The delivery man was sweating heavily, and when he handed over the two packages I realized why: they weighed like lead. They contained the new edition of The Oxford Textbook of Medicine.

It comes in 4 large volumes, is over 6000 pages long, and has several hundred contributors who include the foremost experts in their fields (and costs a bomb). On Amazon, it is advertised as the foremost international textbook of medicine. Unrivalled in its coverage of the scientific aspects and clinical practice of internal medicine and its subspecialties, it is a fixture in the offices and wards of physicians around the world, as well as being a key resource for medico-legal practitioners. Accessible digitally with regular updates, as well as in print, readers are provided with multiple avenues of access depending on their need and preference.

More comprehensive, more authoritative, and more international than any other textbook; Oxford Textbook of Medicine focuses on offering both perspective and practical guidance on clinical management and prevention of disease…

I think that describes the book rather well. But why, you rightly ask, did I receive a copy, and why do I write about it here? The simple reason is, that I contributed a chapter. My contribution is just 6 pages long (does that mean the importance of so-called alternative medicine [SCAM] to healthcare is 1/1000th of the total?), but I am nevertheless not half proud of it. Here is a nice quote from my chapter:

When used as a true alternative to mainstream medicine, CAM can become a hazard to patients even if the treatment itself is without risk. In many countries, including the United Kingdom, CAM is practised mostly by healthcare professionals who are not medically trained, often in the absence of stringent regulation, leading many to be concerned that vulnerable patients may be exploited.

I believe this to be the most important message about SCAM and I am pleased that it is expressed in one of the world’s most important textbooks.

5 Responses to The Oxford Textbook of Medicine

  • Bravo!

    Can those six pages be shared here?

  • Is this a new addition to this textbook? I do not recall such a chapter in my copy, which was bought in 1979 or thereabouts 🥴 I think I gave it to someone when I moved to America to begin my postgraduate training in surgery.

  • Interesting, since some think manipulation is just a placebo.

    Back pain
    “A very important objective at this stage is to reduce the likelihood of patients progressing to chronicity, not least because there are only a few modalities, including manipulation, back schools (programmes using cognitive, physical, and motivational methods to educate patients on how to manage their back problem), and exercise therapy that have been show to be beneficial in patients with chronic back pain.”

    Neck pain
    “There is evidence that non-narcotic analgesics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, mobilization, and manipulation are effective,…”

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