Are we being hoodwinked by alternative medicine? Two leading scientists examine the evidence

Just how effective is complementary medicine?

In a new book, Edzard Ernst, the UK's first professor of complementary medicine, and Simon Singh, a leading scientist and documentary maker, set out to answer that question.

They have produced a definitive - if controversial - guide to what works, and what doesn't. It makes indispensable, if sometimes alarming, reading... Which therapies work and which ones are useless? Which therapies are safe and which ones are dangerous? These are questions that doctors have asked themselves for millennia in relation to all forms of medicine.

And yet it is only comparatively recently that they have developed an approach that allows them to separate the effective from the ineffective, and the safe from the dangerous.

This approach, known as evidence-based medicine, has revolutionised medical practice, transforming it from an industry of charlatans and incompetents into a system of healthcare that can deliver such miracles as transplanting kidneys, removing cataracts, combating childhood diseases, eradicating smallpox and saving millions of lives each year.

Evidence-based medicine is about using the current best evidence - gathered through clinical trials and other scientific investigations - to make medical decisions. Alternative medicine claims to be able to treat the same illnesses and diseases that conventional medicine tries to tackle.

We set out to establish the truth of these claims by using the principles of evidence-based medicine.

Source - Daily Mail

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