July 23, 2013

ACTUALLY, THEY SHOULD PUT THEIR FAITH IN PURE PLACEBO:

Paul Offit Takes On Alternative Medicine : An infectious disease expert says people should put their faith in science, not "magic." (RACHEL POMERANCE, July 22, 2013, US News)

What's wrong with Dr. Oz, Deepak Chopra and Andrew Weil? They're health gurus, and, according to infectious disease expert Paul Offit, a guru spells trouble. People should put their faith, and fate, in concrete data, not charisma or any of the myriad other unscientific elements that suffuse the alternative medicine industry, Offit argues in his latest book, "Do You Believe in Magic? The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine."

"There's no such thing as conventional or alternative or complementary or integrative or holistic medicine. There's only medicine that works and medicine that doesn't," writes Offit, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "The best way to sort it out is by carefully evaluating scientific studies." The problem, he says, is that the alternative medicine industry is not federally regulated. So companies don't have to back up the claims of their products.

By his own reasoning, Offit's crusade is formidable. He writes that half of Americans use some kind of alternative medicine, and hospitals employ a range of alternative therapies like supplements, which he argues can do significant harm, especially in excess doses."I can't believe anyone would put a megavitamin in their mouth," he says. "It's frightening."

Unconventional treatments have filled the void left by mainstream medicine, Offit explains, calling his own health care experiences "largely disappointing." (Offit was born with club feet, one of which has caused him unrelenting pain into adulthood despite corrective surgery, and a misdiagnosis of malignant melanoma saddled him with two years of needless worry.) In the wake of human errors, lack of medical resolutions and poor bedside manners, alternative medicine leaves patients with, well, an alternative.

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Posted by at July 23, 2013 5:09 AM
  

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