Fraudulent, harmful, or at best useless pharmaceutical and therapeutic approaches

developed outside science-based medicine have boomed in recent years, especially due to

the commercialisation of cyberspace. The latter has played a fundamental role in the rise

of false ‘health experts’, and in the creation of filter bubbles and echo chambers that have

contributed to the formation of highly polarised debates on non-science-based health

practices—online as well as offline.

By adopting a multidisciplinary approach, this edited book brings together

contributions of international academics and practitioners from criminology, digital

sociology, health psychology, medicine, law, physics, and journalism, where they critically

analyse different types of non-science-based health approaches. With this volume, we aim

to reconcile different scientific understandings of these practices, synthesising a variety

of empirical, theoretical and interpretative approaches, and exploring the challenges,

implications and potential remedies to the spread of dangerous and misleading health


This edited book will offer some food for thought not only to students and academics

in the social sciences, health psychology and medicine among other disciplines, but also

to medical practitioners, science journalists, debunkers, policy makers and the general

public, as they might all benefit from a greater awareness and critical knowledge of the

harms caused by non-scientific health practices.


chapter 1|6 pages


ByAnita Lavorgna, Anna Di Ronco

chapter 2|17 pages

Towards a better criminological understanding of harmful alternative health practices

A provider typology
ByAnita Lavorgna, Heather Horsburgh

chapter 3|14 pages

Science denial

Psychological processes underlying denial of science-based medical practices
BySara Prot, Craig A. Anderson

chapter 4|15 pages

Understanding the demand for illicit lifestyle medicines online

An analysis of the risk perception of consumers
ByRosa Koenraadt

chapter 5|16 pages

'First do no harm'

Exploring non-evidence-based practices within the Ukrainian health sector
ByAnna Markovska, Ganna Isayeva, Sergyi Ostropolets

chapter 6|16 pages

'Don't trust the experts!'

Analysing the use of populist rhetoric in the anti-vaxxers discourse in Italy
ByEster Massa

chapter 7|15 pages

Quantum physics and the modern trends in pseudoscience

ByEnrico Gazzola

chapter 8|16 pages

Who are the experts?

Examining the online promotion of misleading and harmful nutrition information
ByHeather Horsburgh, David Barron

chapter 9|17 pages

Activism against medicine on social media

Untangling the #novax protest in Italy on Twitter
ByAnna Di Ronco, James Allen-Robertson

chapter 10|14 pages

Traditional herbal medicine and the challenges of pharmacovigilance

ByNayeli Urquiza-Haas, Emilie Cloatre

chapter 11|15 pages

Framing of CAM-adjacent health scams in the UK media

An interdisciplinary perspective
ByAnita Lavorgna, Felicity L. Bishop

chapter 12|15 pages

Dossier Hamer

The role of investigative journalism in exposing pseudomedicine
ByIlario D’Amato

chapter 13|4 pages

Concluding thoughts

ByAnita Lavorgna, Anna Di Ronco