ethics · narrative medicine · news · pharm

Finally, the Well blog, that bastion of doctor-bashing, has a pro-allopathic medicine article.

As with all posts on Well, the comments are where the real money’s at.  People share their encounters with physicians that are (usually) related to the topic at hand. Usually these are negative, because complaining is more fun than being supportive.  (I know. I complain a lot.)

Today’s are negative as well, but for once they are pointing out the problems with the quackery of alternative medicine.  Not all alternative medicine is crap (e.g. acupuncture for relief of nausea during chemo, which one of the comments mentions), but as people point out, but when you start to say that you can move energy spheres around, and don’t back it up with a study — I’m sorry, you’ve lost me.  There’s not a lot of difference between a GNC herbalist store and the patent medicines that peddlers sold at the beginning of the 20th century.

The article itself talks about the problem with celebrity endorsement of alternative medicine. For sure, celebrities are very visible, and people are sheep (including myself; I pretty much want to beEmma Thompson when I grow up) but taking a single person’s anecdotal experience over the recommendation of someone who has studied a subject for 15 years seems … idiotic. I would be like me telling someone that I won the lottery by framing the card upside down and dancing a jig — so you should too!

Emma Thompson approves of my plan to take over her life

(I probably just pissed some people off by implying that alternative medicine is doohickey. But here’s the thing: medications and procedures proposed by Western medicine have to be carefully studied to see if they are safe and effective. This process often takes years, especially to study long-term effects. Alternative medicine people, bring me your evidence. Then we’ll talk.)

Actually, I’m just glad — especially after the disability studies talk — to see that there’s still support for the type of medicine I’m learning: evidence-based, pro-patient, let’s-not-kill-people medicine.

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