Thursday 6 May 2010


I learnt something new today.

I do most days, mostly from nurses, but on this occasion it was after our monthly team CPD (continuing professional development) meeting. We'd rattled through a discussion of recent papers and how they should affect our practice, we noted the bias of one review and chewed over how we were doing with NICE guidance. We discussed depot olanzapine's evidence of what the pharmaceutical company report as a "post injection syndrome" and how everyone else calls it "a coma" and how this seemed bad.

It was noted that I brought a number of abstracts from British and US journals but nursing colleagues didn't. Yet they're very interested in the 10 minute discussion of each paper, grabbing the headline messages and learning points, with their "care pathways" having changed for the better over time through considering new research and reviewing what we do. A number of articles and papers have been published by us over the last year. If nurses embrace new research (in a balanced and critical way) then adopt the good bits, why aren't they sharing lots of papers at our monthly meeting?

It's all down to what's valued. Consultant Psychiatrists have time set aside each week for CPD. Nurses do not. Nurses are told what to adopt and articulate how they're not given time to provide even basic nursing care. I wonder how many nurses have time for CPD in their week? Do any have time to browse web sites, muse over abstracts, download papers and read through NICE, DoH and other advice, guidance and direction? I know of no nurses who do.

So for a hour a month we do it ourselves, rattling through a couple papers (no more than 10 minutes on each, just to distill what the issue was, what the paper shows us, the weaknesses of the paper and how we then could use it in our work) and any new guidance and obstacles to good practice.

At least this means we've a fighting chance of spotting quackery that's increasingly peddled in more mainstream literature. Like this, which I learnt of today. Live Blood Analysis (LBA). You take a spot of patients blood, both you and the patient just look at it on a big screen for 2 hours, you see stuff move and decide what this means. Such as, "Look at those moving, they must be alive, you have parasites in your blood, take this herbal medication that's expensive but look at your blood, it's so worth it."

A Dr Rubin looked at this and found no papers on LBA in the scientific literature. None. Yet there were 2.5 million hits on Google. Interesting. Someone's advertising and making a lot of money from this LBA thingy. So, does LBA work? Is the scientific community elitist and simply ignoring a helpful diagnostic intervention? Actually, no. It's pseudoscience and doesn't work.

That's a helpful paper. I've learnt today of a new entity, Live Blood Analysis, and learnt of rigorous review of LBA which found it to be so much stuff and nonsense. Which is worth knowing.

Should I charitably tag this post as "Complimentary Therapy" or should I generate a new tag of "Fraud" I wonder . . .


Eileen said...

This isn't a dig at you in particular - but why do so many people refer to alternative therapies as "complimentary"? The word is "complementary" - complimentary they are not, they cost a fortune.

The Shrink said...

Ah, a very sound point and totally an error on my part, sorry!