About the Article

Published in: Vol. 5, No. 4
Category: Analyses

About the Author

William T. Jarvis

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White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy: A Membership Directory

 
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Stated Goals and Grants of the Office of Alternative Medicine/NCCAM

 

“Alternative” Medicine Survey Distortions: An Early Critique

HAVING TRACKED NONSCIENTIFIC HEALTH CARE for more than 20 years as part of an epidemiological analysis of quackery in the United States and Canada, I believe that the study by Eisenberg et al. provided useful data on the utilization of nonmedical services by the public. Unfortunately, the media are using it to send an erroneous message that an alleged increase in “alternative” medicine use is prompted by a growing disaffection with mainstream health care, with the implication that health care is too scientific and would be better (and cheaper) if it were less so. Indications are that medicine needs to be more scientific1,2 and medical discipline needs to be strengthened.3

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