Weighing up the alternative

by Ted Nye ,  Otago Daily Times | 2008-06-21

If responsibility for the production of this book could be laid at the door of any one person, it would probably be HRH the Prince of Wales - the writers virtually say as much.

It would appear that HRH is sympathetic to the claims of Complementary/Alternative Medicine (CAM) but, quite reasonably, says that as millions of pounds are spent annually on the product it would be good to know if people were getting value for money.

The writers rise to the challenge in this careful review of the many claims made for CAM, either in the forms of diagnostic gadgetry or physical procedures, such as acupuncture and chiropractic, or medicinals, such as homoeopathy or herbal remedies.

The authors point out that the claims of any method of treatment can, and should, be tested using rigorously designed trials, placebo-controlled and double-blinded so that neither patient nor therapist know which treatment is being used until the completion of the trial.

New, mainstream, pharmaceuticals must go through the process before being approved by the drug regulating agencies.

Promoters of snake-oil for almost any common condition you could name bypass the process.



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