Is integrative medicine “strong medicine”? I thought I could trust the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) to recommend the best medicine available. My family practice residency followed their philosophy. By learning what the AAFP taught I was able to pass the board certification exam with flying colors. Their flagship… read more "American Academy of Family Physicians Supports “Integrative Medicine”"
Evenity for Osteoporosis
Hip and wrist fractures are a common result of osteoporosis. A new drug, Evenity, reduces the risk of vertebral fractures, but it doesn’t significantly reduce the risk of non-vertebral fractures. Other drugs do. Atypical fractures of the femur can occur with bisphosphonate drugs, but the benefits exceed the risk. Evenity… read more "Evenity for Osteoporosis"
Functional Medicine: Pseudoscientific Silliness
Language keeps changing. We used to call questionable remedies “folk medicine,” “fringe medicine,” or “quackery.” In the 1970s, the term “alternative medicine” was coined, an umbrella term for all treatments that were not supported by good enough evidence to have earned them a place in mainstream medicine. Then came “complementary… read more "Functional Medicine: Pseudoscientific Silliness"
Politics, Science, and Health
Carl Sagan said, “We live in a society absolutely dependent on science and technology and yet have cleverly arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. That’s a clear prescription for disaster.” The beliefs that politicians hold affect legislation on public health, medical research, and medical care. If… read more "Politics, Science, and Health"
Evidence: “It Worked for My Aunt Tillie” Is Not Enough
Evidence means different things to different people. Even quacks and their victims claim to have evidence that their treatments work. Sometimes that evidence consists only of testimonials from satisfied customers or from personal experience. “I tried X and I got better.” “I know Y works because it cured my Aunt… read more "Evidence: “It Worked for My Aunt Tillie” Is Not Enough"
AAFP CME Program Succumbs to “Integrative Medicine”
For many years I have been using Continuing Medical Education (CME) programs offered by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). The FP Essentials program consists of a monthly monograph with a post-test that can be submitted electronically for 5 hours of CME credit. Over a 9-year cycle, a complete… read more "AAFP CME Program Succumbs to “Integrative Medicine”"
Andrew Weil/AAFP Article Rejected by Slate
I was asked to write an article for Slate, the on-line magazine, about Andrew Weil’s selection as the keynote speaker for the 2012 AAFP annual scientific assembly. The science and health editor, Laura Helmuth, was initially enthusiastic about what I wrote, but eventually decided not to publish it. Here is… read more "Andrew Weil/AAFP Article Rejected by Slate"
Andrew Weil’s Seasonal Supplements
Dr. Andrew Weil has teamed with Innate Response Formulas to develop a series of seminars and a line of products for “seasonally appropriate integrative strategies.” Seasonal Therapeutics is a system for adjusting diet supplement recommendations according to the season of the year. To kick off the program, a one-day seminar… read more "Andrew Weil’s Seasonal Supplements"
Integrative Medicine is the Butt of a Sokal-Type Hoax
In 1996, Alan Sokal got a bogus paper published in the journal Social Text. It was a parody full of meaningless statements in the jargon of postmodern philosophy and cultural studies. The editors couldn’t tell the difference between Sokal’s nonsense and the usual articles they publish. Now a British professor… read more "Integrative Medicine is the Butt of a Sokal-Type Hoax"
Edzard Ernst Does It Again
Publishing one excellent book is an accomplishment; publishing two in one year is a truly outstanding achievement. In 2008 Edzard Ernst and Simon Singh published a landmark book Trick or Treatment: The Undeniable Facts About Alternative Medicine. I reviewed it on this blog last summer. It is particularly important since… read more "Edzard Ernst Does It Again"