If its too good to be true...

then its probably not true...

An old adage, but a useful one.

Those of us with long term health conditions learn to manage them (or chose not to) in our own ways. 

Most of the time this management is learnt behaviour, if we do X then Y hurts, of if I don't take tablet A then B goes potty and I end up in hospital.

Some is received knowledge - we're told that  if we do something, or not do something, then something bad will happen.  We mainly get this knowledge from our care teams, but also from the support charities, our peers with the same or similar conditions, cultural references etc etc etc

And then there's the scary people...

They've got magic woo woo beans.

A short cut.

An easy cure...

They don't answer the sort of questions you'd normally ask your Doctor... Does this work?  How many others use it? What are the side effects?

They will misdirect and shy away from the detail, they will offer you insights that "others" won't have, they'll attempt to make anyone asking sensible questions look foolish, accuse them of ignorance, and even when all else has failed attempt to seduce the questioner with appeals to their ego or even their wallet.

Somewhere along the way they say that modern science won't fund their magic beans because there's no money in it, they'll quote impressive sounding things that a Google search doesn't quite pan out as being a impressive as billed.

If challenged too hard they'll hide behind "it was only a joke" and then go back to their main thrust, ignoring the requests for evidence, ignoring the "put up or shut up".

Now they may not be charlatans, they may genuinely believe what they are saying... That doesn't make it any safer, any more sensible. 

Please if someone says they have a magic wand check with your team of medical professionals, the medical profession isn't perfect but it's better than someone who can't answer the questions....

And its not just me saying this - two links, one cancer related and one heart related, questions to ask...



If you want to be able to spot the bean-sellers then there's a couple of really accessible books out there - Ben Goldacre's Bad Medicine and Stephen Law's Believing Bullshit.  The second one in particular provides insights into all of the tricks of the "trade" in convincing someone of something irrational.

At the end of the day life is choice, but please make your choices best on the evidence you want to have - if you believe someone elses word then fine, if you want a bit more then ask, if you're like me you'll have your cardiologists, diabetic liaison nurses and GPs reaching for their books - before you've entered the room.

To finish a quote from own of my favourite films, I've used it before but it fits so often - Life is pain, anyone who tells you different is trying to sell you something...

Cynical, moi?  Yes... But not inappropriately!




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