… Many proponents of so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) are keen to point out that, while mainstream medicine may be good at treatment of diseases, particularly acute conditions, SCAM’s forte lies in the prevention of disease. Patients seem to have intuitively accepted this notion; a recent survey suggest that more than 50% of those Americans who use SCAM do so not to treat ailments but to remain healthy, i.e. to prevent disease and illness. If one looks closer at the evidence for or against SCAM’s role in disease prevention, one is stunned by the contrast of firmly held beliefs and the lack of reliable evidence to support them…
… Unfortunately the subject is more complex than normally appreciated within SCAM. Until we have convincing data, it is not possible to state with confidence that a given form of SCAM is effective in preventing a given condition. It follows
- that we now should prepare to carry out the much needed (but difficult) research related
- that we should be cautious and abstain from overstating the largely unproven role of SCAM in the prevention of disease and illness.
These lines were written by me and published exactly 20 years ago. As far as I can see, very little has changed since.
- SCAM providers continue to make big claims about disease prevention.
- Many consumers continue to believe them.
- And the evidence continues to be absent or flimsy.
It follows, I fear, that charlatans who advocate their SCAM as a means to prevent disease are dishonestly defrauding the public.
I do hope that someone disagrees with me and shows me the evidence proving me wrong!