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Clinical trials Complementary and alternative medicine Medicine Quackery

The persistence of memory

The must-read post of the day comes from Mark Crislip of the (in)famous Quackcast and was posted over at the Science-Based Medicine blog. It’s about two things primarily: How evidence and science result in physicians practicing science- and evidence-based medicine to change their practice and why that seems disturbing to those who don’t understand how science works and would prefer unchanging certainty and how this changeability of practice based on the lastest evidence is in marked contrast to most so called “complementary and alternative” medicine, the vast majority of which is based on prescientific ideas. (Homeopathy, for instance hasn’t really changed since Samuel Hahnemann’s time.) He also discusses why even conventional physicians have a hard time letting go of treatments that have been shown by science not to be effective. (Damn him! I was going to do a post on that latter topic next week!)

In any case, it’s well worth a read.

While you’re at it, so is a two-part article by Dr. Kimball Atwood IV, who describes why misleading language is the “common currency of ‘CAM’ characterizations.” (Part I; Part II.)

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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