This is a collection of essays on the topic of Complementary/Alternative Medicine (CAM) written by specialists from a wide range of backgrounds. The editor has given the contributors free rein to express their views. Since they come from a wide variety of angles from extremely anti-CAM to moderately supportive, the book contains widely different perspectives ranging from virulent attacks to thoughtful analyses. At first sight this may seem strange but in practice this book represents the very best of contemporary albeit on the whole skeptical scholarship. It is highly refreshing to find a collection that does not toe a line but instead gives a wide range of pros and cons and includes some new and stimulating ideas.
Autism's False Profits: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure (Hardcover)
Dr. Paul Offit's amazing new book about the history of the anti-vaccine movement and the international brigade of corrupt researchers, ambulance chasing lawyers, politicians and advocacy groups who helped manipulate the parents of those children who were autistic. The anti-vaccine movement has caused significant harm to public health efforts around the world. The publication of this book may signal the beginning of the end to their position. Time will tell whether or not this will stop their insanity and manipulation of science.
Trick or Treatment:
by Simon Singh and Edzard Ernst
The ultimate verdict on alternative medicine.
Welcome to the world of alternative medicine. Prince Charles is a staunch defender and millions of people swear by it; most UK doctors consider it to be little more than superstition and a waste of money. But how do you know which treatments really heal and which are potentially harmful? Now at last you can find out, thanks to the formidable partnership of Professor Edzard Ernst and Simon Singh. Edzard Ernst is the world's first professor of complementary medicine, based at Exeter University, where he has spent over a decade analysing meticulously the evidence for and against alternative therapies.
He is supported in his findings by Simon Singh, the well-known and highly respected science writer of several international bestsellers. Together they have written the definitive book on the subject. It is honest, impartial but hard-hitting, and provides a thorough examination and judgement of more than thirty of the most popular treatments, such as acupuncture, homeopathy, aromatherapy, reflexology, chiropractic and herbal medicine.
In "Trick or Treatment?" the ultimate verdict on alternative medicine is delivered for the first time with clarity, scientific rigour and absolute authority.
Suckers: How Alternative Medicine Makes Fools of Us All
by Rose Shapiro
Suckers reveals how alternative medicine can jeopardize the health of those it claims to treat, leaches resources from treatments of proven efficacy and is largely unaccountable and unregulated. In short, it is an industry that preys on human vulnerability and makes fools of us all.
In “The Cure Within,” her splendid history of mind-body medicine, Anne Harrington tries to explain why we draw connections between emotions and illness, and helps trace how today’s myriad alternative and complementary treatments came to be. A professor and chairman of the history of science department at Harvard, Harrington has produced a book that desperately needed to be written.
Snake Oil Science:
The Truth about Complementary
and Alternative Medicine
by R. Barker Bausell
Millions of people worldwide swear by such therapies as acupuncture, herbal cures, and homeopathic remedies. Indeed, complementary and alternative medicine is embraced by a broad spectrum of society, from ordinary people, to scientists and physicians, to celebrities such as Prince Charles and Oprah Winfrey.
In the tradition of Michael Shermer's Why People Believe Weird Things and Robert Parks's Voodoo Science, Barker Bausell provides an engaging look at the scientific evidence for complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and at the logical, psychological, and physiological pitfalls that lead otherwise intelligent people--including researchers, physicians, and therapists--to endorse these cures.
The book's ultimate goal is to reveal not whether these therapies work--as Bausell explains, most do work, although weakly and temporarily--but whether they work for the reasons their proponents believe. Indeed, as Bausell reveals, it is the placebo effect that accounts for most of the positive results.
He explores this remarkable phenomenon--the biological and chemical evidence for the placebo effect, how it works in the body, and why research on any therapy that does not factor in the placebo effect will inevitably produce false results. By contrast, as Bausell shows in an impressive survey of research from high-quality scientific journals and systematic reviews, studies employing credible placebo controls do not indicate positive effects for CAM therapies over and above those attributable to random chance.
Here is not only an entertaining critique of the strangely zealous world of CAM belief and practice, but it also a first-rate introduction to how to correctly interpret scientific research of any sort. Readers will come away with a solid understanding of good vs. bad research practice and a healthy skepticism of claims about the latest miracle cure, be it St. John's Wort for depression or acupuncture for chronic pain.