complementary and alternative medicine

Respectful Insolence

Tag archives for complementary and alternative medicine

It should come as a surprise to no one that I’m not exactly a fan of “integrative oncology”—or integrative medicine, or “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM), or whatever its proponents want to call it these days. After all, I’ve spent nearly ten years writing this blog and nearly seven years running another blog dedicated to…

Evolutionary selection on alternative medicine

(Orac note: I was away at Skepticon over the weekend, where I gave a talk entitled The Central Dogma of Alternative Medicine. (When the talk’s up on YouTube, I’ll provide a link, of course.) Because of all the fun and travel delays I didn’t get a chance to turn my slides and notes into a…

Clinical trials of magic

I’ll partially apologize here. The reason is that I said I’d be back to business dishing out the Insolence as usual, be it in the form of my usual 2,000 word gems, or slightly shorter, or a lot longer. However, fate intervened. First, there were new developments in the Frank Arguello threat machine. Go back…

One of the most annoying phenomena when it comes to “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM), which its advocates are more and more insistent on calling “integrative medicine” is how little the average doctor cares that pseudoscience is infiltrating medicine. The reason, of course, is that CAM advocates don’t like the “alternative” part of the term…

After having returned from TAM, I was pumped up by how much interest was shown in the case of Stanislaw Burzynski. More importantly, I was heartened to learn while I was there that the Texas Medical Board had submitted an amended complaint against him containing 202 pages worth of charges. Sure, the descriptions of the…

Over the years, the criticism of “evidence-based medicine” (EBM) that I have repeated here and that I and others have repeated at my not-so-super-secret other blog is that its levels of evidence relegate basic science considerations to the lowest level evidence and elevate randomized clinical trial evidence to the highest rung, in essence fetishizing it…

A finger in the dike isn’t enough

Every so often I wonder what the status is regarding the infiltration of pseudoscience into medicine. It’s something I’ve been writing about on a regular basis for nine years now, a phenomenon known as “quackademic medicine.” It’s simultaneously a depressing and energizing topic, energizing because it’s something I’m passionate about, but depressing because at times…

If there’s one thing that I write that I don’t feel I repeat too much (although some might disagree), it’s that, unlike other centers and institutes at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there is not, and never was, a compelling scientific justification for the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) to exist…

Practitioners of “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) have a love-hate relationship with randomized clinical trials (RCTs). Actually, it’s mostly hate, but they do crave the validation that only randomized clinical trials can provide within the paradigm of evidence-based medicine (EBM). Yes, I intentionally said EBM, rather than science-based medicine (SBM), because, as I’ve described so…

While I’ve been all tied up paying attention to the developments in the Stanislaw Burzynski case, it figures that President Obama would go and do something like nominating the next Surgeon General. Normally, this is not such a big deal, because there really hasn’t been a Surgeon General who has really been particularly well-known or…

I was doing my usual browsing of the web yesterday in search of topics for today’s post when I came across an excellent article by a colleague and friend of mine, Dr. Rachael Dunlop, who nailed it in a post entitled Anti-vaccination activists should not be given a say in the media. In the article,…

For a long time, going back almost to the beginning of this blog eight and a half years ago, I’ve referred to the “bait and switch” of alternative medicine. What I mean by that is the manner in which advocates of alternative medicine—or, as they like to call it these days, “complementary and alternative medicine”…

R.I.P., Seán Ó’Laighin

This will be an uncharacteristically short (for Orac) post. A couple of months ago, I wrote about the sad story of a young man from Ireland named Seán Ó’Laighin diagnosed with an inoperable brainstem glioma at age 19. Even more sadly, this young man heard about the Burzynski Clinic in Houston and believed the claims…

Thanks to a winter storm that dumped a heapin’ helpin’ of heavy wet snow on us last night, we lost power before this post even got going. However, I did have a bit of time this morning to finish it up as a quickie (by my standards) before my laptop battery indicator started expressing its…

Epigenetics. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. I realize I overuse that little joke, but I can’t help but think that virtually every time I see advocates of so-called “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) or, as it’s known more commonly now, “integrative medicine” discussing epigenetics.…

CAM practitioners versus preventive medicine

If there’s one claim that practitioners of “holistic” medicine frequently make, it’s that “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) or “integrative medicine” or whatever the term du jour for the combining of quackery with science-based medicine is these days is allegedly so much better than “conventional” or “allopathic” medicine (or whatever disparaging term “holistic practitioners” prefer)…

Regular readers probably know that I’m into more than just science, skepticism, and promoting science-based medicine (SBM). (If they’re regular readers of my other, not-so-super-secret other project, they might also realize that they’ve seen this post before elsewhere. I had to stay out late for a work-related event and decided to tart it up and…

“Holistic.” How often do we hear that word bandied about by practitioners of “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) or, as it’s increasingly called, “integrative medicine” (IM)? Lots. The reason is that CAM/IM practitioners seem to think they own the word. They’ve so utterly co-opted it that it has become meaningless, in the process perverting it.…

Another year, another Breast Cancer Awareness Month. While most people who have either been touched by breast cancer or who have a professional interest in it, the significance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month is that it is a time, well, to increase awareness and to promote breast cancer research. There is another side to Breast…

Since I seem to be on a roll the last few days discussing cancer quackery, I thought I’d just go with it at least one more day. Frequently, when I get on these rolls laying down the Insolence, both Respectful and not-so-Respectful, over antivaccine quackery I start whining about how I need to change topics,…

One of the consistent themes I’ve maintained on this blog over the years is to combat in my own small way in my own small corner of the Internet, the influx into medical academia of medicine based not on science, but on prescientific notions of disease, vitalism, and magic, such as homeopathy (which is sympathetic…

Note: Parts of this post have appeared elsewhere, but not in this form. If there’s one aspect of so-called “alternative medicine” and “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) is that its practitioners tout as being a huge advantage over what they often refer to sneeringly as “conventional” or “scientific” medicine is that — or so its…

If there is one aspect of “complementary and alternative” medicine (CAM) that can puzzle advocates of science-based medicine, it’s why, given how nonsensical much of it is given that some of it actually goes against the laws of physics (think homeopathy or distance healing), CAM is so popular. Obviously one reason is that there are…

Has it really been that long? More than two years ago, I wrote a post entitled Death by Alternative Medicine: Who’s to Blame? The topic of the post was a case report that I had heard while visiting the tumor board of an affiliate of my former cancer center describing a young woman who had…

Advocates of so-called “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) frequently make the claim that they are the victims of a “double standard,” in which (or so they claim) they are subjected to harsher standards than what they often refer to as “conventional” or “orthodox” medicine, usually because, don’t you know, big pharma controls everything and rigs…