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Clinical trials of integrative medicine: testing whether magic works?

updated

Tags: scientific medicine

Two articles on PainSci cite Gorski 2014: (1) Why “Science”-Based Instead of “Evidence”-Based?(2) The “Impress Me” Test

PainSci summary of Gorski 2014: ?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided at the bottom of the page, as often as possible.

A lot of dead horses are getting beaten in alternative medicine: pointlessly studying silly treatments like homeopathy and reiki over and over again, as if it’s going to tell us something we don’t already know. This point has been made ad infinitum on ScienceBasedMedicine.org since its founding in 2009, but here Drs. Novella and Gorski make the case against testing “whether magic works” in a high-impact journal, Trends in Molecular Medicine.

~ Paul Ingraham

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

Over the past two decades complementary and alternative medicine treatments relying on dubious science have been embraced by medical academia. Despite low to nonexistent prior probability that testing these treatments in randomized clinical trials (RCTs) will be successful, RCTs of these modalities have proliferated, consistent with the principles of evidence-based medicine, which underemphasize prior plausibility rooted in science. We examine this phenomenon and argue that what is needed is science-based medicine rather than evidence-based medicine.

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