I was exicited to see Prof Ernst’s talk at the Jamhouse on Monday. I’m not ashamed to say that he’s one of my heros. I read Trick or Treatment many years ago and it was a revalation. I’d always suspected that homopathy was bunk, but people said I was closed minded. He is a hero to those of us that argue with those that are wrong on the internet. He was the first professor of complementary medicine in the UK at the university of Exeter, initially he was keen to find out about homopathic medication, but after gathering the evidence he changed his mind and concluded that a lot of it was dangerous, and is now one of the lead campaginers against alternative medicine.
After Prof Ernst graduated as a medical doctor he was impressed with the treatment patients recieved at the homopathetic hospital where he first worked, and when he later became an academic he set out to examine the evidence for the effectiveness of these treatments. Some of them were found to be effective, and some, such as homopathy were not. This is not a popular message with homopaths, some of whom set out to discredit him at every turn. A sponsor of one study of a weight loss aid threatened to sue him if he published the results. After he revealed misinformation in an report by Prince Charles Foundation into intergrated health he was again threatened with being sued.
His passion for the cause, and his refusal to be silenced is stunning, and admirable. But that’s not the most admireable thing about Prof Ernst, to me the most admirable thing is that he looked at the evidence and changed his mind. He had a lot to loose, he was a chair of complementary medicine, a lot of his friends were homopaths. But he looked at the evidence and changed his mind, then stood up for what he believed in. For that reason he should be a hero to us all.
The Jam House were suprised and delighted by Edzard Ernst
Asleep?….. Not a chance. … I wanted the show to go on! I could have sat there for another three hours and listened to this brilliant man speak. … I believe that I speak for everyone in the room when I say that we were all fascinated and impressed. After our applause and his departure from the stage, the room was buzzing with amicable debate and enthusiasm. If you get the chance to hear this man speak, grab it immediately.
Here is the video of the talk:
Sorry about the sound quality the Jam House is a massive venue.