COMCEPT publishes its first book

“Não se deixe enganar” – in english “Do not be fooled” – is the first book published by COMCEPT, the Portuguese Skeptics Community. Written as a practical guide on how to survive in the modern world, the book covers such diverse topics as alternative therapies, anti-vax movements, psychics, ideomotor effect, ancient astronauts, conspiracy theories, science in the media, or the concept of post truth, among others.

The authors – Diana Barbosa, João Monteiro, Leonor Abrantes and Marco Filipe – not only criticize pseudoscience, but also analyze what is wrong in the scientific process, pointing solutions to correct it. In the end, to relax, they leave the suggestion of how to play the “Bingo of Pseudoscience”. The reader may find that this is a book which looks to serious subjects with a little of humor.

The book has had a good reception in the Media, and the authors have been interviewed by more than a dozen newspapers, magazines and radio programs.


‘Complementary’ cancer treatment nearly kills man

‘A cancer patient nearly died from cyanide poisoning because of his burning passion for apricot kernel extract. The unidentified man, 67, consumed two teaspoons of the ‘complementary medicine’ each day, in the belief it would keep him in remission. He was also taking three tablets of Novodalin – a commercially made herbal fruit kernel supplement daily for the same reason. But his habit eventually caught up with him, a case study reveals. He was beginning to become starved of oxygen – which is how cyanide kills. Doctors found him to have 25 times above the safe limit of the toxin in his body – an amount that can have serious side effects.’

Reviewing alternative cancer clinics in Germany

David Gorski speaking at TAM 2012. (Brian Engler CC-BY-SA 3.0).

After a recent series of controversies surrouding German cancer clinics, in which so-called Heilpraktiker (alternative therapists such as Klaus Ross who require fewer qualifications than regular physicians) are allowed to perform invasive treatments, American oncologist David Gorski (Orac) of Science-Based Medicine has extensively studied this phenomenon and published his results.

The conclusions are damning: although some ‘legitimate’ experimental drugs (like 3-BP or DCA) that might have promising future applications are being tested in these clinics, ‘German clinics often charge enormous sums of money for treatments that range from the unproven to the dubious to pure quackery’, whilst offering false hope to desperate patients around Europe. He recounts the story of British stomach cancer patient Pauline Gahan, who has put her faith and fortunes (£300,000; some of it raised publicly) in the Hallwang Clinic in Dornstetten.

Keshe foundation claims to heal cancer

Keshe foundations claims to heal cancer in an interview with local newspaper “Itromsø“.

The foundation claims to have made a machine that uses “plasma” to balance the body and therefore cure cancer. The interview was held in a local alternative fair and Keshe foundation had a stand at this fair.

In Norway, such claims are forbidden by law, and norwegian consumer authorities will investigate the foundation.

The people behind the foundation are also associated with the Magrav Power Plasma generator which claims to provide free energy and the norwegian alternative website “nyhetsspeilet”.

One can suspect that the claims are a calculated risk, because the norwegian laws are quite clear regarding such claims, but the penalty is not very severe.

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Physician and pharmacognosist criticize famous Hungarian diet guru

Hungarian physician Dr. Novak and pharmacognosist Dr. Csupor criticize Norbert Schobert in several articles as the famous fitness and diet guru shared a dubious article about how baking soda mixed with lemon might cure cancer. “I always said that the most miraculous things are the simplest ones. Here is the proof” – commented Schobert the article of The portal refers to a one year old Naturalnews article: Baking Soda Plus Lemon- Saves 1000’s Of Lives Each Year. Dr. Novak and Dr. Csupor acknowledges Schobert’s positive works on pushing people towards healthy lifestyle, but warn him that that his one million (!) followers on his business Facebook page will not be able to make distinction on proven and unscientific posts if both appear on the same platform. Schobert did not take the warning and criticism well and started an attack on them on all his media outlets.

The diet guru had another controversial claim already this year, when he advertised that he had a common project with the British Dietetic Association, which was refuted by FDA on their Facebook page.

As the two authors had also posted their criticism on the Hungarian Skeptics public Facebook group (presently 3400 members), new join requests are arriving now every five minutes from both sides of the debate.