Medical quackery has been in existence since the beginning of humanity. Lack of scientific basis for medical treatments was prevalent when science was in its infancy. In the old days, the lines between quackery, whether intentional or by default, and sound medical treatment was blurry at best. Today, with application of the Scientific Method to clinical medical practice, one can judge the merit of medical treatments more objectively. Nevertheless, quackery, fraud, and unwarranted recommendations are abound in the medical field.
I created a Quackery Index (Q-Index) to grade certain medical practices and recommendations much like the rating of restaurants and hotels in reverse. The higher the Q number, the worse the quackery. This is in a way a Buyers Beware index to alert readers to the quality of medical advice they are getting in the media,
Reshef’s Quackery Index (Q-Index):
QQQQQ- Clearly absurd and/or fraudulent claim without any scientific basis, motivated primarily by profiteering. May be dangerous.
Examples: The HCG diet. Snake oil.
QQQQ– As above, but may have remote scientific relevance that is not applicable to the claim.
Examples: Chiropractic treatment to treat colds. Faith healing. Dental amalgam removal.
QQQ– There is some scientific relation to the claim but it is clearly misinterpreted.
Examples: Chelation therapy. Aromatherapy.
QQ– There is very weak or no scientific support to the claim.
Example: Bio-identical hormones are superior to commercial preparations. Homeopathy. Autism is caused by vaccines. Certain herbal products.
Q– There is weak scientific support for the claim or inadequate clinical support.
Examples: Frozen egg banks. Acupuncture improves fertility.