A SCIENTIFIC LOOK AT ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Thomas J. Wheeler, Ph.D.
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
University of Louisville School of Medicine
ON-LINE READING FOR JANUARY 3, 2006
OVERVIEW; SCIENCE AND PSEUDOSCIENCE;
HEALTH FRAUD AND QUACKERY
* = required reading for students in the course
Overview and survey
* Barnes, P.M. et al. (2004) “Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Adults: United States, 2002.” CDC Advance Data, No. 343, May 27 [pdf file]
Druss, B.G. and Rosenheck, R.A. (1999) “Association Between Use of Unconventional Therapies and Conventional Medical Services” JAMA 282, 651-656 [abstract]
Barrett, S. (2004) "Be Wary of 'Alternative' Health Methods"
Barrett, S. (2004) “Miniglossary of ‘Alternative’ Methods”
Raso, J. (1998 "Dictionary of Metaphysical Healthcare: Alternative Medicine, Paranormal Healing, and Related Methods" (130-page dictionary describing 1169 methods)
Bandolier, “Complementary and Alternative Therapies”
Vogel, R.A. et al. (2005) “Integrating Complementary Medicine Into Cardiovascular Medicine.”J. Am. Coll. Cardiol. 46, 184-221. pdf file (38 page document) [contains reviews of many methods as applied to cardiovascular medicine]
Berman, J.D. and Straus, S.E. (2004) “Implementing a Research Agenda for Complementary and Alternative Medicine” Annu. Rev. Med. 55, 239-254 [abstract]
United States Senate Special Committee on Aging: Hearing on Swindlers, Hucksters and Snake Oil Salesmen: The Hype and Hope of Marketing Anti-Aging Products to Seniors, Sept. 10, 2001:
• Testimony of Robert Baratz
• Testimony of Timothy Gorski
(critiques of trends in alternative medicine and dietary supplements)
Mooney, C. (2002) “Science Fiction” Washington Monthly, April (“After spending half a billion taxpayer dollars, alternative medicine gurus still can’t prove their methods work...”)
Sampson, W.I. (1998) “The Braid of the ‘Alternative Medicine’ Movement”
Walker, L. (1999) “Mysticism and/or Rigor: Can Science and Alternative Medicine Shake Hands?” 21stC, issue 3.4
Astin, J.A. (1998) "Why Patients Use Alternative Medicine: Results of a National Survey" JAMA 279, 1548-1553 [abstract]
American Academy of Pediatrics (2001) “Counseling Families Who Choose Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Their Child With Chronic Illness or Disability” Pediatrics 107, 598-601 [abstract]
Eisenberg, D.M. et al. (1993) "Unconventional Medicine in the United States: Prevalence, Costs, and Patterns of Use" New Eng. J. Med. 328, 246-252 [abstract] (see critique, next item)
Gorski, T. (1999) “The Eisenberg Data: Flawed and Deceptive” [critique of 1993 study]
Eisenberg, D.M., Davis, R.B., Ettner, S.L. et al. (1998) “Trends in Alternative Medicine Use in the United States, 1990-1997. Results of a Follow-up National Survey” JAMA 280, 1569-1575l [abstract]
Wolsko, P.M., Eisenberg, D.M., Davis, R.B., Ettner, S.L., Phillips, R.S. (2002) “Insurance Coverage, Medical Conditions, and Visits to Alternative Medicine Providers” Arch. Intern. Med. 162, 282-287 [abstract]
Astin, J.A., Pelletier, K.R., Marie, A. and Haskell, W.L. (2000) “Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Elderly Persons: One-Year Analysis of a Blue Shield Medicare Supplement” J. Gerontol. 55A, M4-M9 [abstract]
Overview - sympathetic to alternative methods
Kaptchuk, T.J. and Eisenberg, D.M. (2001) “Varieties of Healing. 1: Medical Pluralism in the United States” Arch. Intern. Med. 135, 189-195 [abstract with link to pdf file of full text]; “Varieties of Healing: 2. A Taxonomy of Unconventional Healing Practices” Arch. Intern. Med. 135, 195-204 [abstract with link to pdf file of full text]
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
NCCAM web site
• “Expanding Horizons of Health Care: Strategic Plan 2005-2009"
• Video Lectures (registration required)
Atwood, K.C. (2003) “The Ongoing Problem with the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine” Skeptical Inquirer, Sept/Oct, 23-29
Chesney, M.A. and Straus, S.E. (2004) “Complementary and Alternative Medicine: the Convergence of Public Interest and Science in the United States” MJA 181, 335-336
Gabriel, B. (2001) “To Teach or Not to Teach: The Role of Alternative Medicine in Medical School Curricula” AAMC Reporter, July
Marcus, D. (2001) “How Should Alternative Medicine Be Taught to Medical Students and Physicians?” Acad. Med. 76, 224-229 [abstract]
Kligler, B. et al. (2004) “Core Competencies in Integrative Medicine for Medical School Curricula: A Proposal” Acad. Med. 79, 521-531 [abstract]
Science and pseudoscience, critical thinking
* Barrett, S. and Herbert, V. (2002) "More Ploys That May Fool You"
* Beyerstein, B. (2003) "Why Bogus Therapies Often Seem to Work"
Lett, J. (1990) “A Field Guide to Critical Thinking” Skeptical Inquirer, Winter
Schwartz, J. and Barrett, S. (2001) “Some Notes on the Nature of Science”
Imrie, R. and Ramey, D.W. (2000) “The Evidence for Evidence-Based Medicine”
Complementary Therapies Med. 8, 123-126 (refutes the myth that only 10-20% of medical procedures are evidence-based)
Coker, R. (2001) “Distinguishing Science and Pseudoscience”
Alcock, J. (2001) “‘Alternative Medicine’ and the Psychology of Belief”
Nahin, R. and Straus, S. (2001) “Research into Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Problems and Potential” BMJ 322, 161-164
Sterne, J.A.C., Egger, M., and Smith, G.D. (2001) “Investigating and Dealing with Publication and Other Biases in Meta-Analysis” BMJ 323, 101-105
Smith, G.L. (1997) "Common Questions About Science and 'Alternative' Health Methods"
Stenger, V.J. "'Postmodern' Attacks on Science and Reality"
Stalker, D.F. (1995) "Evidence and Alternative Medicine" Mt. Sinai J. Med. 62, 132-143 [abstract] [Discusses prior probabilities of hypotheses being correct]
Ioannadis, J.P.A. (2005) “Contradicted and Initially Stronger Effects in Highly Cited Clinical Research” JAMA 294, 218-228 [abstract] [found that in about one-third of highly cited studies showing effectiveness of an intervention, subsequent studies found no effect or weaker effects]
Sense About Science (2005) “I Don’t Know What to Believe...: Making Sense of Science Stories” article with link to pdf file [aimed at the lay person, explaining the peer review process]
Health fraud and quackery - general
Polevoy, T. Healthwatcher site Focus is on developments in Canada, but contains many general articles and links.
Lee, P. The Quack-Files “‘Alternative’ Medicine, Quackery, Health Fraud: The Other Side of the Coin”
Anti-Quackery Ring Contains links to many sites
Kurtzweil, P. (1999) “How to Spot Health Fraud” FDA Consumer 33(6), 22-26
“Top Health Frauds” (based on FDA listing, 1989; updated by S. Barrett, 1999)
Barrett, S. "Quackery: How Should It Be Defined?"
Jarvis, W.T. "How Quackery Harms Cancer Patients"
Jarvis, W.T. and Barrett, S. (2005) "How Quackery Sells"
Barrett, S. (2005) “Promoters of Questionable Methods”
FTC Press Release (June 14, 2001) “‘Operation Cure.All’ Wages New Battle in Ongoing War Against Internet Health Fraud”
Barrett, S. (2003) "Web Site Evaluation Index"
Walji, M. et al. (2004) “Efficacy of Quality Criteria to Identify Potentially Harmful Information: A Cross-sectional Survey of Complementary and Alternative Web Sites” J. Med. Internet Research 6(2), e2
Barrett, S. (2004) "Nonrecommended Periodicals"
Barrett, S. (2004) “Nonrecommended Books”
National Council Against Health Fraud
Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine
American Association for Health Freedom (formerly “American Preventive Medical Association”; promotes alternative methods and "health freedom" legislation)
Barrett, S. (2005) "Questionable Organizations: An Overview"
Barrett, S. (2001) "Strengths and Weaknesses in Our Laws"
Barrett, S. (2001) “Pro-Quackery Legislation”
Cohen, M.H. and Eisenberg, D.M. (2002) “Potential Physician Malpractice Liability Associated with Complementary and Integrative Medical Therapies” Ann. Intern. Med. 136, 596-603[abstract with link to pdf file of full text]
Cohen, M.H. et al. (2005) “Emerging Credentialing Practices, Malpractice Liability Policies, and Guidelines Governing Complementary and Alternative Medical Practices and Dietary Supplement Recommendations” Ann. Intern. Med. 165, 289-295 [abstract]
Cohen, M.H. and Kemper, K.J. (2005) “Complementary Therapies in Pediatrics: A Legal Perspective” Pediatrics 115, 774-780 [abstract]
Adams, K.E., Cohen, M.H., Eisenberg, D. and Jonsen, A.R. (2002) “Ethical Considerations of Complementary and Alternative Medical Therapies in Conventional Medical Settings” Ann. Intern. Med. 137, 660-664 [abstract with link to pdf file of full text]
Miller, F.G., Emanuel, E.J., Rosenstein, D.L. and Straus, S.E. (2004) “Ethical Issues Concerning Research in Complementary and Alternative Medicine” JAMA 291, 599-604[abstract]
Cohen, M.H. et al. (2005) “Pediatric Use of Complementary Therapies: Ethical and Policy Choices” Pediatrics 116, e568