As many of you who listen to the podcast may already know I suffer from eczema and have done all of my life. Like many children I had dry itchy eczema as a child that was exasperated by hot baths, biological detergents and highly perfumed soaps. In time, as with many babies and toddlers who suffer from this form of eczema, I grew out of it. I would only have recurrences if I came in contact with strong soaps or slept in sheets washed in biological detergents for several nights. As with many sufferers, my triggers can be different from others and no two sufferers are the same.
As inevitable as a new year rolling around is the rash of products, articles, DVDs, “pull out and keep cards”, posters and deals to help us all with one of the most common New Year’s resolutions – losing weight. All media is a-glow with the latest diet, supplement or fitness regime, and with the promise of this is the one that will work.
As a main stay of skeptical interviews the “What made you become a ‘Skeptic’?” is a very relevant question and never really seems to become boring. As has been discussed by many in the community, skepticism is not a natural state of mind. The way in which our brain works is not always rational and I often find myself having to think myself ‘down’ when my mind jumps to easier but more irrational conclusions – be a bump in the night or serendipity. For me it was a journey in which not only was religion an accepted part of life but so were alternative practises around health and general well being.
Fresh off the plane from Manchester, having spent a hectic fun-filled weekend at the QED Conference, some Irish Skeptics did us proud and overdosed on homeopathic Belladonna in Dublin Airport:
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Homeopathy – There’s Nothing In It
The BBC recently reported how love can ease pain. Researchers caused fifteen students to experience small amounts of pain and observed the effect on their brain using an fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) scanner. The test was then repeated while patients looked at photos of their loved ones. The results showed that looking at the photos reduced the students’ perceptions of pain.
Dr Jarred Younger, one of the researchers, said that looking at a photograph of a loved one involved more primitive brain functions and had a similar effect to taking opioid painkillers. [pullquote]Looking at a photograph of a loved one involved more primitive brain functions and had a similar effect to taking opioid painkillers.[/pullquote]
Homeopathy is the number one alternative health product in Europe. In the UK, homeopathic products are available under the NHS. Here in Ireland, despite the popularity of homeopathic products, those who wish to buy them must pay full price. In Ireland, medical hard holders are entitled to prescription drugs free of charge, and those without medical cards can avail of the drug payment scheme which means they will only pay a maximum of €42 per month for prescription drugs. Only drugs that have been shown to have an effect are eligible on the list, and according to the department ‘homeopathic products do not meet these criteria and accordingly, are not eligible for inclusion on the common list’.