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Complementary and alternative medicine Medicine Quackery

Alternative medicine: I couldn’t have said it better myself

Via Kevin, MD, here’s a piece that almost could have been written by me:

CAM exists in an alternate universe from real medicine. It wants to be legitimate but manages to avoid the responsibilities and liability of real medical practice. As most CAM treats nebulous symptoms with equally nebulous modalities, there is no measurable standard for efficacy of any of the treatments. Acupuncturists, for example, diagnose perturbations of “qi,” a mystical life force which apart from serving as the basis for Star Wars has no physiological equivalent and cannot be measured in any way except through the magical powers of its purveyors and the faith of its believers. I imagine it would be impossible to sue your acupuncturist for a bad outcome. There are no bad outcomes just as there are no good outcomes. It’s all highly subjective. If you’re not really treating a disease, you can get away with this and probably why EMTALA does not apply to CAM.

[…]

The adherents of CAM are educated enough to realize that their beliefs are ridiculous and try to give them the imprimateur of scientific legitimacy, often with shoddily constructed studies. Every major legitimate study on CAM, however, has found very little to substantiate it even though the researching institutions bend over backwards and contort their data to make the best possible case for it. CAM is currently the darling of the medical elites and to say, with confidence, that it’s bunk would be to lose your politically correct credentials.

Egads! This guy’s trying to outdo me. We can’t have that, now, can we?

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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