Voodoo Medicine: Time To Stop
The world's most celebrated athlete standing on the podium in Rio in honor of receiving yet another gold medal has something important in common with your lazy uncle throwing back a cold one in his Barcalounger. Yes, swimming powerhouse Michael Phelps, purple-spotted from cupping therapy, and your slovenly relative with a beer gut both share a bond -- a weakness in succumbing to the allure of voodoo medicine. Modern-day snake oil salesmen hawking quick cures and TV doctors peddling the latest diet miracle with blatantly ridiculous claims are everywhere on the tube, social media, the supermarket and old-fashioned billboards. Anecdotes and celebrity testimonials have in many cases replaced evidence-based medicine in our popular culture. Diet, nutrition and medical claims are thrown together in an olio of nonsense of false promise and false hope. Problems with Western Medicine Let's pause here a moment. Before ripping further into the obvious drawbacks of voodoo medicine, that is, any medical claims absent substantiating data, let's first emphasize that of course evidence-based medicine (often called western medicine) has its own set of serious problems and significant limitations. Clinical studies can be and have been tainted by pharmaceutical company sponsors or by doctors with financial interests in the outcome; negative data can be buried or manipulated; drugs shown to be safe in small trials can turn out to have significant or even deadly side effects in a broader popula...
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