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US: Your taxes at work, proving alternative medicine doesn’t

July 28, 2012
In press: Can acupuncture cure large unsightly moles?

In press: Can acupuncture cure large unsightly moles?

What’s the worse way to breach medical ethics — acting as a shill for medicine that you know doesn’t work, or taking millions of dollars in government funds to ‘prove’ the bleeding obvious fact that it doesn’t?

Paul Offit’s editorial in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA. 2012;307(17):1803-1804.) goes through the history of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine(NCCAM) and nicely points out that studies funded by NCCAM have failed to prove that complementary or alternative therapies have any more benefit than placebos.

Offit points out how NCCAM spent $374,000 proving lemon and lavender scents do not promote wound healing, $750,000 to prove that prayer does not cure AIDS, or improve recovery from breast reconstruction; $390,000 to find that ancient Indian remedies do not control type 2 diabetes, $700,000 to find that magnets to not treat arthritis or even carpal tunnel syndrome; and $406,000 to show that coffee enemas do not cure pancreatic cancer.

Your Doctor’s Orders

So now we have two sets of freeloaders living off ‘alternative medicine’; those who do nicely out of selling it, and those who do even better out of ‘testing’ it.

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