I am not very optimistic about Victoria’s new Health Minister

Since December 2010, David Davis is Victoria’s new liberal Health Minister. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that he got that position through previous extensive experience in, or enthusiasm for, the health sector. Well, at least not in that part of the health sector, that deals with evidence-based medicine. From the Victorian Parliament’s website I see that he has previously held positions as shadow minister for environment, industry, state development, planning, major projects, small business, manufactoring and exports, environment and climate change, and now Health. That bio alone doesn’t fill me with confidence that Davis is passionate about the Health portfolio. But it gets worse, much worse. You see, David Davis used to be a chiropractor. For 11 years, in private practice from 1985-96, according to the Parliament website.

The thing with chiropractic is, it is woo, humbug, pseudomedicine, and it doesn’t work. It’s all a glorified placebo effect if it works, and potentially disastrous when it goes wrong. Here is how the Chiropractic Association of Australia describe how their techniques are supposed to work :

How Does Chiropractic Work?
Chiropractic is based upon the understanding that good health depends, in part, upon a normally functioning nervous system.
Chiropractic works by helping to restore your own inborn ability to be healthy. When under the proper control of your nervous system, all the cells, tissue, and organs of your body are designed to function well and resist disease and ill health. The chiropractic approach to better health is to locate and help reduce interferences to your natural state of being healthy.
A common interference to the nervous system is the twenty four moving bones of the spinal column. A loss of normal motion or position of these bones can irritate or impair the function of the nervous system. This can disrupt the transmission of controlling nerve impulses.
Chiropractors aim to improve nervous system function primarily through chiropractic adjustments (with particular attention to the spine, skull and pelvis), to help remove any interference that may be impairing normal health.

For anyone who, like me, has actually studied medicine, this adjustment of the spinal column nonsense is obviously just that, total and utter nonsense. The human body is not a mechanical device that you can easily just “realign” by pushing, pressing and knotting here and there, to restore some obscure body tissue harmony. Those bones in your spinal columns don’t move. If they did move, like in case you found yourself flattened by a concrete wall, say, you’d be too unwell to see a chiropractor, trust me on that one. To the first part of that paragraph quoted above, cells, tissues and organs get invaded, infected, damaged, killed, by thermal, chemical or biological agents all the time, and the nervous system plays absolutely no fucking role in any of it, from strep throat to hepatitis to a brain or spinal abscess. It’s a false premise, on which this whole flawed Ponzi scheme of chiropractic “medicine” is based.
Daniel Palmer, a tradesman who posed as a magnetic healer, “discovered” chiropractic in 1895. That tells you all you need to know, really.
The World Chiropractic Alliance, on their website, advises against vaccination of children. That is outright dangerous, and against all evidence. One third of chiropractors in this study said they believed vaccinations cause more disease than they prevent.

So in short, chiropractic is based on flawed assumptions about medicine and anatomy, and a significant subset of chiropractors harbors dangerously unscientific ideas about other areas of science and medicine as well, one example being childhood vaccinations.

The fact that our Health Minister used to be a chiropractor, does not make me overly optimistic about what the next few years will bring for the health politics in Victoria. Surprise me, Mr Davis.

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