Complementary and alternative medicine Medicine Quackery

Can alternative medicine be subjected to scientific scrutiny?

Dr. R. W. asks (and answers) the question, pointing out in detail how:

  1. Promoters of unscientific claims often reject ordinary scientific standards for experimental design and evidence.
  2. Even government funded CAM research is troubled with serious methodologic flaws.
  3. Research on complementary and alternative methods is conducted without regard to biologic plausibility.
  4. The proponents and funders of alternative medicine research do not accept negative results.
  5. Government oversight is biased in favor of complementary and alternative medicine.

He’s right on all points, although he forgot that medical schools are now uncritically promoting non-evidence-based “alternative medicine,” even adding it to the mandatory medical curriculum. Sadly, from my perspective, it may be too late to stem the tide of woo that’s becoming more and more embedded in the American medical system.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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