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.
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.
Last week, I commented on the inability of the Society for Integrative Oncology to define what integrative oncology actually is. This week, I note the proliferation of the quackery of integrative oncology in places that should be rigorously science-based, namely NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers.
Like many advocates of science-based medicine, I was dismayed at the $200 million gift given by Susan and Henry Samueli to the University of California, Irvine in order to vastly expand its integrative medicine offerings. John Weeks, a noted promoter of integrative medicine, was not pleased at how the mainstream press covered this gift, and in particular he was most displeased that skeptics were heavily quoted in the reporting. In response, he launched a spittle-flecked, spelling-challenged broadside against his perceived enemies, full of misinformation and logical fallacies. Naturally, Orac can't resist applying some not-so-Respectful Insolence to it.
Last week, UC-Irvine announced a $200 million gift from Susan and Henry Samueli to create a new integrative medicine center. Since then, UC-Irvine has tried to scrub any evidence of homeopathy use on its website. It didn't work. Unfortunately, thanks to the Samuelis, homeopathy and other pseudoscience are deeply embedded in UC-Irvine, which has become the new epitome of quackademic medicine.
Yesterday, the University of California, Irvine announced that Susan and Henry Samueli had donated $200 million to establish integrative medicine quackery there. Is this the shape of medicine to come?
For whatever reason, acupuncturists and acupuncture believers think that acupuncture can be useful in emergency situations. They even do studies purporting to show that. This is yet another of such a clinical trial, albeit larger than usual. Guess what? It doesn't really show what it's advertised to show.
When it comes to expansion and infiltrating medicine, “integrative medicine” has frequently seemed like the Terminator: utterly relentless. Recent setbacks at major integrative medicine “Crown Jewels” resulting in their closure cast that narrative in doubt. However, I never forget that after its seeming destruction, the Terminator always comes back.
As quackery in the form of “integrative medicine” has increasingly been “integrated” into medicine, medical journals are starting to notice and succumb to the temptation to decrease their skepticism. The BMJ, unfortunately, is the latest to do so. It won’t be the last.
The legal world's foremost defender of quacks issues a warning that the ACCME will stop accrediting continuing medical education courses that teach quackery credulously. Gee, he says that as though it would be a bad thing.