parties), and some are plain cranky.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Che Tibby,

    yup. and piss-taking aside, Green is the most viable alternative.

    Where the Greens work for me is at the personal level. I have a lot of time for most of the caucus as members of parliament.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Most GPs appreciate the power of the placebo effect...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Some of their new candidates are good too; Jan Logie I used to work with and hold in the higest regard. James Shaw I had some dealings with too - he seems to be part of their move to the centre (I might be wrong about this). I've previous noted that I've been impressed by Turei too.

    I remain pretty keen on Labour despite the current problems. The new MPs that came in as they went out of office are consistently very good. I've refrained from this discussion only because I am a member .

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Islander,

    Right, but that's quite different from empowering a profession who sell placebos on the explicit premise that they're not placebos.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 856 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Islander,

    Most GPs appreciate the power of the placebo effect…

    as do most scientists.

    One of the cool studies of the placebo effect showed that surgury>injection>pills>nothing. That is, the more "ceremony" involved, the stronger the effect.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4450 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to James Butler,

    Yup.

    And Bart - my s-i-l GP - who has been practising for well over 2 decades, regrets the diminishment of doctors' mana because, aside from other reasons, the placebo effect of their words has also been diminshed. A staunch leftwinger, she also agrees that some diminishment was overdue (the conversation that these matters came up in concerned "An Unfortunate Experiment...")

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Islander,

    I know what she means. Occasionally I get caught up in that dichotomy when talking to my GP, he is very very good, also a couple of decades in the job, but he calls me Dr Janssen, to honour my degree, but that plays with my perception of him as the "all knowing healer".

    One part of me wants the power of the all knowing healer to work magic, one part wants to be certain he is right after merely spending 5 years to get his degree.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4450 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Paul Williams,

    I've refrained from this discussion only because I am a member

    that's a qualification to talk, surely

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Complementary medicine is broader than the placebo effect - and some therapies are already accepted (and funded) in primary practice. However the degree of an evidence base varies.

    Personally, homeopathy just doesn't make any sense to me but I'm damn sure magnets improve my arthritis beyond any placebo effect even though I do not know how they work (before anyone riffs that meme).

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams, in reply to Sacha,

    Sure, but internally. I understand entirely why people are criticising Labour's performance. Some of the criticisms I agree. Much of the criticisms, here particularly, are constructive. I figure many commenting here aren't members but as I am one, I'd rather offer my views through the "official channels" so to speak. I've followed the discussion here though because, as is typical of PA discussions, it's very considered.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Sacha,

    Agreed Sacha - a lot of complementary therapy comes down to personal response.
    My midwife sisters have homeopathy kits & Bach's Rescue remedy as part of their midwifery bags - and, intensely practical as that craft is, they wouldnt've stayed there, if they hadnt helped some of their clients.

    For me & my osteoarthritis, magnets do nothing (nor does homeopathy or acupuncture) but! Just keep that fishoil & glucosamine/chrondroitin (mine from greenlipped mussels mainly) a-coming matey! Does nothing for the Heberden's nodes - but does seem to have stopped new ones forming...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Samuel Scott,

    I think I must be a left leaning loony of the worst kind. I LOVE 'The Kedge' and think naturopathy is often a very helpful compliment to conventional medicine. The Greens are have been providing very clear responses to National policy over the last 3 years. I think their main problem is not ditching any outrageous policies of there own, it's creating a clear leadership voice within the slightly confusing co-leadership model.

    ...It's good to know now why Don Brash has leaped but into the arena, he just hates inclusive politics. Doing something positive for a sector of society that probably wont for you is immoral and insane it seems.

    South Wellington • Since Feb 2008 • 315 posts Report Reply

  • Samuel Scott,

    oops not 'leaped but', 'leaped back'. :-P

    South Wellington • Since Feb 2008 • 315 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Would now be a good time to recommend Ben Goldacre's Bad Science?

    If memory serves, he takes quite some pains in Chapter 6 to point out that the supplement industry and associated alternative medicines are, for the most part, Big Pharma themselves. With, in many cases, supplement companies wholly or partly owned by GSK, AstraZenaca, Merck, Bayer, etc.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    My midwife sisters have homeopathy kits & Bach's Rescue remedy as part of their midwifery bags - and, intensely practical as that craft is, they wouldnt've stayed there, if they hadnt helped some of their clients.

    Homeopathy and rescue remedy, like a lot of alt med stuff, finds its way into midwifery not so much because it works (there's no evidence, as opposed to anecdote, that it does) but because there are no ingredients that stand any chance of harming a baby. There is a big demand amongst pregnant women for things to help with the many little problems you get with pregnancy (sickness, sore joints, mood disorders, and so on) and a long list of life's little helpers like voltaren, aspirin, some antidepressants, cold and flu meds, etc, that you can't take because the risks to the baby are either established or unknown. Homeopathy fills the gap because no-one can say it's unsafe (because it's water, or in the case of rescue remedy, flavoured brandy), and a placebo effect is better than nothing.

    A placebo isn't an imagined effect, it's a real effect that depends on your knowledge of what treatment you've taken. You can't tell if something's a placebo or not unless it's been replaced by a control without your knowledge and you've noticed the difference.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Different strokes for different folk, and interestingly, mainstream pharmaceuticals will always have the ability of being subject to human error like this situation.
    Sacha, the magnets are supposed to stimulate bloodflow by attracting the iron in your blood to the surface of the bod.
    Acupuncture is stimulus points (along meridian lines established 5000 years ago in China, I'd imagine by trial and error). This too is to stimulate blood flow, and balance of the body (chi, ying and yang, hot and cold, good and bad) via stimulating nerves.
    Like Islander, some works for me, some I got no time for,but the reality is that Government already supports this for claims,rehab etc.
    So I really can't see how the Greens would be trying to introduce anything that isn't already recognised as acceptable when it comes to personal wellbeing.Still, guess they aren't perfect, so who else we got? ;)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    Sue Kedgley is anti-vaccination, and is at least partly responsible for the spina bifida of several babies conceived and maybe born over the last year whose could health problems could have been avoided had the recommendation to fortify bread with folate been implemented rather than panicked about. They need to ditch that stuff if they want their science-based policy to have any traction with anyone who cares about that sort of thing.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    Acupuncture

    I suggest people track down the episode of the TV Show Brianiac where they (being a TV show and so not bound by the ethical concerns of medical practitioners) got the elderly asian man from the local fish and chip shop, gave him some needles, and brought people in to have "acupuncture" (the man from the fish and chip shop not having the slightest clue about acupuncture). The reported pain relief from people have needles stuck in them at random by an old asian guy in a white coat matched actual acupuncture results. I actually squirmed a bit watching that.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1443 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Islander,

    fish oil

    There's an example of something I'd like to see funded. Great natural anti-inflammatory known for centuries but competing with lucrative pharma equivalents with side effects.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to B Jones,

    Totally agree B Jones- when I suggested that Rescue Remedy & homoepathic materials worked in a midwifery situation not least because they were innocuous, I wasnt exactly popular.

    Just incidentally, both my sisters are general-trained nurses (from the late 1970/80s): one is also pyschiatrically-trained/qualified, and the other has a Bachelor of Nursing degree(with additional training in other specialist areas.). They are well-educated & highly trained, and highly-experienced people. And wonderful sisters!

    I just - disagree with them on certain matters, is all-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    Is it boxers or rugby players who use magic water to fix up injuries mid-match? Another field in which real drugs are restricted for good reason, so placebos like power balance bands abound.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Sacha,

    Sacha – one of the things the Southern olds knew about, quite early on – almost as soon as they got south really- was the benefice of muttonbird fat.

    Titi are so high in omega3 it isnt funny.

    Not only taste delicious, but helped with the arthritis(which, we all know, is exacerbated by cold conditions) – what was there not to love about those appealingly brown-eyed fluffy -& rilly rilly FAT- little chicks? Hmmm?

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

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