Time to Speak up for Science-Based Medicine

Time to Speak up for Science-Based Medicine

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of pseudo-medicine is for reality based doctors to do nothing." 

- Edmund Burke

I came across the editorial Time to speak up for research in the magazine Science.

The opening paragraph states

As U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins stated in recent testimony to Congress, “Our nation has never witnessed a time of greater promise for advances in medicine.” Researchers are moving closer to developing a universal flu vaccine, cancer immunotherapy (harnessing the immune system to attack tumor cells) is on the horizon, and the public/private BRAIN initiative will provide deeper knowledge of billions of nerve cells to advance research on Alzheimer's disease, autism, and other brain disorders. Yet the general public, and in particular elected officials, have failed to embrace the promise of cutting-edge science as a means to improve health and the economy.

then mentions that

NIH's budget for fiscal year 2014 (FY14) is 11.7% below the FY04 peak

and finishes, after a discussion on the need for funding of health care research and its benefits as well the obscurity in which medical researchers work, with

Scientists must take off their lab coats and engage the people of their communities and states. They must be willing to defend and spread the good news about science. If scientists themselves are unwilling to defend science, how can we expect others to do so?

The financial needs of medical research for the understanding of reality-based diagnosis and treatment are tremendous. The money wasted by the government by the NCCAM is tiny in comparison, about $120 million a year. But when you add in the time and money spent on the worthless interventions like acupuncture and reiki provided by the rapidly growing Integrative Medicine programs, the money wasted on pseudo-medicine in the United States by research, teaching and other hospitals must be enormous.

Getting a piece of the 38 billion dollar pie spent by Americans on pseudo-medicne is more important than recognizing that much of what makes up those pseudo-medicines is at best wishful thinking and at worst fraud.

The world has innumerable medical problems that need reality-based solutions. Diverting any of that money to support fictional interventions is in the same moral/ethical category as sending homeopaths to Haiti or manufacturing and selling counterfeit medicines for the treatment of malaria.  It is wrong to provide useless interventions to the ill.

All too often at SfSBM what we are for manifests in what we oppose, the application of nonsense in medicine. This week Dr. Oz received a spanking for his promotion of useless weight loss products.  Unfortunately Dr. Oz is only  a small part of the Pseudo-Medical Industrial Complex, whose main tool is the  deliberate production of ignorance.  A tool that, sadly, kills and injures.   It is an important role to point out that the emperors of pseudo-medicines have no clothes.  

To paraphrase:

Doctors must take off their lab coats and engage the people of their communities and states. They must be willing to defend and spread the good news about science-based medicine. If doctors themselves are unwilling to defend medicine, how can we expect others to do so?

SfSBM is one of those defenses. Thank you for participating.

Points of Interest 06/24/2014
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