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Listers Tips – Global News Quack Health FYI

Posted by Don McLenaghen on March 21, 2011

We got a tip from a loyal listener; thanks Dean, about some reports on Calgary’s Global TV website. The one he brought to our attention was on Emotional Healing. The premise of the ‘therapy’ is to activate acupuncture points that ‘release’ energy.

“a mind body technique that focuses on breathing exercises, positive imagery and tapping on 14 acupuncture points while repeating positive affirmation’. The segment is focused on a Dr. Pratt (no I did not make that one up) who believed ancient wisdom combined with modern science explains the success of his supposed treatment. The report makes an appeal to authority by pointing out he is the author of 3 books. He makes a similar claim by stating that it is being used by “prestigious hospitals to treat Post traumatic stress”. The story ends and of course there are no sources or links.

The thing that bothered Dean, and myself, is that this segment was trying to pass itself off as a ‘health FYI’ when it was more of an infomercial for Pratt, his book, his website and his seminars. There was no critical assessment, in fact the ‘reporter’ (if I can stretch the meaning of that world beyond recognition) stated that there were some critics of the claims but that ‘in the brain scans you see changes after treatment’, at least according to Pratt, claims the reporter just parrots as true without providing any peer reviewed studies or other credible collaboration for his claims. The only evidence on hand? Anecdotal evidence is anecdotal from a woman suffering ‘heart break’.

While checking on that article I notice one on the ‘Cell’s phones effects on the brain’ and was stunned at the misleading reporting. The story starts with an intro “It has always been a concern about cellphones; is using them harmful to your health”, then states that the research shows interesting effects. Now, beginning with the line about harm is called priming; instead of being objective about the report, the viewer will now be thinking of it as a potential threat to their health.

The report states that it was the first evidence of influence by cell phone ‘radiation’ on the brain. It then does a weird thing; it states the study head Dr. Volkow, said there was no evidence of health risks but “that she still plans to change how she used her cellphone” then has a clip of her explaining other ways to phone with a wired ear piece of text. She also said that she was a neurotic with regards to this issue. Then after stating that many other experts express they are not concerned…including leading industry manufacturers, it then ends the segment with “but many people remain concerned…this latest finding calls for more research, feeding a concern that shows no sign of letting up”…why are they concerned? Maybe the way lazy or irresponsible media agencies (like Global) report the issue?

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