MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

Yes, I have just published another book! It is entitled ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE, A CRITICAL ASSESSMENT OF 150 MODALITIES.

And yes, I would like you to read it! (You don’t need to buy it, go to your library and ask them to order it.)

Therefore, allow me to try and whet your appetite by simply copying the preface of my book here:

 

In their famous editorial of 1998, Angell and Kassirer concluded that “It is time for the scientific community to stop giving alternative medicine a free ride. There cannot be two kinds of medicine — conventional and alternative. There is only medicine that has been adequately tested and medicine that has not, medicine that works and medicine that may or may not work. Once a treatment has been tested rigorously, it no longer matters whether it was considered alternative at the outset. If it is found to be reasonably safe and effective, it will be accepted. But assertions, speculation, and testimonials do not substitute for evidence. Alternative treatments should be subjected to scientific testing no less rigorous than that required for conventional treatments.”[1]

Twenty years later, alternative medicine remains popular and assertions, speculation, and testimonials still substitute for evidence. We are still being inundated with misleading advice, biased opinions, uncritical evaluations, commercially-driven promotion and often even fraudulently wrong conclusions. Consequently, consumers find it hard to access reliable data. As a result, they often make misguided, sometimes even dangerously wrong decisions.

I have researched alternative medicine for more than 25 years. Through this work, I have gathered a wealth of knowledge, facts and experience. In this book, I have summarised the essentials into an easily accessible text. My book offers an introduction into the most important issues around alternative medicine as well as a concise, evidence-based analysis of 150 alternative therapies and diagnostic techniques.

Such information is surely a good thing, but it should nevertheless come with a warning: it may not please everybody! If you are a believer in alternative medicine who does not care about the facts, or an enthusiast for whom alternative medicine has become some sort of a religion, or a person who thinks that science is less important than anecdote, you better return this book to its shelf; reading it will only disquiet you.

If, however, you are looking for the facts about alternative medicine, trust in science, prefer critical assessment to commercial promotion, it might well be a book for you.

I hope that you belong to the latter group and trust it will help you making the right therapeutic decisions for yourself and your family.

[1] http://www.kitsrus.com/pdf/nejm_998.pdf

 

PS

If you want to publish a book review, please contact me and I will see that you get a free e-book.

43 Responses to My new book: ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE, A CRITICAL ASSESSMENT OF 150 MODALITIES.

  • Congratulations for this new accomplishment.

  • I laud your unrelenting efforts in this area – all the more because in the time it takes you to evaluate (and often debunk) one SCAM modality, just one crank can come up with ten new ones. And what’s more disheartening, each and every one of those newly made-up ‘treatments’ will attract flocks of hapless customers (all of which tells us quite some things about human imagination as well as human gullibility).

    This must be very frustrating.

    But still my congratulations on your latest work, I ordered a copy right away!

  • I like the illustration, very cool

  • Just ordered it! I was looking forward to your next book after the excellent SCAM and MHTG.
    Great cover too!

  • Congrats, Prof. Ernst!
    To my delight, I noticed that the e-book is already available at the Universty I work at,
    so I just downloaded it and am now looking forward to reading it.
    I have a number of medical doctors in my family and my circle of friends and I am sure that the print version will be a great gift for them!

  • Congratulations on another helpful book!

  • Congrats. I’ve asked the University to order it in!

  • I disagree with the professor.
    For several reasons I think it is important that you buy this book, as I did when it came out. I also recommend his other books highly.
    Of course you should also ask your library to order them all.
    One of the reasons for buying Dr. Ernst’s books, apart from their utility, is to promote more valuable contributions to rational health care.
    The Kindle version cost me only $25 on amazon.com

  • cant one just get the list of 150 alternative therapies and diagnostic techniques mentioned and just conclude…there is not good evidence for this stuff? Not sure why one has to buy the book.

    • you don’t have to! [you can get it from a library]
      but if you did, you might learn something [for instance that that your conclusion is wrong]

      • it was a question, not a conclusion.

        • DC:
          “Not sure why one has to buy the book” IS a conclusion!
          Albeit it a vague and undiscriminated one.

          Please return to this thread when you are sure whether or not “one has to buy” this most helpful book.
          Though of course, those interested in the topic do not have to do anything – so for me, the conclusion is that you don’t have to, but you would probably benefit!

        • “Not sure why one has to buy the book”… I guess you really mean “Not sure why one has to read the book.”

          To which one answer has to be to hone your critical reading skills. If you read just a few pages you should be able to decide whether it’s a book of commendable quality or not, and — if not — why not. No need to buy. Isn’t that what you already do with books whose title takes your interest?

        • I think I can give an overview of the book

          Introduction: there are therapies and diagnostics that lack good evidence which are outside of mainstream medicine
          Method: I picked 150 therapies and diagnostics that lack good evidence which are outside of mainstream medicine
          Results: the above 150 therapies and diagnostics lack good evidence
          Conclusion: caveat emptor

          Which goes back to my original comment. Just provide the list…the rest just seems to be an attempt to fill pages.

          • as so often, you are mistaken

          • As the author I’m sure you think so.

          • as someone who has not seen the book, you simply speak out of your arse.

          • @DC

            I have a copy of the book. Although I have yet to read all of it, I have read enough so far to know that your overview is not correct. Maybe you should read the book before trying to reach conclusions about it?

          • sound advice indeed!

          • Comp…Maybe you should read the book before trying to reach conclusions about it?

            I didn’t make a conclusion about the book. But whatever.

          • yes, WHATEVER!
            “I think I can give an overview of the book
            Introduction: there are therapies and diagnostics that lack good evidence which are outside of mainstream medicine
            Method: I picked 150 therapies and diagnostics that lack good evidence which are outside of mainstream medicine
            Results: the above 150 therapies and diagnostics lack good evidence
            Conclusion: caveat emptor”

          • The correct word is speculation, not conclusion.

          • @DC

            “I didn’t make a conclusion about the book. But whatever.”

            What a nonsensical response. Please re-read your earlier comment that started “I think I can give an overview of the book” in which you clearly DID make conclusions about the book.

          • Comp….if it makes you feel all warm and cozy inside by thinking I made a conclusion, and not a speculation, OK.

          • Your conclusions, DC, tend to be speculative.

  • It is time for the scientific community to stop giving evidence based medicine a free ride. There cannot be two types of evidence based medicine. We have evidence based medicine that works and evidence based medicine that doesn’t. This just results in a confused public who go to CAM happy to ignore the lack of evidence base and lack of testing.
    More patients are going on their experiences. An example being Cannabis for epilepsy where there is no evidence base but where there is much public support for availability of this treatment.

  • Advocates of so called alternative medicine struggle to convince themselves that experience supersedes evidence. They even try to mirror the words of criticism in a hope of sounding intelligent.
    You are right “Dendra” (is that you @BrownBagPantry? 🙂 ), there are not two kinds of EBM.
    Let me tell you a story about how you are wrong.

    On Thursday, December 12, 1799, George Washington inspected his farms on horseback in snow and sleet. The day after he came down with a very bad cold. He (tought) he had good experience of using bloodletting forhimself and his slaves to cure various ailments so he ordered his estate overseer to remove a pint of blood. When three of his doctors arrived, they thought his condition was serious and happily continued the established treatment. They removed another four or five pints from the president. Old George died, white as the bedsheets, from what then was considered good EBM.
    Later, EvBM – Evidence Based Medicine was discovered and found out that ExBM – Experience Based Medicine such as bloodletting oftentimes did not work so you needed properly conducted trials to find out which.
    Since then EvBM has either eliminated ExBM that does not do any good and discovered fantastically much more that does work.

    • Bjorn,

      I thought George Washington probably died of acute epiglottitis. I have experienced this myself, to the point of losing consciousness from asphyxiation. Happily by then I was in A&E along with three of my consultant colleagues on hand (Casualty, anaesthetics and ENT) who were able to intubate me and get me to ITU. Washington had none of this expertise available, let alone the facilities of a modern hospital. The blood-letting probably hastened his end, but his prognosis was dire regardless.

      As for myself, I am grateful to my haematologist who insisted that I cancel a trip to San Francisco for the ASCO genitourinary cancer symposium, otherwise it would have happened on the flight, with a plane full of oncologists vying with each other not to be the one performing the tracheostomy.

      • 😀 Julian

        Whatever was entered on President Washington’s death certificate as primary COD, he died half-exsanguinated. The anaemia and hypovolemia contributed to his demise. Experience Based Medicine did more harm than good.
        One of his physicians allegedly suggested tracheostomy but was voted down by the others.

    • The name of the overseer who bled Washington was Rawlins.
      No relation!
      (As far as I know…)

  • I advise that Dr Geir reviews this article (see link below) from a good friend of this blog. Sense about Science also are campaigning to end the scam of non disclosure of clinical trials. Patients are at risk due to this witholding of information. Half the trials prior to 2007 were not reported- This is a disgrace. Much of Evidence Based Medicine needs review with respect to the unpublished trials. Fantastic isn’t a word I would use in describing this mess.

    https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/reporting-results-from-clinical-trials-is-vital-for-science-based-medicine/

    • Good, “Dendra”!!
      Keep reading the SBM site. Put it as in a prominent place on your bookmarks bar. You might even have it as your home page because there are new articlews there most days. I contribute a small sum to its maintenance every month.

      You should also look up the All-trials campaign (http://www.alltrials.net/find-out-more/all-trials/) and sign the petition and donate a small sum to the effort.
      I can assure you all that we doctors are all for improved reporting of research results.
      YOu might do well to read Ben Goldacres books, “Bad Medicine” and “Bad Science”. Most doctors are, like him, interested both in the improvement of real medicine and in counteracting so called alternative medicine.

      You might also be glad to knowt that I happen to be deeply involved in the work for improved quality and security in medicine, both professioonally and in my spare time. This is not something I talk much about here. Professor Ernst’s blog is a venue for the discussion of another interest of mine, the effort to minimise the hazards of medical make-believe and false health care. Let us stick to thescope and topic of this blog when discussing here.

  • Congratulations for the new book. I am a frequent reader of your writings and I mention it thoroughly in my doctoral thesis, with the clear and due credit. I am very grateful for all that I learned from your work.

  • Congratulations, Professor! Heading to Amazon, now.

    DC, go back to bed.

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