The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health recently released its latest 5 year strategic plan. It’s basically the same as the last strategic plan, but with one new addition. It’s not really a new addition, but it signals a resurrection of an old trope about “integrating” quackery with science-based medicine.
This week, JAMA Internal Medicine published a clinical trial purporting to find that acupuncture helps stable angina. Here’s a hint: It doesn’t. It’s a bait-and-switch study that used “electroacupuncture” instead of acupuncture with poor blinding and lack of consideration of prior plausibility.
Two prominent advocates of “integrative medicine” bemoan the “practice drift” they see in their specialty, in which doctors drift farther and farther away from their training. What this means is (although it would never be admitted) is that these “integrative medicine” doctors are drifting further and further into quackery. Too bad this is a feature, not a bug.
Over the last 25 years, medical academia has increasingly embraced “integrative medicine” (i.e., the “integration” of pseudoscience and quackery with medicine). However, it has had help normalizing this new situation. That help comes from the press. Here’s yet another example.
For a quarter of a century, quackery and pseudoscience have been integrated into medicine through the construct of “integrative medicine” and into academic medicine in the form of quackademic medicine. Unfortunately, there has been little pushback. That’s why it’s good to see a recent article in The Surgeon decrying this phenomenon. We need more of this.