Friday, August 27, 2010

Salzberg on Acupuncture and Vitalism: Pseudoscience and Magical Thinking

Salzberg, S. (PhD Harvard 1989) writes in "Acupuncture Infiltrates the University of Maryland and NEJM" [2010-08-27]:

"in a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine, Brian Berman from the University of Maryland [...and] co-authors, Drs. Langevin, Witt, and Dubner [...explain] why acupuncture should be recommended for patients [...when] the evidence shows that there is no difference between real acupuncture and sham acupuncture [...and] it doesn’t matter where you place the needles, or even if you puncture the skin [...AND] most scientists would conclude, obviously, that acupuncture doesn’t work [...they] describe how 'internal disharmony is believed to cause blockage of the body’s vital energy, known as qi, which flows along 12 primary and 8 secondary meridians. Blockage of qi is thought to be manifested as tenderness on palpation. The insertion of acupuncture needles at specific points along the meridians is supposed to restore the proper flow of qi' [...] let’s be clear: acupuncture is pseudoscience. It’s based on magical thinking about a non-existent 'life force' that has never had one whit of evidence to support it [...] this pre-scientific magical thinking has no place in modern medicine, and no basis in biology, physiology, physics, or any other science [...] Berman’s work is an example of why I have repeatedly called on Congress and the President to eliminate NCCAM [...] an appalling waste [...] for further reading, I highly recommend the excellent blog posts on the Berman et al. study by Mark Crislip, David Gorski, and Steven Novella, all at Science-Based Medicine."

Note: hear, hear.  More quackademic medicine.  Notice, by the way, the number of NDs who have LAcs.

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