"[W]hy is this stuff always with us? Well, for one thing, a great many [pseudo-science beliefs] address real human needs that are not being met by our society. There are unsatisfied medical needs, spiritual needs, and needs for community. ... And so it is reasonable for people to poke around and try on for size various belief systems, to see if they help."

—Carl Sagan, "The Burden of Skepticism," The Skeptical Inquirer magazine

A "cure" worse than the disease

People who reject the proven science of vaccination will sometimes turn to pseudo-science in the false hope that it will protect them from disease. Some of the "treatments" they have used include:

  • Vitamins (D, B12, etc.)
  • Supplements (including enzymes)
  • Gluten-free diets
  • Hyperbaric chambers
  • Neuro-feedback machines
  • Enemas
  • Infrared saunas
  • Glutathione drips
  • Chelation therapy
  • Lupron

None of these can protect you from disease the way a vaccine does. Some can even be harmful. And all will discourage a patient from seeking real medical help—sometimes, until it's too late.

Radium water: a quack cure of the past
Radium water: a quack cure of the pastCourtesy Science Museum of Minnesota

Quackery has always been with us

For as long as there has been illness, there has been bad medical advice to go with it: leeches and elixirs, magnets and electricity, radio and radium. Some were developed in good faith by doctors without our modern knowledge, but much was sold to an unsuspecting public by frauds.

And the quackery continues—many fraudulent products are still on the market today, and new ones are caught in your spam filter every day.

To learn more about medical quackery, see the case to your [right / left]. There's a larger display in The Collections Gallery. Or visit the website of the now-defunct Museum of Questionable Medical Devices.