Monday, January 8, 2018

MD Pryor in NYT: Naturopathy Epitomizes Pseudoscience

here, naturopathy held up as an epitome of pseudoscience in The Gray Lady [which I subscribe to]: 

001. at nytimes.com, medical doctor Lisa Pryor opines in "How to Counter the Circus of Pseudoscience" (2018-01-05):

"Facebook offered up a video advertisement from a 'female hormonal health specialist' with her own 'practice'. Not an endocrinologist but a naturopath. She lectured with confidence on thyroid testing, though much of what she said was wrong [...] maybe one day, once I have decades of experience as a doctor and further training in my area of specialization, I will be able to speak about health matters with the tone of authority of the average naturopath [...] countering the online health gurus is especially difficult when they offer the irresistible cocktail of medical language muddled with a much more pleasing aesthetic than medicine [...] where patients’ conditions are diagnosed with metaphors [...] and treated with poetry [...] just like that naturopath on Facebook [...] alternative-health gurus harness the language of medicine to seem authoritative. They order investigations, adopt protocols. And of course what they say is always half right, which is how pseudoscience works"; 

ouch! 

 "it is not the vocabulary of science that is important, it is the methodology [...] the rigorous approach to evidence [...] the medical profession [...] is built on doubt. Most doctors, especially the good ones, are acutely aware of the limits of their knowledge. I have learned from those much more experienced and qualified than me that humility is something to be cultivated over time, not lost. Our field is built around trying to prove ourselves wrong [...] through scientific research we try to disprove the effectiveness of treatments. Our failings are exposed from the inside. The nature of evidence-based health care is that practices change as new evidence emerges. That is also the case for other health professionals whose practice is based on science";

hear, hear.

"in the face of this circus, we doctors must hold tight to evidence. We must hold tight to our doubt, our knowledge of our fallibility as individuals and as a profession, knowing that humility is a strength, not a weakness. But we must also as a profession engage in the public conversations about health, including on social media, along with our colleagues in allied health fields. If we do not, the discussion will be dominated by the passionately uninformed, who build trust only to sell false cures. And we must listen to patients, as we are taught to do, showing care and understanding. We must take on the difficult challenge of inspiring and motivating with the truth";

hear, hear, hear.
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