Taking Ginko Biloba Doesn’t Work? No, REALLY.

Scientists did a study recently, the largest of its kind yet (at least 100,000 people), to determine if ginkgo biloba actually helps improve your memory. World-shattering news: in over six years of faithfully taking the supplement at the recommended dosage, NO CHANGE. None.

I could have told you that. That needs to go up on the year’s most obvious study results. For future reference, these also don’t work. At all. Ever.

Or any number of other non-scientific, bogus methods for separating the gullible and desperate from their money.

Of course occasionally the bogus treatment coincides with the very real remission or recovery of a patient. The fact is, this has nothing to do with the treatment, and everything to do with the patient.

This is part of the reason why the recovery rate for most diseases is almost the same inside the waiting room as it is after you see the doctor. When you factor in the hypochondriacs,  the people who were just reaching the end of a curable sickness before seeing the doctor, and those who are sick with, say, a virus, it’s obvious that some things are going to get better basically at random. The treatment of those things isn’t going to affect much chronologically, and if the treatment happens at just the right time, it’s gonna look like the treatment (whatever it is) is responsible. It isn’t.

But when it IS something curable, the cure rates go drastically up depending on whether the person who is infected has seen a (western style, science based, medical) doctor. By drastically I mean almost a 100% improvement. I guess random chance isn’t exactly good medicine, now is it?

Now there’s one argument left about naturopathy, homeopathy, et. al. – and that is the placebo effect. Many people have felt the placebo effect at one point in their lives. Hell, if the placebo effect were guaranteed in even 70% of the cases, I might say that these treatments were somewhat valid.

But since we can’t rely on the placebo effect to treat even 70% of the people, and we can’t expect the effects to last after being informed of the placebo’s nature, I’m thinking that it’s pretty much a wash.

Besides, if I’m gonna take a placebo, it’s gonna be a plain old sugar-pill, thank you very much, not some freaky new-age metaphysical bullshit that puts hundreds or thousands of my dollars in the hands of con men.

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