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Eby's ColdCure Zinc Acetate Lozenges

I have upset a quack. (8/5/2010)
Imagine that! Someone who has a cure for the common cold is taking time out from polishing his Nobel Prize to complain to me for not taking him seriously. I assume he has a Nobel, because he has solved one of the great mysteries of medicine and found a cure for the disease that probably causes more lost productivity in the work place than any other. The Holy Grail of medicine - the cure for the cold.

From: "George Eby"
Subject: Eby's ColdCure
Date: Mon, 03 May 2010 05:24:57 -0500

Hi Peter,

Hi George, I like your informality.

You list my site as a fraud. It is not a fraud. See the site and check out the links for evidence. The entire site is devoted to displaying the evidence that I am right. This means independent collaboration of my findings. Perhaps the best medical journal article to show you that I am right is found at:

That's the best medical journal article? Something written by you and published in Medical Hypotheses? Please don't ask me to read the worst article. Oh, by the way, my weeping eyes and shortness of breath aren't symptoms of a cold - I'm just laughing so hard at you. Medical Hypotheses! I have to stop or I'll need Ventolin.

I expect you to immediately remove my site from your list or face a lawsuit.

You expect too much.

George Eby, site owner

And, of course -

Persistence is a virtue (30/6/2012)
Some people just never give up. I like that. Here is an email I received this week.

From: "George Eby"
Subject: Eby's ColdCure vindicated
Date: Sat, 30 Jun 2012 11:38:31 -0500


Please go to Eby’s ColdCure and look at the left-hand column. Especially go down the column until you get to Feb. 15, 2011 Cochrane Review article on zinc lozenges and colds and Cochrane Review plus my feedback See page 41.

You will see that major scientists and major review authorities side with me. However, it is not as simple as they state.

I am not a crack pot as you say!

George Eby

I've had correspondence with Mr Eby before about his claim that he can cure the common cold so I was intrigued that the Cochrane Collaboration might have found something to back him up. He famously published a paper in Medical Hypotheses, a journal with a reputation that suggests its editors almost certainly subscribe to the idea expressed in this Cectic cartoon:

Mr Eby kindly provided a link to the Cochrane paper, where I was able to see this comment on page 41 (where he told me to look):

For the search engines:

Characteristics of excluded studies

Eby 1984
The trial was rated of poor methodological quality. A higher incidence of side effects and complaints in the zinc group may have reduced compliance with treatment (no information was provided on whether compliance with treatment was assessed). Intention-to-treat analyses were not conducted; analyses were only conducted on a subset of those originally enrolled in the trial. The trial relied on subjective assessment of symptoms by subjects. Inclusion criteria were not adequately addressed and therefore there may have been potential for selection bias to occur. In addition, no information was provided on how allocation to treatment groups was concealed, the power of the study was not stated and viral studies were not conducted 

While the paper suggested that there might be some small amount of evidence of benefit from zinc supplements (some colds went away after seven days), Mr Eby is drawing a very long bow indeed by suggesting that he has been vindicated. Will this stop him selling zinc lozenges to cure colds? Of course not.

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