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.
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Canadian Quackery Watch - Hot Topics
COMET Biomagnetics -
The following is a complaint made to Health Canada, the Advertising Standards Council, the FTC, the Competition Bureau and others. The essence of the complaint is that the company and its sales representatives make serious unsubstantiated health claims for its products.
of your Comet Tail
The local operation is run by Pat or Gail.
Hours of operation - 9-5 M-F
Parent company's web site is at: www.cometcorp.com
Domain Name: COMETCORP.COM
Administrative Contact, Technical Contact, Billing Contact:
Esterman, Franz (FE215) franz@TLPDESIGN.COM
370 Steeles Avenue East
(905)886-1740 (FAX) (905)886-0767
Record last updated on 18-Oct-2000.
Record expires on 01-Nov-2002.
Record created on 31-Oct-1997.
Database last updated on 15-Feb-2001 02:07:04 EST.
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