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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.
"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]
"Research into complementary medicines relies on donations from enlightened philanthropists. Let's hope we can attract more of them." Edzard Ernst (The Guardian)
"The terms efficacy and effectiveness are frequently used in the medical literature. Seemingly similar in meaning, they express distinctly different concepts." Max H. Pittler and Adrian R. White, Associate Editors and Research Fellows, University of Exeter, UK, Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies [FACT]
An analysis of what 'proved to work' means. Edzard Ernst, MD, PhD, FRCP, FRCPEd, Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies [FACT]
Includes criticism of media reports on alternative medicine, and also looks at alternative medicine in relation to Christian religious beliefs. Article by Dónal P. O'Mathúna, PhD, fellow of The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity and Professor of Bioethics and Chemistry at Mount Carmel College of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio, USA.
"A demonstrably favorable risk-free profile is an essential requirement for CM (Complementary Medicine), as it is for any other form of medicine. Without it, issues like regulation of and training in CM degrade to mere window-dressing exercises." Commentary by Edzard Ernst, MD, PhD, FRCP (Diabetes Care)
"The biggest problem with so-called complementary and alternative medicine — CAM (a misleading name for it is neither complementary nor a legitimate alternative) is that its proponents overtly seek to create a double standard to medicine…..I think the worst can be avoided, however, if the public is made acutely aware of the true nature of CAM promotion…" Article by Steven Novella, MD (NeuroLogica Blog)
"Claims that conventional medicine is not widely based on evidence should be rejected, as should logically fallacious arguments based on such claims. The evidence fails to support them." R. Imrie and D. W. Ramey, Complementary Therapies in Medicine [Reprinted by Veterinarywatch.]
Reported uses of complementary and alternative medicine by 38 named celebrities. The therapies include the Atkins diet, homeopathy, acupuncture, gem therapy, dowsing, Ayurveda, reflexology, magnet therapy, the Eskimo diet, healing, breathing therapy, yoga, herbalism, the Alexander technique, Klamath Lake algae, cupping, ginseng, and bioenergy. Edzard Ernst and Max H. Pittler (The Medical Journal of Australia)
"The assumption we should really mistrust is that satisfaction with CAM services is the same as a demonstration of efficacy….. The danger of integrative medicine lies in creating a smoke-screen behind which dubious practices are pushed into routine healthcare." Edzard Ernst, Md, PhD, FRCP, (The Journal of Family Medicine) [pdf]
Professor Edzard Ernst addresses eight common arguments against testing the efficacy of therapeutic approaches in CAM. (Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine)
Arguably the 'holistic approach' is fragmented and the 'conventional approach' can prove to be more holistic than the naïve holism displayed by some complementary practitioners." Edzard Ernst, (British Journal of General Practice)
Experiments and thoughts on quackery, health beliefs and pseudoscience. Also provides help in judging whether information sources are trustworthy by counting words in web pages that quacks tend to use. The more such words, the more quackery is suspected.
"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)