Alternative medicine needs to be studied

Last week’s issue of Journal of the American Medical Association includes an editorial suggesting that the budget of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine might be used more productively elsewhere at the National Institutes of Health.

Its author runs through a litany of negative study outcomes and implausible interventions to make his case: The $130 million annual budget of the center is of suspect utility. One might think that arguments against faith-based practice are preferential arguments against the complementary and alternative medicine , but that’s not so. Much of what is done in conventional medicine is simply time-honored, but not truly tested. When time-honored practices are put to exacting tests of evidence, they often fail.

I was taught — adamantly — through all my training years that drugs called beta-blockers, which reduce the force of the heart’s contraction, would be harmful in congestive heart failure. It turns out, at odds with time-honored practice, tradition and intuition alike, these drugs reduce mortality in heart failure, and are now used routinely.

Source  - New Haven Register