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CASS Submits Critique of Proposed Degree Program in Naturopathy

(April 17, 2013) The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM) has applied for accreditation for a new Bachelor of Naturopathic degree program in Ontario. Today, the Committee for the Advancement of Scientific Skepticism submitted feedback to Ontario's Postsecondary Education Quality Assessment Board (PEQAB), explaining why we think this would be a serious step backwards for the quality of education in the province.

Wi-Fi/EMF Health Scares

Despite a strong scientific consensus that there is no public health risk from the radio-frequency radiation emitted by wi-fi transmitters and other devices, anxious parents have recently been lobbying school boards, libraries, and local governments to ban the installation of wi-fi systems in public buildings. Their fear is driven by a highly organized campaign spreading misinformation based on personal anecdote and discredited fringe science. CASS is producing educational materials for distribution to organizations feeling the pressure of this campaign, to help them to make rational decisions on the basis of the best available science.


Food Health Claims in Canadian Media Study

In 2011 the scientific journal Public Understanding of Science published "The quality of the evidence for dietary advice given in UK national newspapers", a study that looked at 10 newspapers over a period of 7 days and picked out all the stories relating to the health effects of food.  The authors found that of 111 claims, around 70% had lower than the "convincing" or "probable" categories that are recommended for dietary claims. CASS is currently replicating the study in Canada to look for a difference across publishers and regions.

Oscillococcinum and Shoppers Drug Mart

Shoppers Drug Mart is Canada's largest pharmacy chain.  As well as providing a valuable service to its customers, many Shoppers locations also place alternative medicines on shelves alongside conventional, science-based medicines. CASS is concerned that the juxtaposition of alternative medicines with little or no evidence of efficacy and conventional treatments which have been through many years of randomise, placebo-controlled clinical trials will lend undue respectability to the former group.  We are currently in communication with Shoppers to help remedy this situation. ____________________________________________________________

Nightingale Collaboration

The Nightingale Collaboration is  named after Florence Nightingale, who was famous for using evidence-based treatments during her nursing practice in the Crimean War.  In 2010 (the centenary of her death in 1910) a group was established in the UK to highlight the large number of advertisements for alternative medicine that lacked sufficient evidence to make the claims that they make. 

Homeopaths unable to take criticism: cry conspiracy instead of providing evidence

January 17 2011

Canadian homeopaths are angry.  Cries of conspiracy and persecution rang out over the internet in anticipation of CBC Marketplace’s exposé of homeopathic remedies this week, while skeptical groups celebrated the first major investigation of homeopathy in Canadian mainstream media.  Homeopathy, a pseudo-science purporting magical assertions, including that with a few shakes, water can retain the memory of a substance after it has been diluted far past detectable levels, is under attack; and it’s about time.

Intravenous Nutrient Therapy – Cure-all or Just One More Unproven Treatment?

Skeptical Inquirer, September 28, 2010
Recently there has been renewed interest among the general public in the use of intravenous (IV) nutrient therapy to treat a variety of ailments including chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, fibromyalgia, hay fever, chronic sinusitis, congestive heart failure, ischemic vascular disease, dementia,  bronchitis, multiple sclerosis, as well as viral and bacterial infections.  It has been suggested that serum concentrations of the nutrients reach much higher levels with IV therapy than can be achieved through oral consumption.  

The Skeptics View of Alternative Medicine

National Post, July 9 2010
Alternative medicine is gaining popularity in Canada, especially for the treatment of chronic conditions. Many treatment modalities are endorsed by practitioners of alternative medicine: from nutritional supplements, to acupuncture, to magnetic bracelets. It is important to examine scientifically if these treatments works, and in so doing, we can see how skeptics examine the claims of alternative medicine.