Detailed guides to painful problems, treatments & more

Seven amusing alternatives to evidence-based medicine 

 •  • by Paul Ingraham

Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of PainScience.com: a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

Evidence-based medicine (EBM) was founded as a named concept in 1990, but its spirit and principles go back to the 16th century, when Andreas Vesalius got it rolling by — and this was kind of crazy at the time — actually checking anatomy instead of just taking some ancient Roman doctor’s word for it. It was a great idea, and it’s been delivering the goods so well ever since that many doctors have been a bit puzzled by the modern EBM movement: what else would you base medicine on? Faith? Wit? Vehemence? The British Medical Journal suggests seven amusing possibilities, and it’s easy to imagine more.).

EBM emerged as something that needed a manifesto and an acronym because, in practice, an awful lot of medicine was still based on things like faith, tradition and vehemence, and not nearly as evidence-based as we’d like to hope. So EBM was an upgrade — a clear, formal call for medicine to do better. It was an attempt to make what Vesalius started “official” (a few centuries late). Unfortunately, EBM may not be enough, which is why ScienceBasedMedicine.org exists.

End of post marker

Last post: Electric baths

Next post: 1-Minute fibromyalgia video