Science-Based Medicine » Informed Consent and CAM: Truth Not Optional

* note: There is a lot of pseudoscience and quackery being passed off as "traditional" and part of Mexikayotl. These dangerous forms of crank-medicine are now infiltrating legitimate medicine. Please educate yourself and seek proper healthcare services!
In three recent posts, Drs. Novella, Gorski and Atwood took the Bravewell Collaborative to task over a report on its recent survey of U.S. “integrative medicine” centers. As Dr. Novella noted, So what is integrative medicine? When you strip away the rebranding and co-opting of features and treatments of mainstream medicine, you are left with the usual list of pseudoscientific practices that have been trying to insert themselves into mainstream medicine for decades through a series of marketing and propaganda strategies. Bravewell has positioned itself at the forefront of that effort. Among these pseudoscientific practices listed in a chart from the report included by Dr. Gorski in his post were acupuncture, TCM, reiki, therapeutic touch, naturopathy, homeopathy and reflexology.

Dr. Novella continued,

At the end of the report, under the category ‘next steps,’ they write:

‘Providing funding for analysis of these data, which could provide important information about the efficacy of integrative medicine approaches as well as the treatment of chronic health conditions, should be a priority for funding sources and institutions.’

Let me translate that for you, in the context of the whole report: Isn’t it wonderful that integrative medicine methods are being used, now let’s go see if they actually work. If there is anything that defines alternative, complementary, integrative medicine it’s putting practice before evidence. In fact, the evidence is irrelevant to practice. Practice is philosophy-based, not science-based. Evidence is an obstacle, used only for marketing purposes, not for determining which treatments are effective. That is why they keep trying to redefine scientific evidence in medicine. They need science to change to accommodate their treatments, not conform treatments to the science.

And, as Dr. Atwood noted, in response to the claim that the IM practitioner “puts the patient at the center:”

That implies ‘patient-centered care,’ which requires that practitioners provide honest, comprehensive information about the methods in question. IM practitioners are universally dishonest about such matters. They have to be, because otherwise they’d have to tell patients the truth: that the methods are worthless.

Which, in my mind, brings up an interesting legal and ethical issue of consequence to the “integrative physician:” Does an M.D. or D.O prescribing a “CAM” treatment have a legal or ethical duty to disclose scientific implausibility as a part of informed consent process? How about lack of efficacy? My answers are “yes” and “yes.”

FULL ARTICLE Science-Based Medicine » Informed Consent and CAM: Truth Not Optional.

About Kurly Tlapoyawa (1010 Articles)

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