Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Altie Stuff

What got me started on that earlier longer-than-usual post was this by Steven Novella. He addresses some old, outdated cliches by alties who apparently don't pay attention to the current medical scene:
At Georgetown Medical School where I trained (I graduated in 1991) we were taught the “biopsychosocial” model of medicine - which means we view the patient in the context of their biology, their psychology, and their social situation. This was not just a slogan - it was a central part of the clinical culture that we were taught. It is simply a straw man to say that scientific medicine does not consider the whole patient - even 18 years ago this was already being fully integrated into mainstream medicine, before it became fashionable among the promoters of dubious treatments.
I suspect the "holism gambit," as Dr. Novela puts it, has been around for decades, rather than something new. Could probably be traced back to homeopathy, since that made a lot of spiritual claims in the early days. It's probably just one the cliche meme that's resurged in popularity, and based only on the fact that the alties of the past invoked it, not because they could identify a genuine, systematic fault in the system.

Here's another comment from Dr. Novela:
Dixon confuses the ethics of informed consent and patient autonomy with the scientific basis of medical treatments. Medical ethics already dictate that patients are in control of their own medical decisions. Also, as I said above, the old paternalistic model of “doctor knows best” has been gone for a generation. The current model of practice is one of patient collaboration and informed consent.
The idea that this Dixon character would expect anything else these days is worthy of headdesking. Seriously, who's ever run into a doctor who won't accept questions or discuss your condition? Methinks this might have gotten started with closed-minded alties misrepresenting their doctors in order for them to fit their comfortable stereotypes.

One of the worst parts with this Dixon guy is he tries to present science-based medicine as treating people as a bunch of "lab rats." Apparently, he's completely oblivious to how alternative "medicine" works. From my standpoint, they're typically the sort who push for the deregulation of human experimentation. I tend to notice it more in the vaccine-autism crowd, who want to be able to perform all sorts of experiments on their children with dangerous, debunked, wholy implausible "treatments." Worse, the quacks involved often aren't interested in keeping detailed records. Real doctors keep track of their patients so that if a treatment has previously unknown side effects, interactions, or something else, they can be more readily spotted and compared to find correlations. Neglect of that sort of resource is fairly common among quacks, who are often after positive testimonials so that they can feed their prejudices and/or make more money.

1 comment:

Dunc said...

The point about keeping proper records is an important one - I've often said that if homoeopaths kept proper patient records and did proper follow-up, there would be no possible doubt as to its (lack of) effectiveness. Instead they've spent 200 years inventing excuses not to.