In 2014, the Society for Integrative Oncology first published clinical guidelines for the care of breast cancer patients. Not surprisingly, SIO advocated “integrating” dubious therapies with oncology. Last week, the most influential oncology society, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), endorsed a 2017 update to the SIO guidelines, thus endorsing the “integration” of quackery with oncology and paving the way for insurance coverage. The advance of quackademic medicine in oncology continues apace.
Australian researchers have carried out another randomized clinical trial on acupuncture for in vitro fertilization. Unsurprisingly, it's completely negative. Also unsurprisingly, acupuncturists are not happy and are furiously making excuses.
Yesterday, Orac discussed a widely hyped new scientific finding of a "new organ" known as the interstitium, , in which the Neil Theise and his co-authors suggested that their findings might "explain" acupuncture. Today, Orac realizes that the woo goes much, much deeper. Deepak Chopra, anyone?
Last week, the media were awash with reports of the "interstitium," which was dramatically described as a hitherto undiscovered "organ," a narrative that was definitely a triumph of PR over science that went beyond what even the investigators claimed in their paper. Worse, the investigators themselves even speculated that their discovery could "explain" acupuncture and other kinds of alternative medicine, thus providing an opening for quacks to run wild with their discovery, something I expect to see very soon.
Bee venom acupuncture is a form of apitherapy (treatment with bee products, such as venom, honey, or pollen) in which bee venom is injected along acupuncture points, often by actual bees. It also recently resulted in the death of a woman from anaphylactic shock. Basically, the use of bee venom acupuncture cannot be justified because it has no proven benefits and is potentially deadly.
Quackery has thoroughly infiltrated medical academia in the form of "integrative medicine." So what's worse than Harvard offering an acupuncture course? It might be Duke offering a reflexology and reiki course.
A couple of weeks ago, I was interviewed by the a reporter from the Georgetown student newsletter about its integrative medicine program. It got me to thinking how delusion that one’s work is science-based can lead to collaborations with New Age “quantum” mystics like Deepak Chopra. "Integrative medicine" doctors engaging in what I like to refer to as quackademic medicine all claim to be "evidence-based" or "science-based." The words apparently do not mean what integrative medicine academics think they mean.
The Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health is a group dedicated to promoting "integrative medicine" in medical academia that has, unfortunately, been very successful over the last two decades. Recently, it published a report that promotes acupuncture as a tool to combat the opioid epidemic Let's just put it this way. The ACIMH exaggerates the evidence rather obviously.
If you want yet another piece of evidence that quackademic medicine, where once science-based medical schools embrace quackery, is triumphant, is needed, look no further than a fallacy-filled blog post on the Harvard Health Blog in defense of acupuncture.