May 23, 2006
From the horse's mouth
The BBC reports that The Times of London printed a letter today urging NHS trusts to stop using complementary therapies, signed by 13 representatives including a Nobel prize winner, the president of the Academy of Medical Science and, surprisingly, the first professor of complementary medicine in the UK.
Complementary medicine practitioners have, not surprisingly, responded in a hurt manner - and in doing so, have shown precisely why complementary medicine should not be used:
Terry Cullen, chairman of the British Complementary Medicine Association, said: "It's very frustrating that senior responsible people dismiss complementary medicine for the sole reason that it doesn't have the definitive scientific proof that other drugs have.
"There is so much anecdotal evidence that thousands of people gain benefit from using complementary medicines. We shouldn't dismiss that."
This is why medicines are tested in double-blind trials ; the placebo effect can be strong, and often patients report positive improvements even when they have received nothing other than sugar pills IF they believe they are receiving medicine.
Regarding anecdotal evidence: there are many people who have heard a story from a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend which absolutely confirms, beyond any questionable doubt, the existence of UFO's, the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, and any number of religious miracles, but funnily enough we do not spend large sums of tax-payers' money in supporting these beliefs.
Posted by daen at May 23, 2006 03:51 PM
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