Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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01 October 2012

Don't Take Quack

From Z-rays in 1950 to Power Balance bands in 2011, medical deception has lurked in the shadows of credible scientific medicine for decades. The fear of illness is a powerful force, and ‘quacks’ have long preyed on this vulnerability. This public service announcement aimed to combat the dangerous misguidance peddled by fraudulent ‘doctors’, but the problem persists today. Spurious science can have a lasting effect on public perceptions, health and safety. Treatments based on myth or misunderstanding, and proven to be no more effective than inert placebos, are taken in lieu of evidence-based healthcare, leaving patients effectively defenceless against disease. The popularity and apparent credibility of nonsense science is amplified by celebrity endorsements; the persuasive power of popular voice can drown out the counsel of science. As Raymond Massey says here, “Investigate before you invest in health services or products. Help stamp out quackery”.

Written by Anthony Lewis

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