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Ideas for Changing the State of Alternative Medicine
Posted: 20 May 2013 09:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Sorry if I came on a bit strong. I spend Waaayyyyyy too much time thinking about this stuff. grin

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Posted: 20 May 2013 10:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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No, no, by all means, don’t censor yourself.  It is good to have input from those who actually know what they are thinking about.

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Posted: 23 May 2013 07:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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mckenzievmd - 19 May 2013 05:04 PM

HERE is a link to an article I wrote for the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, and to a narrated slide deck, in which I talk about the fundamental areas of conflict in the world-views of science-based medicine and CAM. Dry stuff, I suppose, but I think it illustrates why applying science to CAM isn’t sufficient to cause people to discard the chaff even after the wheat has been identified. People simply don’t care that much about what science demonstrates to be true or to actually work when it conflicts with their hopes, values, and personal experiences.

Thank you, McKenzie, this was very informative. I especially appreciated the “Can CAM be EBM? Yes If / No If” section.

I still disagree with the idea that all CAM should be thrown out as unscientific nonsense; I think that there are bits of CAM which should be researched and extracted from the spiritual / energy sets of beliefs. I suppose we’re already moving in that direction, though, as EVERYTHING must be KNOWN!

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Posted: 24 May 2013 09:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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I still disagree with the idea that all CAM should be thrown out as unscientific nonsense; I think that there are bits of CAM which should be researched

I absolutely agree. I’m a pretty strong critic of CAM, but I also suspect there are bits of useful therapy stuck in the morass of pseudoscience that are worth digging out. Herbal remedies, for example, undoubtedly have biologically active compounds which could potentially have real value (and, of course, real risks), we just won’t know what they are until they are properly studies. The resistance to researching CAM comes almost entirely from the CAM proponents, who believe their methods have already been clearly established to work and who see research as, at best, a marketing tool to quiet skeptics and, at worst, a deliberate effort by Big Pharma to quash “natural” therapies.

Of course, there are some CAM methods that have been studies and have failed clearly and consistently such that further research is an unjustified waste of resources (e.g. homeopathy, most applications of chiropractic other than musculoskeletal disorders). And there are others that are pure religion and can’t/shouldn’t be treated like scientific hypotheses at all (e.g. Reiki,“energy medicine” of various sorts). But I agree that there are elements of CAM which are worth investigating. I’m just not sure separating the effective from the nonsense will be achievable given the deep philosophical/epistemological differences between the scientific world view an that informing most CAM approaches.

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Posted: 26 May 2013 08:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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macgyver - 19 May 2013 06:24 PM

I have to second McKenzie’s comments. The few medical doctors I know who promote this sort of thing have no good scientific reasoning to support their position. They claim they are just being open minded but “open minded” in this case really just means ” I think it works so I don’t care what the science says”. When belief trumps reason we are dealing with something that is essentially a religion.

...and I ‘third’ it…

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Posted: 26 May 2013 01:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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mckenzievmd - 20 May 2013 09:34 AM

Sorry if I came on a bit strong. I spend Waaayyyyyy too much time thinking about this stuff. grin

Not too much.  Probably not enough.  I appreciate your posts.

Lois

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Posted: 26 May 2013 01:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Occam. - 18 May 2013 11:37 AM

Nah, experimental is a science related word so it would give “alternative medicine” more cashe.  I suggest pseudo-medicine.  Those areas which have not been researched could stand this title until the research is done.  In most cases where there hasn’t been continuing research, the reason is that most scientists have enough broad experience that they almost intuitively recognize the low probability of successful outcomes.

Occam

How about baloney medicine, for which we could use one of Carl Sagan’s baloney detector kits.

http://users.tpg.com.au/users/tps-seti/baloney.html

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