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.
I’ve documented the infiltration of quackery into academic medicine through the “integration” of mystical and prescientific treatment modalities into medicine. Here, I look at a seemingly small incident, a veritable pebble in the quackademic avalanche. Is it too late for the pebbles to vote?
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.
More and more, alternative medicine practitioners are offering unproven, almost certainly ineffective, and potentially dangerous stem cell therapies. How are they doing it?
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.
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.
"Integrating" naturopathic care with real medicine started out largely in academic medical centers. Unfortunately, the cancer of integrative oncology appears to be metastasizing to community hospitals.
Earlier this month, the Society for Integrative Oncology published an article attempting to define what “integrative oncology” is. The definition, when it isn’t totally vague, ignores the pseudoscience at the heart of integrative oncology and medicine.
Ever since the $200 million gift by Susan and Henry Samueli to UC-Irvine, I've been thinking about the "integration" of quackery into medicine through integrative medicine. The way advocates of quackademic medicine are going to make this "integration" really happen is to start with the medical schools.