Snake Oil Science The Truth about Complementary and Alternative Medicine

ISBN-10: 0195383427
ISBN-13: 9780195383423
Edition: 2009
List price: $21.95 Buy it from $9.05
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Description: Hailed in the New York Times as "entertaining and immensely educational," Snake Oil Science is not only a brilliant critique of alternative medicine, but also a first-rate introduction to interpreting scientific research of any sort. The book's  More...

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Book details

List price: $21.95
Copyright year: 2009
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 8/2/2009
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 320
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.00" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 0.880
Language: English

Hailed in the New York Times as "entertaining and immensely educational," Snake Oil Science is not only a brilliant critique of alternative medicine, but also a first-rate introduction to interpreting scientific research of any sort. The book's ultimate goal is to illustrate how the placebo effect conspires to make medical therapies appear to be effective--not just to consumers, but to therapists and poorly trained scientists as well. Bausell explores this remarkable phenomenon and explains why research on any therapy that does not factor in the placebo effect (and other placebo-like effects) will inevitably produce false results. Moreover, as the author shows in an impressive survey of research from high-quality scientific journals, studies employing credible placebo controls do not indicate positive effects for alternative therapies beyond those attributable to random chance. Readers will come away from this book with a healthy skepticism of claims about the latest "miracle cure," be it St. John's Wort for depression or acupuncture for chronic pain.

Introduction
The Rise of Complementary and Alternative Therapies
A Brief History of Placebos
Natural Impediments to Making Valid Inferences
Impediments That Prevent our Physicians and Therapists From Making Valid Inferences
Impediments that Prevent Poorly Trained Scientists from Making Valid Inferences
Why Randomized Placebo Control Groups Are Necessary in CAM Research
Judging the Credibility and Plausibility of Scientific Evidence
Some Personal Research
How We Know that the Placebo Effect Exists
A Bio-Chemical Explanation for the Placebo Effect
Do CAM Therapies Work Or Are They Placebo Effects? Evidence From High Quality Randomized Placebo Controlled Trials
Do CAM Therapies Work Or Are They Placebo Effects? Evidence From High Quality Systematic Reviews
How CAM Therapies Are Hypothesized to Work
Tying Up a Few Loose Ends
Notes
Index

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