Colic Study Reporting Flawed: Hippie Remedies Work.

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I was most disheartened when I read in my morning paper (you remember those, they come on newsprint?) that alternative treatments don’t work for colic

Being who I am (ubergeek), I set out to read the actual study.  Here’s the link and here’s a direct quote from the abstract: “Fifteen randomized clinical trials met the inclusion criteria and were included. Thirteen studies were placebo controlled. Eight were of good methodological quality. Eleven trials indicated a significant result in favor of complementary and alternative medicines. However, none of these randomized clinical trials were without flaws.”

WAIT!  Did you just read what I did?  How did that get translated by the bloggers  into:  Hippie Cures Won’t Hush Crying Babies?  Well, the real press is reporting that Folk Remedies for Colic Don’t Work, all generated by an AP article out of Chicago.  The writer for that article read the comments by Ernst and used them as a basis rather than the facts of the abstract.  To be fair, “Home remedies mostly work but we need more data” won’t sell papers. 

If you want some pretty negative reviews of alternative medicine, Ernst is your man.  Maybe he doesn’t like that his first name is Edzard, or maybe it’s because he really hates alternative medicine.  Again and again he’ll come back with positive data, and try to trash it in his commentary.  He’s written a book against alternative medicine, for goodness sake.  He’s not an objective reviewer.  So citing his opinion about alternative medicine for colic as the definitive conclusion is like asking your grumpy Uncle Sal if it’s going to be sunny for your picnic.  He’ll look out at a cloudless sky, rub his knee, and tell you its going to rain.  You’re not going to get an objective review of the information. 

I’ve looked through the information and I posted it on under What Do I Treat?  The shorthand is that prebiotics aren’t great, probiotics might be, and diet and lifestyle do make a difference. 

In other news (which won’t be trumpeted internationally) researchers in Houston may have isolated the bacteria most often responsible for colic.  Which would be why alternative medicine’s probiotics (good bugs) are helpful and prebiotics (food for good bugs but which bad bugs can eat too) are not. 


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