There is often a disconnect between how I see myself and my profession and how others do.

I know I probably have a horribly warped understanding of me. I have no doubt I underrate my flaws and overrate my abilities, but I usually lack the insight in real time to recognize either. That is why we have spouses and long drives home.

My understanding of the medical profession is equally limited, but in different ways. While I have been practicing medicine for over 24 years, it has been in the same hospital system in the same city. I practice inpatient acute care infectious diseases, with no long term outpatient care. And while I am in a teaching hospital with medical and surgical residents, I am 30 years out of medical school. So my understanding of medicine is based on a narrow slice of the medical industrial complex.

I ran across Why conventional doctors ignore alternative medicine over at the Signs of the Time web sight. A curious site. A quick skim suggests that its approach to medicine, or reality, has little to do with mine. But then, I do not understand one of the purposes of their organization:

The project includes collecting, arranging, and analyzing news items that seem to best reflect the movement of macrocosmic quantum energies on the planet.

Still, the article in question raises several common strawmen reasons, totally disconnected from my reality, as to why pseudo-medicines are ignored.

Free thinking discouraged.

Not true. My 30 years in medicine have seen dramatic changes in diagnosis and therapy due to remarkable creativity. However, what they all have in common is being based in reality: anatomy, physiology, chemistry etc. He is right that we do not learn a

system that is completely opposite to what they have been taught.

Medicine sticks with reality. Because it works.

They have been taught to departmentalize

The body is treated as parts completely independent of each other, and their interaction is minimal at best.

I have discussed this before. MD's are the true holistic providers. I have to understand infections from the molecular level of antibiotic resistance to the global changes that drive infection and everything in-between. Pseudo-medicine providers are posers; their holism all sound and fury, signifying nothing. The difference is that we understand body systems and their interactions using the basis of reality.


The author seems to think that doctors make huge amounts of money from selling pharmaceuticals. Sorry. We are not naturopaths. We don’t make money selling products out of the office.

Nutrition is an afterthought in their education

Diet and exercise is an integral part of medical education. It is true that we are not taught the latest fad organic paleo Mediteranean gluten free vegan low carb diet. Nutrition is simple in concept (Eat food, not too much, mostly plants) but hard to apply. Nutrition is not alternative, although some of the implementations certainly are.

Too busy to expand knowledge

I am required to spend an hour a week (50 hours a year) in continuing medical education. That time is spent, like most medical education, increasing knowledge in reality-based medicine.  We are too busy for the fantasies that are the basis of so many alternative therapies.

Medicine is a practical endeavor and most doctors have a simple goal: diagnose your illness and make you better. If alternative medicine really worked it would have long ago been applied.

There is no alternative medicine. There is only scientifically proven, evidence-based medicine supported by solid data or unproven medicine, for which scientific evidence is lacking.

I have spent a decade immersed in the alternative medical world and here is real reason we don’t use alternative medicine (depending on what you consider to be “alternative’) : it is not based in the reality and it can’t work and it doesn’t work. So why bother?

Points of Interest: 06/21/2014
Points of Interest 06/19/2014