One of my moments of fun at the end of the week is getting my ‘Friday dose of woo’ over at Respectful Insolence. It never ceases to amaze me that people can invent and promote the kind of stuff reported there, and that some people seem to believe it. The most recent entry contains something that is implausible whatever your branch of science and reading about it is an almost psychedelic experience. It’s called the SCIO.
Another place to sample some of the dubious medicine to be had via the net is over at The Little Black Duck’s blog. He discusses the subject of hair mineral analysis, something that sounds rather conventional and much more believable than the SCIO.
Shinga has been talking about food allergy and intolerance tests, another very plausible and conventional sounding set of tests.
While it might be easy to spot the rather dodgy nature of the SCIO, allergy testing and hair analysis sound much more plausible; and all these things have ‘scientific evidence’ presented to add weight to their claims. Shinga and the Little Black Duck show that it’s necessary to go back to the scientific and medical research literature and have a careful look at it to really evaluate whether these tests are actually of benefit to real individual patients. Allergy tests can be very useful – providing you’re doing the right test in conjunction with a good history of the patient’s symptoms.
I’ve talked before about what the RCPath have to say about diagnostic tests. Neither the allergy tests nor the hair mineral analysis would fulfil their criteria. They may sound more plausible than the SCIO but in the end they are no better.