List of diagnoses characterized as pseudoscience

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There are many proposed diseases and diagnoses that are rejected by orthodox medicine consensus and are associated with pseudoscience.

Definition[edit]

Pseudoscientific diseases are not defined using objective criteria. They cannot achieve, and perhaps do not seek, medical recognition. Physics Professor Roy Coker claims that pseudoscience rejects empirical methodology.[1]

Other conditions may be rejected or contested by orthodox medicine, but are not necessarily associated with pseudoscience. Diagnostic criteria for some of these conditions may be vague, over-inclusive, or otherwise ill-defined. Although the evidence for the disease may be contested or lacking, however, the justification for these diagnoses is nevertheless empirical and therefore amenable to scientific investigation, at least in theory.

Examples of conditions that are not necessarily pseudoscientific include:

List[edit]

  • Adrenal fatigue or hypoadrenia is a pseudoscientific diagnosis described as a state in which the adrenal glands are exhausted and unable to produce adequate quantities of hormones, primarily the glucocorticoid cortisol, due to chronic stress or infections.[4] Adrenal fatigue should not be confused with a number of actual forms of adrenal dysfunction such as adrenal insufficiency or Addison's disease.[5] The term "adrenal fatigue", which was invented in 1998 by James Wilson, a chiropractor,[6] may be applied to a collection of mostly nonspecific symptoms.[4] There is no scientific evidence supporting the concept of adrenal fatigue and it is not recognized as a diagnosis by any scientific or medical community.[4][5] A systematic review found no evidence for the term adrenal fatigue, confirming the consensus among endocrinological societies that it is a myth.[7]
  • Autistic enterocolitis is a nonexistent medical condition proposed in 1998 by now-discredited British gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield, who suggested a link between a number of common clinical symptoms and signs which he contended were distinctive to autism.[8] The existence of such an enterocolitis has been dismissed by experts as having "not been established".[9] Wakefield's fraudulent report, which was retracted in 2010, suppressed negative findings and used inadequate controls.[10][11] Multiple attempts to replicate his results have been unsuccessful.[12] Reviews in the medical literature have found no link between autism and bowel disease.[13][14][15]
  • Candida hypersensitivity is the spuriously claimed chronic yeast infections responsible for many common disorders and non-specific symptoms, such as fatigue, weight gain, constipation, dizziness, muscle and joint pain, and asthma.[16][17] The notion has been strongly disabused by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.[18]
  • Chronic Lyme disease is a generally rejected diagnosis that encompasses "a broad array of illnesses or symptom complexes for which there is no reproducible or convincing scientific evidence of any relationship to Borrelia burgdorferi infection."[19] This is different from Lyme Disease, which is not pseudoscientific. Despite numerous studies, there is no clinical evidence that "chronic" Lyme Disease is caused by a persistent infection.[20] It is distinct from post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, a set of lingering symptoms which may persist after successful treatment of infection with Lyme spirochetes. The symptoms of "chronic Lyme" are generic and non-specific "symptoms of life".[21]
  • Electromagnetic hypersensitivity is a reported sensitivity to electric and magnetic fields or electromagnetic radiation of various frequencies at exposure levels well below established safety standards. Symptoms are inconsistent, but can include headache, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, as well as similar non-specific indications.[22] Provocation studies find that the discomfort of sufferers is unrelated to hidden sources of radiation,[23] and "no scientific basis currently exists for a connection between EHS and exposure to [electromagnetic fields]."[24][25]
  • Leaky gut syndrome is an alleged condition caused by the passage of harmful substances outward through the gut wall. Alternative medicine proponents claim it is the cause of many conditions including multiple sclerosis and autism, a claim which has been called pseudoscientific.[26] According to the UK National Health Service, the theory is vague and unproven.[27] Some skeptics and scientists say that the marketing of treatments for leaky gut syndrome is either misguided or an instance of deliberate health fraud.[27]
  • Morgellons is a self-diagnosed, unexplained skin condition in which individuals have sores that they believe contain some kind of fibers.[28][29][30] Morgellons is poorly characterized but the general medical consensus is that it is a form of delusional parasitosis.[31] An attempt to link Morgellons to the cause of Lyme disease has been attacked by Steven Salzberg as "dangerous pseudoscience".[32]
  • Reward deficiency syndrome[38][39] is a term has been applied to a wide variety of addictive, obsessive and compulsive behaviors including substance and process addictions, personality and spectrum disorders.[40][41] There is no consistent evidence to validate any such syndrome.[42] "Reward deficiency syndrome" is not a medically recognized disorder:[43] The diagnostic validity of RDS has not been recognized by the American Psychiatric Association in its diagnostic manual, the DSM.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Coker, Rory. "Distinguishing Science from Pseudoscience". utexas.edu. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  2. ^ Smith, R. (2002). "In search of "non-disease"". BMJ. 324 (7342): 883–885. doi:10.1136/bmj.324.7342.883. ISSN 0959-8138. PMC 1122831. PMID 11950739.
  3. ^ Berger, M Y; Gieteling, M J; Benninga, M A (2007). "Chronic abdominal pain in children". BMJ. 334 (7601): 997–1002. doi:10.1136/bmj.39189.465718.BE. ISSN 0959-8138. PMC 1867894. PMID 17494020.
  4. ^ a b c Shah R, Greenberger PA (2012). "Unproved and controversial methods and theories in allergy-immunology". Allergy Asthma Proc. 33 Suppl 1 (3): S100–2. doi:10.2500/aap.2012.33.3562. PMID 22794702. Quote: "There is no scientific basis for the existence of this disorder and no conclusive method for diagnosis."
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