Honest Universe

Are local quacks getting away with health fraud?

Mark Hanna Dec 15, 2016

A decades old loophole in New Zealand’s patient protection legislation is letting quacks get away with what could amount to health fraud, right under the regulator’s nose. In New Zealand, patients are protected from “health fraud scams” by the Medicines Act. This legislation, which is enforced by Medsafe, only allows products making strong health claims to be sold … Read More

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Can the Greens ditch their anti-science baggage?

Mark Hanna Dec 15, 2016

Steffan Browning will leave his role as an MP next year, which is a great opportunity for the Green Party to ditch their anti-science baggage. I have a love-hate relationship with the Green Party. I love their social policies, but as someone who dedicates a lot of my time to fighting pseudoscience I have a hard time justifying support for … Read More

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Bad Science Case Study: Dog Bones

Mark Hanna Oct 31, 2016

The New Zealand Herald and Jimbo’s have provided us with an idealised “bad science” case study. The New Zealand Herald article Today, the Herald published an article about a “trial” published by pet food manufacturer Jimbo’s: No bones about bones The trial was intended to evaluate how eating bones affects the dental health of dogs. Thankfully the … Read More

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A Sceptical Guide to DHB Voting

Mark Hanna Sep 30, 2016

I’ve looked into this year’s district health board candidates to help you keep quacks off your DHB this election. Unless you live in Southland, this year you probably get to vote for several spots on your local district health board. With the move to DHBs making decisions about water fluoridation, there’s a danger that some of … Read More

Colloidal Silver Blues

Mark Hanna Jun 16, 2016

Don’t be fooled, colloidal silver sprays and creams won’t benefit your health. In the continuing trend of the New Zealand media advertising ineffective health products as though it’s news, stuff.co.nz has published an article pushing colloidal silver for treating infections and skin conditions. The article quotes a naturopath and sales representative from Skybright Natural Health, a company that … Read More

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$26m for Acupuncture

Mark Hanna May 04, 2016

Last week, ACC’s spending on alternative therapies was in the media spotlight. There were pieces on both TV3’s Story and Stuff asking the question of whether or not this spending is justified. This was prompted by some new information that’s been released by ACC under the Official Information Act, regarding their funding of acupuncture treatments. ACC … Read More

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Misleading claims common among chiropractors

Mark Hanna Apr 01, 2016

Most New Zealand chiropractors make misleading claims. Through my role as the chair of the Society for Science Based Healthcare, I see a lot of misleading health claims in advertisements. Many of them are pretty clearly bogus; I’ve seen claims that drinking “harmonized water” is as good as sunscreen and that bacteria make your … Read More

Misleading claims common among chiropractors

Mark Hanna Apr 01, 2016

Most New Zealand chiropractors make misleading claims. Through my role as the chair of the Society for Science Based Healthcare, I see a lot of misleading health claims in advertisements. Many of them are pretty clearly bogus; I’ve seen claims that drinking “harmonized water” is as good as sunscreen and that bacteria make your … Read More

Are You an Organ Donor?

Mark Hanna Mar 08, 2016

Organ donation is important. When a person dies in a way that leaves them brain dead but their other organs still viable, such as an intracranial haemorrhage in an intensive care unit, their organs can be transplanted to save others’ lives in a way nothing else can. Only a few organs, kidneys for example, can be donated by live donors. Read More

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