Tag: complementary and alternative medicine

Tai Chi versus physical therapy for osteoarthritis of the knee: How CAM “rebranding” works

“Complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM), now more frequently referred to as “integrative medicine” by its proponents, consists of a hodge-podge of largely unrelated treatments that range from seemingly reasonable (e.g., diet and exercise) to pure quackery (e.g., acupuncture, reiki and other “energy medicine”) that CAM proponents are trying furiously to “integrate” as coequals into science-based medicine. They do this because they have...

/ May 23, 2016

CAM use and chemotherapy: A negative correlation

"Complementary and alternative medicine" (CAM) is represented as safe because it is administered alongside conventional medicine, despite the fact that for the vast majority of CAM modalities there is little or no evidence for efficacy. However, as a new study shows, cancer patients who use CAM tend to be more likely to refuse conventional cancer treatment.

/ May 22, 2016

A Harris Poll on “Alternative Medicine”

Mark Twain popularized the phrase, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and polls and surveys.” (He may have said “statistics” at the end, but I think this version works as well.) A new Harris Poll on “alternative medicine” nicely demonstrates some of the problems with polls. The biggest problem is how you frame the questions. You can dramatically affect...

/ May 11, 2016

April Fool Cannot Surpass SCAM

It’s April Fools’ day in the US of A. One of the internet traditions is to come up with a story that is weird or unlikely, but not so weird or unlikely that it is not believable, in order to fool people that the story is real. I gave it the old SBM try, I really did, but I couldn’t do it....

/ April 1, 2016

More drugs, more supplements, and potentially more problems

Early in my career I was fortunate to be offered a role as a hospital pharmacist, working on an inpatient ward along with physicians, nurses, and a number of other health professionals. My responsibilities included conducting a detailed medication review with each newly admitted patient. We would sit together, often with family members, going through what was sometimes a literal garbage bag...

/ March 24, 2016

The hijacking of evidence-based medicine

A hero of the blog, John Ioannidis, worries that evidence-based medicine has been hijacked, and when Ioannidis says something we at SBM listen. But has EBM been "hijacked"?

/ March 21, 2016

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