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Medical quackery can threaten both your health and pocketbook. Learn how to spot it.
Article by Victor J. Stenger, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Physics and Astronomy, University of Hawaii and Adjunct Professor of Philosophy, University of Colorado, USA [pdf]
Article by the late Barry L. Beyerstein, PhD, formerly Associate Professor, Dept. of Psychology, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C., Canada. (Academic Medicine) [NOTE: This article has now become subscription-only, however nearly all of the original text is contained in this archive link to Barry Beyerstein's Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine article entitled 'Social and Judgmental Biases That Make Inert Treatments Seem To Work' .]
Critical reviews of alternative medicine and links on quackery and health fraud
Contends that the Absurd in medicine has been aided and legitimised through economic, social, and political currents: "Postmodernism has promoted breakdown and reorientation of structured forms of thought. One of its guises is language distortion — the redefinition and use of words to fit personal views. For example, alternative and complementary have been substituted for quackery, dubious and implausible. Another is the invention of integrative medicine — designed to leapfrog methods into practice without need for proof." Wallace Sampson and Kimball Atwood IV (Medical Journal of Australia)
"The need for regulation has the potential for creating a potentially serious conflict. Informing patients about the best scientific evidence will, in some cases, mean telling them about the lack of scientifically proven benefit and the presence of potential risks, yet this would be overtly contrary to the personal (financial) interests, beliefs and emotional attitudes of CAM practitioners." Edzard Ernst, Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies [FACT]
"To my mind, there is no question: holism has always been at the heart of any type of good medicine, and only suboptimal healthcare is not holistic. To claim otherwise could even be offensive to many conventional practitioners." Edzard Ernst, Focus on Alternative and Complementary Medicine [FACT]
Commentary by Edzard Ernst, MD, PhD, FRCP, (Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
"…there is no such thing as a placebo responder (someone who always benefits from placebo) and a placebo non-responder (someone who never benefits from it). This unreliability makes it problematic to count on placebo effects in clinical practice." Edzard Ernst (Arthritis Research Campaign feature)
Article by the late Barry L. Beyerstein, PhD, formerly Associate Professor, Dept. of Psychology, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C., Canada [pdf]
Truth, falsehood and evidence: investigations of dubious and dishonest science including complementary and alternative medicine. Website of Professor David Colquhoun, Research Professor of Pharmacology, University College London.
A website explaining the dangers of uncritical thinking. It summarises and links to hundreds of reports of people who have been killed, injured, or swindled by faulty beliefs. More than 60 topics are covered including acupuncture, applied kinesiology, autism denial, chiropractic, cranio-sacral therapy, detoxification, ear candling, energy medicine, herbal remedies, holistic medicine, homeopathy, iridology, psychic surgery, quackery, vaccine denial, vitamin megadoses, faith healing, and attachment therapy.
"What is at stake here is our right, I would argue our duty, to speak out against misleading claims and dangerous concepts. We should find ways of protecting ourselves against such enemies of reason." Professor Edzard Ernst in a letter to the British Medical Journal (18th October 2008) [pdf]
"If the term [integrated medicine] truly means the integration in routine healthcare of those CAM interventions that are proven by the accepted standards of medicine, it becomes redundant because it is synonymous with EBM." Professor Edzard Ernst, Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies [FACT] (June 2008)