None so blind as the BMJ who will not see

A few weeks ago (September 2013) the BMJ updated their patient information for neck pain and I quote “There isn’t much specific research that shows drugs help neck pain, but your doctor may recommend one or more of the following” and then they list painkillers (acetaminophen), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antidepressants and muscle relaxants. Well, guess what, there was NO mention of LLLT.

Of course I wrote to the BMJ, pointing out there are at least 17 RCTs for LLLT on neck pain and a systematic review in the Lancet and added “What kind of a review did your team do that missed LLLT and yet suggests drug therapies that lack evidence?” and the reply was “The patient leaflets are written from reviews of the evidence on treatments compiled by our scientific and clinical teams for the Best Practice and Clinical Evidence products. The treatments to be included are decided upon with advice from clinical experts in the field. I will forward your message to the teams involved in deciding the scope of the Clinical Evidence and Best Practice topics linked to the neck pain patient leaflet, so that they can consider your comments when they next review the scope of the topic

Should I respond and what should I say?

I am a fan of the BMJ. They are not usually a slave to the pharma industry and they are not afraid to confront them or any blinkered “business as usual” physicians so I fully expect LLLT to be in next years guidlines (I shall make sure of it). That is my upbeat comment for this month.

About James Carroll

Founder and CEO at THOR Photomedicine Ltd. About THOR
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7 Responses to None so blind as the BMJ who will not see

  1. Rhona Darcy says:

    I worked much of my career in the health service before training as an acupuncturist and laser therapist. I suspect many of the medical doctors are either jealous or afraid of ‘complementary’ or as they see it alternative medicine. I was treating a patient who had post viral neural neuropathy of the arm and hand with both laser and acupuncture and he improved in both feeling and lessening of pain. But he cancelled his last appointment because his consultant hand specialist told him that the laser could destroy the new nerves! I sent an article to him to forward of a trial with diabetic patients that proved the laser improved severe neuropathy. If I were the patient myself, I would have told the specialist to get lost!!
    It almost sounds as if they don’t want the patient to get better.

  2. Leo R. Boisvert, DC says:

    Go James !

    Hey at least you pointed out to them, in a very objective way, that their search was seriously flawed, hence their leaflets will be. Science ultimately trumps politics, but hang in there sir and thank you for all that you do to increase public and professional awareness of photomedicine.

  3. Steven McMahon says:

    Hi James,
    The seminar was good and very informative. I’d like to find a doctor in Manhattan that has the THOR laser instrument.

  4. Wayne Rutter says:

    Hi James,
    Isn’t the first rule of the ‘hypocritic’ oath we take as doctors is to do no harm to patients. All of those drugs have potential side-effects but laser doesn’t. Maybe the BMJ didnt appreciate the LLLT neck paper being published in The Lancet instead of their rag. Hope you don’t give up.

  5. Dr Horace White says:

    Dear Sir, great to hear that some one with some “clout” has pointed out, the inadequacies and often biases of some Medical Reviews.
    I am a Chiropractor and Acupuncurist, in South Africa, would love to attend, conferences your company offers but with the currency exchange rates it is not even a consideration! However I have wondered would it be possible to receive perhaps on e mail, brief summaries etc of some of the more pertinent advances,new facts, etc on lazer that come out of these conferences?
    I use lazer myself, a 15yr old one, and also teach part time at the Chiropractic College, Durban, DUT, (Durban University of Technology).
    Hoping you may be able to consider this request, or offer another idea or even site on the internet I might use to further my knowledge and hence my students.

    Dr H White.

  6. Dr nitish kamboj says:

    Hi James, nice to hear that someone wants to heal with out medicine. I know a time will come it will be recogonized as the best therapy

  7. Eric Bugna MD says:

    Same problem here in the US. I only hope that it is ignorance since that is temporary. I pray it isn’t due to stupidity since that is permanent. Keep fighting. — Rick

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