Tag: complementary and alternative medicine

Is it ethical to sell complementary and alternative medicine?

Complementary and alternative medicine may be legal to sell - but is it ethical to sell?

/ February 11, 2016

The Fog of Medicine

I often get called on to be a diagnostician. The referring doctor is uncertain what is going on in the patient, often a fever of unknown origin, and they call me to help figure it out. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. Making the correct diagnosis is not easy, even after 35 years. The classic phrase is the fog of war, but...

/ January 22, 2016

Is “harnessing the power of placebo” worthwhile to treat anything?

We frequently write about placebo effects here on Science-Based Medicine. The reason is simple. They are an important topic in medicine and, at least as importantly, understanding placebo effects is critical to understanding the exaggerated claims of advocates of “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM), now more frequently called “integrative medicine” (i.e., integrating pseudoscience with science). Over the years, I (and, of course,...

/ January 11, 2016

Guess who pioneered chemoprevention through diet?

This is an expansion of a post I did over on the Society for Science-Based Medicine blog about this time last year. The original post, which got far more traffic than is usual for the SFSBM, is a good example of how science works and the good that it can do. The hard work of real science illustrated here serves as a...

/ December 24, 2015

On “integrative medicine” and walking and chewing gum at the same time

Evidence matters. Science matters. However, when advocates of "integrating" quackery into medicine via the vehicle of "integrative medicine" invoke weak science and poor quality evidence in conventional medicine in response to criticism, what they are really doing is deflecting attention away from their quackery. More importantly, advocates of science-based medicine are capable of walking and chewing gum at the same time. We...

/ November 16, 2015

Here be Dragons: Caring for Children in a Dangerous Sea of sCAM

As a pediatrician working in a relatively sCAM-inclined region, it is not uncommon to find myself taking care of patients who are also being followed by so-called alternative medicine practitioners. This often creates a major obstacle to providing appropriate care and establishing an atmosphere of mutual trust in the provider-patient/parent relationship. It usually makes me feel like I’m battling invisible serpents in...

/ September 11, 2015

Medical Theater: Vaccines and Ebola

And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant, Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms. Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel And shining morning face, creeping like snail Unwillingly to school. And then the lover, Sighing...

/ August 21, 2015

We Should Abandon the Concept of “Alternative Medicine”

In a recent editorial for the New York Times, Aaron E. Carroll argues, “Labels Like ‘Alternative Medicine’ Don’t Matter. The Science Does.” I agree with this headline thesis, but the details of his argument ironically show the harm that the so-called CAM (complementary and alternative medicine) movement has done. Carroll starts out well, essentially pointing out that the division between “conventional” and...

/ August 12, 2015

Answering Cancer Quackery: The Sophisticated Approach to True Believers

I got an e-mail with a link to a video featuring “Dr.” Leonard Coldwell, a naturopath who has been characterized on RationalWiki as a scammer and all-round mountebank. Here are just a few examples of his claims in that video: Every cancer can be cured in 2-16 weeks. The second you are alkaline, the cancer already stops. A pH of 7.36 is...

/ June 30, 2015

NCCIH and the true evolution of integrative medicine

There can be no doubt that, when it comes to medicine, The Atlantic has an enormous blind spot. Under the guise of being seemingly “skeptical,” the magazine has, over the last few years, published some truly atrocious articles about medicine. I first noticed this during the H1N1 pandemic, when The Atlantic published an article lionizing flu vaccine “skeptic” Tom Jefferson, who, unfortunately,...

/ June 29, 2015