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Trick or Treatment: The Undeniable Facts about Alternative Medicine Hardcover – August 17, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Noted science writer Singh and British professor of complementary medicine Ernst offer a reasoned examination of the research on acupuncture, homeopathy, chiropractic, herbal medicine and other alternative treatments. Singh (Fermat's Last Theorem) and Ernst work hard to be objective, but their conclusion is that these therapies are largely worthless. As they examine the research on various alternative therapies, the authors explore the principles of evidence-based medicine on which their conclusions are based, including clinical trials and the placebo effect; they also explore related ethical issues. The authors report that many patients will improve with any alternative remedy—but no more than those given a placebo. Exceptions exist; some herbal remedies (e.g., St. John's wort, echinacea) can be helpful though not always advisable, and chiropractors can relieve low back pain under certain circumstances. This is a stimulating and informative account that will be indispensable to anyone considering an alternative treatment, though it may not dissuade true believers. 16 illus. (Aug.)
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“Entertaining as well as informative. . . . The examination of evidence is comprehensive, forensic, and for champions of these therapies, damning.”
- Toby Murcott, Nature
“Physicians should recommend the book to their patients, and it will help health practitioners provide patients with sound advice.”
- New England Journal of Medicine --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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The most surprising part is just how much research has been done to test the effectiveness of these therapies. Once it's laid out, the conclusions are pretty compelling.
Probably the most important thing to understand is just how effective placebos can be for certain things - especially pain management.
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