44 Doctor-Bashing Arguments ...and Their Rebuttals - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 213 Old 04-06-2015, 09:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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44 Doctor-Bashing Arguments ...and Their Rebuttals

Someone linked this to me a couple weeks ago and thought I would share. I see a lot of these arguments being made by some members here in regards to vaccines and other science based medical treatment. It's written by Harriet Hall of ScienceBasedMedicine.

http://www.csicop.org/si/show/defend..._and_rebuttals

What do you guys think of it?

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#2 of 213 Old 04-06-2015, 10:59 AM
 
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Originally Posted by teacozy View Post
Someone linked this to me a couple weeks ago and thought I would share. I see a lot of these arguments being made by some members here in regards to vaccines and other science based medical treatment. It's written by Harriet Hall of ScienceBasedMedicine.

http://www.csicop.org/si/show/defend..._and_rebuttals

What do you guys think of it?
Well, right off the bat I didn't get past the first paragraph, as it was bigoted towards a belief in God. So, what I think of it is that it is more God hate speech.

In general, I have nothing bad to say about physicians. I think it is a very false argument to peddle that people who CHOOSE to avoid doctors unless necessary, and utilize natural methods of healing BEFORE using chemical drugs (which our nation is completely dependent upon, at a skyrocketing cost to health care and quality of life, I might add) "hate doctors".

I love doctors and the gift they have for healing. My OB is one of my closest friends, and my MOST trusted provider. He just helped me, in a partnership, walk through a twin pregnancy and delivery and have an outcome most women pregnant with twins wouldn't believe.

I have had wonderful medical care, and I've had medical care that almost killed me. Really, I'm in a book for my story of making it through

The difference? Education and understanding of health and how the body works. When I was young, I had no problem doing exactly as told with the expectation that doctors never fail, always have my best interests at heart, and would never be too proud to say they don't know or that something non-medical may be beneficial.

When I stopped allowing myself to be treated like an ignorant and naive little girl, because I no longer behaved like one, I found doctors with whom I could PARTNER with.

I also utilize natural practitioners, and my children and my family have extremely rare use for a medical doctor. When we do, we will go, be thankful and be blessed by skilled practitioners of medicine who don't dismiss our input.

So, the article is crap-hate speech and likely full of the usual false assumptions about those who prefer to not go to a doctor for every question, and test and drug available for every ailment.

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‘To someone whose god is science, vaccination makes sense. But to someone whose god is God, it is appalling’ - Dr. Golden.

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#3 of 213 Old 04-06-2015, 11:34 AM
 
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I agree with MFQ.

It's funny that these "skeptics" seem to need to have everyone compartmentalized.

I think that allopathic practioners like the author of that piece will find themselves being left behind and considered dinosaurs. What might shock these "skeptics" is that the cancer hospital and children's hospitals in our region also now provide CAM. I have a friend with MS whose neurologist prescribed Reiki for her and craniosacral therapy for their relative who suffered from migraines. Both people improved with those therapies.

My hope is that eventually all medical clinics will incorporate all these different practices under one roof. That would really be patient-led care!
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#4 of 213 Old 04-06-2015, 11:38 AM
 
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Originally Posted by samaxtics View Post

I think that allopathic practioners like the author of that piece will find themselves being left behind and considered dinosaurs. What might shock these "skeptics" is that the cancer hospital and children's hospitals in our region also now provide CAM. I have a friend with MS whose neurologist prescribed Reiki for her and craniosacral therapy for their relative who suffered from migraines. Both people improved with those therapies.

My hope is that eventually all medical clinics will incorporate all these different practices under one roof. That would really be patient-led care!
Yes, and what to make of Cancer Treatment Centers of America, where complimentary medicine is their foundational cornerstone, and responsible for an individual, personalized and very successful and respectful approach to treatment of malignancies?
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‘To someone whose god is science, vaccination makes sense. But to someone whose god is God, it is appalling’ - Dr. Golden.
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#5 of 213 Old 04-06-2015, 12:16 PM
 
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I was certainly very happy to use allopathic medicine for the broken ankle I suffered in January.

I'm also very happy that the physical therapist I see is alternative oriented and works with me in a way that I find makes sense.

During my healing process I used both conventional and alternative modalities. They hardly ever conflict, in the real world. It isn't either/or.
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#6 of 213 Old 04-06-2015, 12:25 PM
 
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Critics gleefully cite statistics for drug reactions, medical errors, and iatrogenic deaths; their numbers are usually wrong, but even when they are correct, it is irrational to look at those numbers in isolation.
I like this one in light of the 400,000 deaths thread...

quote is from the link in the OP
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#7 of 213 Old 04-06-2015, 12:28 PM
 
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I read some of the article--

It isn't really a defense of doctors. It is a defense of the entire allopathic, drug-based mode of treatment. Which does have some real problems.

One of the things I appreciated about my experience with my ankle treatment was that all of the doctors, nurses and other staff all approved that I was trying to limit my exposure to and use of drugs.
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#8 of 213 Old 04-06-2015, 12:41 PM
 
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I can actually give an example of the dangers of unthinking trust in doctors and authority. When I was young I occasionally visited doctors. I have very mild depression, occasionally, so one of the doctors prescribed valium. I took it as directed for one week, then decided I didn't like the way it made me feel. I've never taken a drug for depression again. Fortunately, I don't really need treatment, because mine is quite mild and easily managed.

But what if I had continued to obediently take Valium as prescribed? http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/ar...-millions.html

This one is a bit less over-the-top http://www.dependency.net/learn/diazepam/

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Once swallowed or injected, diazepam acts very quickly on the body, producing an almost instant feeling of euphoria. Because of the rapid onset of the drug’s effects, diazepam has a high rate of abuse.
I do have an addictive personality, although fortunately for me most of the common choices for addiction don't appeal: cigarettes smell terrible, two or three sips of alcohol and I'm already drunk, pot smoking makes me cough, etc. So I'm hooked on chocolate...

Anyway, to bet back to my point, growing up in a family that distrusts doctors and which taught me to pay attention to feedback from my own mind and body, saved me from ending up hooked on Valium. It did happen to millions of people, most of them women.

One more link http://www.dependency.net/learn/valium/

Problems with medical drugs are nothing new, and the claims of "science" haven't saved people from injury or even death. It isn't a dependable system as it currently operates, and for various reasons the system is getting less, not more dependable.
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#9 of 213 Old 04-06-2015, 12:43 PM
 
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Well, right within the second paragraph, the author is trying to make those who don't immediately opt for conventional medicine each and every time look like a bunch of ignoramuses. That's the first problem right there. Obviously, the author is desperate to dramatize for shock value. Everyone I know who opts for alternative medicine first are intelligent, don't type in caps, misspell words, or present errors in grammar and usage.


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The sport of doctor-bashing involves A LOT OF CAPITALS, miz-speld wurds, egregious errors of grammar and usage, abuse of logic, misrepresenting the facts, rejecting the scientific method, gratuitously insulting individuals rather than grappling with the issues, and so on. If players can find a way to compare doctors to Nazis, they get extra points. They tediously repeat the same false accusations and flawed arguments that have been rebutted ad nauseam.
Secondly, just because people may opt for more alternative methods of treatment, it doesn't mean they "doctor bash" or are completely against conventional medicine. It may mean they just prefer natural treatments. I was considered more mainstream when I was younger, before children, prior to experiencing a load of unwanted effects from conventional medicine. Since I have been able to conduct my own research now that I'm older, I have been able to integrate alternative medicine into my regimen, along with conventional medicine only when necessary. I shy away from conventional medicine/treatments/medications as much as I can because I have experienced side effects from those types of treatments, which led me to a whole new issue that needed treating with another medication, etc. I've seen this occur with others around me as well. It's like a medical merry-go-round that you can never get off of. That's not the route I wanted to be in continuously. I am thankful for CAM because it allows for a wider range of treatments, thus more choices rather than conventional.

I just recently found out I have several cervical herniated discs and was in a lot of pain. My neurologist sent me to PT and prescribed specific medications. I tried the medications and they did nothing to ease the pain, but surely gave me some side effects to go with them; one even awoke me at night with severe chest pain that I thought I was having a heart attack at 38! He then mentioned acupuncture. I haven't tried acupuncture yet, but I have been asking around and heard nothing but good things from more "mainstream" people who have tried it. To hear from my very knowledgeable, more mainstream neurologist that maybe I should try acupuncture, I think that tells me something. I've since ditched the medication, have been treating myself naturally with ice and heat, and will be starting acupuncture soon!

I try to resort to natural medicine as much as I can before resorting to conventional.
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#10 of 213 Old 04-06-2015, 01:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by SilverMoon010 View Post
Well, right within the second paragraph, the author is trying to make those who don't immediately opt for conventional medicine each and every time look like a bunch of ignoramuses. That's the first problem right there. Obviously, the author is desperate to dramatize for shock value. Everyone I know who opts for alternative medicine first are intelligent, don't type in caps, misspell words, or present errors in grammar and usage.
I don't get the sense that the linked post is suggesting that practitioners of conventional medicine always right about everything, or that everyone should immediately do whatever any conventional doctor says.

It seems more directed toward (1) defending against specific arguments against conventional medicine (the merits of which could be discussed individually), and (2) arguing against arguments made in favor of complementary/alternative medicine.

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I don't get the sense that the linked post is suggesting that practitioners of conventional medicine always right about everything, or that everyone should immediately do whatever any conventional doctor says.

It seems more directed toward (1) defending against specific arguments against conventional medicine (the merits of which could be discussed individually), and (2) arguing against arguments made in favor of complementary/alternative medicine.

You are right. The link is not saying conventional medicine is always right, but yet it's bashing those who opt for alternative medicine. Go figure.
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#12 of 213 Old 04-06-2015, 01:15 PM
 
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How can individuals who choose a different path other than conventional be scrutinized, when conventional medicine is known to not be perfect? If a specific modality has not proven to work for you, why would you continue to use that modality? Doctors don't always know best, I agree. Why is it wrong to look into other methods? It's not wrong at all.
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#13 of 213 Old 04-06-2015, 01:39 PM
 
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I liked this statement:

Quote:
treatments have either been proven to work or they haven’t, and that all claims should be held to the same standard and tested by the same scientific methods.
To me it's not important that it's "traditional medicine" or "alternative", it's that its tested for both safety and efficacy, and repetitively.
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#14 of 213 Old 04-06-2015, 02:09 PM
 
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I thought this point was quite entertaining in an article titled "44 Doctor-Bashing Arguments..."

43. Why would so many doctors use CAM and recommend it if it didn’t work?
Medicine is an applied science, and doctors are not scientists. Medical students have to absorb vast amounts of information in a short time; they are unlikely to question their teachers, they don’t have the time to read the experimental evidence for what they are taught, they are not taught how to evaluate research studies, and they are not educated about the flaws of CAM. A lot of MDs know about science but don’t really understand the scientific method, and there are those who understand it but choose to ignore it. There are those who are “shruggies,” who think false claims from CAM don’t matter, and there are those who are too overworked to keep up with evolving knowledge.


It seems like the author has less respect for doctors than the "bashers" he is complaining about....

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#15 of 213 Old 04-06-2015, 02:16 PM
 
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To me it's not important that it's "traditional medicine" or "alternative", it's that its tested for both safety and efficacy, and repetitively.
Good point. What deems conventional medicine/medication safe? If it continues to be on the market, is that enough evidence that it's safe, as long as they continue to "test" it repetitively?

Let's take Chantix for example. They continue to "test" and study it and have all types of issues with it, yet it's still on the market. We should be grateful they are continuing to update us on the terrible side effects? Many individuals who have taken Chantix can claim it's extremely dangerous. But as long as they warn people, it's okay, I guess. Chantix, IMO, should have been off the market long ago. Here's the most recent warning as an example that they continue to study it for safety.


http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/...0M527T20150309

And here is Pfizer wanting the black box removed, claiming their "own studies" don't show an association between the drug and severe psychiatric effects, but can we really trust them, since many who have taken the drug have experienced those very same side effects?

Quote:
Pfizer has asked the FDA to remove the black box, saying its own studies show no association between Chantix and severe psychiatric side effects. In October an FDA advisory committee recommended keeping the black box pending the outcome of an ongoing safety study.
It's OT from vaccines, but since we're talking about safety and conventional medicine, I'm curious as to what is actually used as an indicator for safety when it comes to medication and/or treatment.
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#16 of 213 Old 04-06-2015, 03:27 PM
 
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I liked this statement:



To me it's not important that it's "traditional medicine" or "alternative", it's that its tested for both safety and efficacy, and repetitively.
There are a number of big problems with this.

1) Rare conditions. No way to test for either safety or efficacy on treatments and repetitive tests are also unlikely and sometimes just not possible.

2) Natural variation among human beings. If you take 100 people who all have the same condition, let's say diabetes, you actually have 100 people who vary from each other and whose "diabetes" may have a lot of further variations. No study can overcome this variability and no study (or studies) will be able to tell an individual if a treatment is either safe or effective for that particular person. When you lie down and offer up your body for treatment, you may or may not benefit and no one can do more than tell you the odds, which may not apply to you.

3) An awful lot depends on the skill of the doctor. A doctor who is a careful observer, who can figure out which tests to order, who listens to what the patient has to say and who asks the right questions might get things right. However, our current system of insurance which runs medical practices (alas) penalizes doctors who take time for the individual. This may have a lot to do with the positive results that people experience with alternative medical practitioners. In my experience, they are careful observers, good listeners and they do customize treatment to the individual.
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I think the title is off.

It isn't primarily about rebutting those who doctor bash. It is primarily about rebutting those who make complementary/alternative medicine claims. The two are not mutually exclusive.
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#18 of 213 Old 04-06-2015, 03:40 PM
 
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Meh. I'll jump in with the first one.

Quote:
1. Science doesn’t know everything.
Comedian Dara Ó Briain said it best: “Science knows it doesn’t know everything, otherwise, it’d stop. But just because science doesn’t know everything doesn’t mean you can fill in the gaps with whatever fairy tale most appeals to you.”
Singing from the Frozen song: "Do you wanna build a straw man . . . . ?"

It's true. Science doesn't know everything. So accusations of fairy tale-creating notwithstanding, I have every right to weigh carefully what is known and, if I so choose, exercise the precautionary principle with my health and my family's.

For many of the rest of these, she's confusing science with scientists. The equivocation gets tiring.

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#19 of 213 Old 04-06-2015, 04:04 PM
 
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I'm new here so I hope I'm not jumping in on the bandwagon too quickly or anything but I wanted to add my thoughts as well.

On a personal note this article was very difficult for me to read. And first of all, I still wholeheartedly believe that Number 15 on this list is definitely true. (Their minds are closed.)

I am all for reading someone's perspective and opinion, but to start out an article with insults and antagonizing statements is a poor way to get one's point across. What I would love to see is a decrease in black and white thinking and that it doesn't have to be one or the other.

I loved My Filling Quiver's response. I agree with just about everything you said.

I think it can be a balance. And in my opinion it should be a balance. I go to the doctor and take my kids to the doctor when I feel it's absolutely necessary. Neither of my children have ever had antibiotics. I tend to try other things first (usually of an 'alternative' nature) before I head to the doctor, but that does NOT mean I hate my doctor!

I love my doctor. My doctors have saved my life. I had a gangrenous gall bladder a couple of years ago and I am certainly glad that my doctor was there to remove it for me and to help me heal afterward. Also, I do take thyroid medication. I have tried so many things for my thyroid, but after 17 years of trying different things and seeing what worked - the levothyroxine works best for me. So no, I don't hate my doctor.

There are certain services that doctors offer that I choose not to avail myself of, or avail my children of, but I don't bash them. For example, my doctor wrote a prescription for my daughter for chewable fluoride tablets. I chose not to fill it.

So yeah, it's all about balance. It's too bad that the author of this article is so unaware of how people really feel. I'm sure there are some doctor bashers out there - but that doesn't mean we all are.

Thanks for posting this. I have enjoyed reading everyone's responses.
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You are right. The link is not saying conventional medicine is always right, but yet it's bashing those who opt for alternative medicine. Go figure.
It makes sense to me (not that I am a big fan of "bashing"). The fact that science is wrong sometimes is not a point in favor of opting for alternative medicine, unless there's good reason to believe that alternative medicine is, itself, a good option. Much of the article is devoted to arguing that there are not such good reasons.
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I've spent most of my life in an alternative medicine setting.

My parents didn't take us to see doctors, we didn't get vaccines and we grew up without medical drugs. My mother even went to the extreme length of having me at a Christian Science hospital so she could have a baby without being forcibly anesthetized (this used to be the standard, would you believe?), and I was her only child born without drugs.

Now, this is all anecdotal and it is only one family, but the price we all paid for staying outside of the medical system was...nothing! No one died. No one got seriously ill. My mother avoided at least two operations by insisting on getting second opinions.

There are a lot of risks involved in staying inside of the current medical paradigm.

It really isn't a choice between:

1) Go with the medical system, follow orders, you will be safe and healthy and get treatments that work when you need them and be left in peace when you don't.

2) Go outside the medical system, you have to figure it all out on your own, you'll end up with dire diseases and treatments that are useless and you might even die.

In real life we all have to constantly navigate, asking tough questions, doing independent research and deciding what will work and what won't work for ourselves and our families.

Medical science, as it currently functions, hasn't earned my unlimited trust.

But I am impressed with physical therapists and orthopedic surgeons and one of our local hospitals!
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#22 of 213 Old 04-06-2015, 07:52 PM
 
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OK, I've given it another look. It is a poorly written article.

It first equivocates between science and scientists. But it also uses the erroneous underlying assumption that doctors are somehow scientists. Most are emphatically not because most work full-time in clinical practice. Following (what is hopefully and ideally) science-based protocol does not make one a scientist. In fact, out of sheer necessity, a doctor cannot treat, say, a patient having a heart attack from the standpoint of observation, hypothesis, experimentation, observation, and conclusion. On the contrary, they get out the defib and do what years and years of research have told them to do.

I agree with KM that this is not about other peoples' "doctor-bashing" so much as the author's "CAM-bashing."

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#23 of 213 Old 04-07-2015, 05:04 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Jessica765 View Post
It makes sense to me (not that I am a big fan of "bashing"). The fact that science is wrong sometimes is not a point in favor of opting for alternative medicine, unless there's good reason to believe that alternative medicine is, itself, a good option. Much of the article is devoted to arguing that there are not such good reasons.

What first comes to my mind is depression and psychiatry, referring to mild-to-moderate cases, and conventional medicine in which antidepressants are extremely overused. Conventional medicine practitioners tend to underestimate the impact vitamin deficiencies and nutrition have on conditions such as depression, etc. Why isn't checking vitamin levels a prerequisite to writing a script for antidepressants? Rather than checking vitamin levels, some (not saying all) doctors are happy to just write scripts for a cocktail of antidepressants and have you on your way, whereas you could have easily avoided the unnecessary side effects of those medications if you have just adjusted your vitamin levels to make up for a deficiency if that individual had such.

A study in 2008 argues the point you have made above and have found CAM to be very effective in the treatment of certain mental disorders, depression, anxiety, etc. Certainly, in severe cases, conventional medicine is necessary, but it's surely possible to be avoided in the more mild cases.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2738337/

If someone is using conventional medicine for an injury, illness, or disease, and it is not working for them, and they are suffering unnecessary side effects with treatment that has little to no benefit, is that individual supposed to continue enduring such experiences and pain when there clearly may be a better alternative out there for them? I think that would be silly to continue on with something that is providing little-to-no benefit and an alternative would surely be the best option.
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Originally Posted by SilverMoon010 View Post
What first comes to my mind is depression and psychiatry, referring to mild-to-moderate cases, and conventional medicine in which antidepressants are extremely overused. Conventional medicine practitioners tend to underestimate the impact vitamin deficiencies and nutrition have on conditions such as depression, etc. Why isn't checking vitamin levels a prerequisite to writing a script for antidepressants? Rather than checking vitamin levels, some (not saying all) doctors are happy to just write scripts for a cocktail of antidepressants and have you on your way, whereas you could have easily avoided the unnecessary side effects of those medications if you have just adjusted your vitamin levels to make up for a deficiency if that individual had such.

A study in 2008 argues the point you have made above and have found CAM to be very effective in the treatment of certain mental disorders, depression, anxiety, etc. Certainly, in severe cases, conventional medicine is necessary, but it's surely possible to be avoided in the more mild cases.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2738337/

If someone is using conventional medicine for an injury, illness, or disease, and it is not working for them, and they are suffering unnecessary side effects with treatment that has little to no benefit, is that individual supposed to continue enduring such experiences and pain when there clearly may be a better alternative out there for them? I think that would be silly to continue on with something that is providing little-to-no benefit and an alternative would surely be the best option.
If there is good data to support a specific nutritional change or vitamin supplement being effective in treating a specific illness (mental or otherwise), then that, to me, is part of conventional medicine. Obviously it is sometimes a difficult judgment call to determine when the research is sufficient to show something is sufficiently effective and safe to become part of standard care in conventional medicine.

I understand why, when conventional medicine isn't working for your particular illness or injury (or when the conventional medicine treatment has significant side effects or risks), it makes sense to explore alternatives. But how do you determine whether the alternative is safe and effective? What standard do you use? Is it the same standard you would use to determine whether a conventional medical product or procedure is safe and effective?

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#25 of 213 Old 04-07-2015, 07:08 AM
 
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I'm new here so I hope I'm not jumping in on the bandwagon too quickly or anything but I wanted to add my thoughts as well.

On a personal note this article was very difficult for me to read. And first of all, I still wholeheartedly believe that Number 15 on this list is definitely true. (Their minds are closed.)

I am all for reading someone's perspective and opinion, but to start out an article with insults and antagonizing statements is a poor way to get one's point across. What I would love to see is a decrease in black and white thinking and that it doesn't have to be one or the other.

I loved My Filling Quiver's response. I agree with just about everything you said.

I think it can be a balance. And in my opinion it should be a balance. I go to the doctor and take my kids to the doctor when I feel it's absolutely necessary. Neither of my children have ever had antibiotics. I tend to try other things first (usually of an 'alternative' nature) before I head to the doctor, but that does NOT mean I hate my doctor!

I love my doctor. My doctors have saved my life. I had a gangrenous gall bladder a couple of years ago and I am certainly glad that my doctor was there to remove it for me and to help me heal afterward. Also, I do take thyroid medication. I have tried so many things for my thyroid, but after 17 years of trying different things and seeing what worked - the levothyroxine works best for me. So no, I don't hate my doctor.

There are certain services that doctors offer that I choose not to avail myself of, or avail my children of, but I don't bash them. For example, my doctor wrote a prescription for my daughter for chewable fluoride tablets. I chose not to fill it.

So yeah, it's all about balance. It's too bad that the author of this article is so unaware of how people really feel. I'm sure there are some doctor bashers out there - but that doesn't mean we all are.

Thanks for posting this. I have enjoyed reading everyone's responses.
Being a mom of a child with special needs, I do not go to the doctor every time I don't understand something or something about my son changes. That would be insane. I read, I do research, I try different things...But we have had to go.. there is no getting around that. He could have lost his eye at 1yr. old due to a severe infection inside the lid. And his arm was fractured when he fell off a bike...So I feel pretty good about "thinking things through" I believe if people just thought about what makes sense, a lot of the useless and questionable "western medicine" would be ignored and if our physicians started listening and "paying attention" to moms (instead of thinking we are all worried our of our mind,whack jobs) then maybe things within the medical profession would change.. But until the docs realize I know my body and my child better than they do, they will always be suspect of delivering substandard care.. Hope it all makes sense.
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Originally Posted by Jessica765 View Post
If there is good data to support a specific nutritional change or vitamin supplement being effective in treating a specific illness (mental or otherwise), then that, to me, is part of conventional medicine. Obviously it is sometimes a difficult judgment call to determine when the research is sufficient to show something is sufficiently effective and safe to become part of standard care in conventional medicine.
I have heard this definition before and I do not think it holds up to scrutiny.

First off - it is completely polarising - saying that conventional medicine is evidence based (good) while CAM is not evidence based (or bad). It is a very pro conventional medicine and conventional medicine centric sort of definition.

More importantly, it simply isn't true. I can think of plenty of drugs that were pushed through without good or sufficient data. This article talks about the situation: http://www.drugwatch.com/fda/fast-track/ I can also think of some complementary/alternative medicine with a fair bit of evidence behind it that will never be classified as conventional (not should it seek to, IMHO, it isn't as if conventional medicine is the goal line.....). St John's Wort for mild depression is one. http://www.cochrane.org/CD000448/DEP...ing-depression. As a herbal remedy, it is not considered conventional medicine, despite solid evidence.

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#27 of 213 Old 04-07-2015, 08:24 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Jessica765 View Post
I understand why, when conventional medicine isn't working for your particular illness or injury (or when the conventional medicine treatment has significant side effects or risks), it makes sense to explore alternatives. But how do you determine whether the alternative is safe and effective? What standard do you use? Is it the same standard you would use to determine whether a conventional medical product or procedure is safe and effective?
Well, as I mentioned earlier, look at Chantix as one example. It's not a medication that I would hold to a standard or being safe and effective. Just because it's on the market, they continue to test it, and they haven't pulled it yet, it doesn't mean it's safe.

Lack of scientific studies for natural and alternative therapies is a problem. Vinegar (particularly ACV) is one therapy that they haven't done enough research on, despite the dramatic claims. There have been studies conducted on diabetics and insulin sensitivity and published regarding the benefits of vinegar, improving blood glucose levels, in which the vinegar effects were shown to be comparable to metformin.

http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/27/1/281.full

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These data indicate that vinegar can significantly improve postprandial insulin sensitivity in insulin-resistant subjects. Acetic acid has been shown to suppress disaccharidase activity (3) and to raise glucose-6-phosphate concentrations in skeletal muscle (4); thus, vinegar may possess physiological effects similar to acarbose or metformin. Further investigations to examine the efficacy of vinegar as an antidiabetic therapy are warranted.
Why haven't there been any more extensive studies on this? Lack of profit maybe?
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Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
I have heard this definition before and I do not think it holds up to scrutiny.

First off - it is completely polarising - saying that western medicine is evidence based (good) while non-western medicine is not evidence based (or bad). It is a very pro western medicine and western medicine centric sort of definition.
Some may say this, but I didn't. I don't care if something is Western or Non-Western. The more a treatment's safety and effectiveness is based on evidence, the more reason I see to consider it as a viable treatment (whatever its origins). If there is little or no evidence supporting its safety or efficacy, I don't see a good reason to consider it as a viable treatment, unless perhaps it is so clearly harmless and inexpensive that there is little to no reason not to try it.

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Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
More importantly, it simply isn't true. I can think of plenty of drugs that were pushed through without good or suffecient data. This article talks about the situation: http://www.drugwatch.com/fda/fast-track/ I can also think of some complementary/alternative medicine with a fair bit of evidence behind it that will never be classified as conventional or western (not should it seek to, IMHO, it isn't as if western medicine is the goal line.....). St John's Wort for mild depression is one. http://www.cochrane.org/CD000448/DEP...ing-depression. As a herbal remedy, it is not considered conventional medicine, despite solid evidence.
Again, I don't think it matters if it is considered conventional medicine, if it has solid evidence.
What constitutes good or sufficient data is a judgment call. The FDA may make that judgment call in a way you disagree with sometimes, and it may make errors in making that judgment call, but it is making a judgment call based on evidence.

This is NIH's assessment of St. John's Wort. The data seem somewhat promising but conflicting.
https://nccih.nih.gov/health/stjohns...on.htm#science

What standard would you use before deciding that there is good or sufficient data to support using a treatment? Would you apply the same standard to "alternative" therapies as to "conventional ones"?
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#29 of 213 Old 04-07-2015, 08:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
I have heard this definition before and I do not think it holds up to scrutiny.

First off - it is completely polarising - saying that western medicine is evidence based (good) while non-western medicine is not evidence based (or bad). It is a very pro western medicine and western medicine centric sort of definition.

More importantly, it simply isn't true. I can think of plenty of drugs that were pushed through without good or suffecient data. This article talks about the situation: http://www.drugwatch.com/fda/fast-track/ I can also think of some complementary/alternative medicine with a fair bit of evidence behind it that will never be classified as conventional or western (not should it seek to, IMHO, it isn't as if western medicine is the goal line.....). St John's Wort for mild depression is one. http://www.cochrane.org/CD000448/DEP...ing-depression. As a herbal remedy, it is not considered conventional medicine, despite solid evidence.
St. John's Wort is not a very good example. The studies that showed it had some effect were done in German speaking countries where the results have mostly not been able to be reproduced by large studies done in other countries.

See this link for more info https://nccih.nih.gov/health/stjohns...depression.htm

"Although St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) has been used for centuries for mental health conditions and is widely prescribed for depression in Europe, the herb can have serious side effects. In addition, current evidence that St. John’s wort is effective for depression is not conclusive.

Two studies, both sponsored by NCCIH and the National Institute of Mental Health, did not have positive results. Neither St. John’s wort nor a standard antidepressant medication decreased symptoms of minor depression better than a placebo in a 2011 study. The herb was no more effective than placebo in treating major depression of moderate severity in a large 2002 study."

Whether something is an herb, vitamin or sounds natural is not part of the definition of whether it is alternative medicine. A good example of a kind of vitamin with known medical benefits is folic acid. Taking folic acid while pregnant to help prevent birth defects is now a standard part of prenatal care in the US.

As Tim Minchin put it: "By definition, alternative medicine has either not been proved to work or been proved not to work. Do you know what they call alternative medicine that's been proved to work? Medicine. "
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I also like this by David Gorski:

"Can anyone name a CAM treatment that was abandoned by CAM as a result of research and randomized clinical trials showing that it doesn't work?

A single one?

I can't.

Updating your ideas in light of new evidence is the hallmark of science. Failure to do so is a hallmark of pseudoscience."

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