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Shelton, Jay, (Prometheus, 2004) The subtitle of this book should probably be: "Why it Sometimes Seems to Work." This is a detailed explanation of the tenets of homeopathy and its major variants, and how perceptions mask facts. I do not like the author's writing style, and any general text on "alternative medicine" is likely to have an adequate description of homeopathy for most people. However, Shelton provides abundant references, and obscure information such as how long it takes to make any given dilution.
Hurley, Dan, (Broadway Books, 2006) The word "natural" in the title refers to illness and death caused by use of natural products. In the USA, one can put anything in a bottle (without evidence for safety and efficacy, or purity), call it a "dietary supplement," append a vague claim (such as supports immunity) and sell it with impunity. However, the book describes the general problems of using herbs that are not regulated as strictly as pharmaceuticals. For example, an herb (stephania) in Belgium was found to be contaminated with aristolochia in 1993. Aristolochia caused kidney failure, and then kidney cancer, the same problem was found shortly thereafter in the USA.
Paperback version published on 7th May 2009. (See link below for a review of the book.)
Written by R. Barker Bausell (Oxford 2007) For both the scientist and the non-scientist, this book has lots of examples and illustrations, and doesn't burden the reader with occult and arcane statistics. R. Barker Bausell, Ph.D., who served for five years as research director of the University of Maryland's NIH-funded Complementary Medicine Program (now called the Center for Integrated Medicine), bares the absurdities and lack of research support for "complementary and alternative" methods. After stating why "CAM" research should be regarded skeptically, he dissects the published evidence and concludes: "No CAM therapy has a scientifically plausible biochemical mechanism of action over and above those proposed for the placebo effect. Of course, just because there is no rational explanation for why something should benefit a medical condition or reduce a medical symptom doesn't mean that this something can't do so. Unfortunately, the results from high-quality, randomised, placebo-controlled trials and systematic reviews have demonstrated that CAM therapies don't do so, which regretfully leads me to conclude that CAM therapies are nothing more than cleverly packaged placebos. And that is almost all there is to say about the science of CAM."
Written by Simon Singh and Edzard Ernst (Bantam, 2008). In 'Trick or Treatment?', the truth about the efficacy of alternative medicine is rigorously addressed for the first time by the scientist uniquely qualified to do so: Professor Edzard Ernst, the world's first professor of complementary medicine. Writing with him is the respected science writer, Simon Singh, who also brings his considerable scientific knowledge and scrupulous impartiality to this most controversial subject. Together, they present a hard-hitting, groundbreaking examination of more than thirty of the most popular treatments, such as Acupuncture, Homeopathy, Aromatherapy, Reflexology, Chiropractic and Herbal medicines, delivering the ultimate verdict on all of them.
Edited by Edzard Ernst (Societas Imprint Academic, 2008). The scientists writing this book are not 'against' complementary or alternative medicine (CAM), but they are very much 'for' evidence-based medicine and single standards. They aim to counter-balance the many uncritical books on CAM and to stimulate intelligent, well-informed public debate. Topics include: What is CAM? Why is it so popular? Patient choice; Reclaiming compassion; Teaching CAM at university; Research on CAM; CAM in court; Ethics and CAM; Politics and CAM; Homeopathy in context; Concepts of holism in medicine; Placebo, deceit and CAM; Healing but not curing; CAM and the media.
Barrett, S. and W. T. Jarvis, eds. (Prometheus. 1993) This book is the best compendium of print reviews on various aspects of "alternative" medicine (AM) and consumer protection. There are 36 chapters on specific AM topics, fad diagnoses, and individual AM proponents as well as general consumer protection information on issues of health and nutrition. Although The Health Robbers does not cover the latest fads, most of the material remains current. S. Barrett produced a few earlier, less-complete versions of this book so be sure to get the 1993 edition.
For forty-one year old Scott Tatro, owner of a successful excavation business, the summer of 2000 was typically busy until pain and soreness brought him to see a chiropractor, expecting to be back at work the next day. He would never return, instead relegated to a completely immobile position for months due to a brain stem stroke and resultant Locked-in Syndrome that occurred during treatment. His book, Locked In, completely compiled by using a mouth/headstick to type, details the unimaginable difficulties the condition presents and the heroic courage necessary to function at the most minimal level of movement. (January 2010)
Written by Rose Shapiro (2nd edition, published by Vintage on 5th February 2009). 'Suckers' is a calling to account of a social and intellectual fraud; a bracing, funny and popular take on a global delusion. It reveals how alternative medicine can jeopardise the health of those it claims to treat, leaches resources from treatments of proven efficacy and is largely unaccountable and unregulated.
Written by Ludmil A. Chotkowski, M.D., FACP (2001). This book exposes the practice of chiropractic as a false health care practice that has flourished basically unchallenged over the past century. It is written in clearly understandable language providing a well documented body of information for doctors, pharmacists, physical therapists, nurses, and the rest of the health care community — and most of all for all those who would like to know the scientific truth about this practice. Book available to order from this link to Chirobase.