Alternative therapies, 1990: an overview
The term alternative therapy refers to any therapeutic approach that has not established a scientific basis in medical practice. Since many members of the public do not have the necessary information or insight to evaluate alternative therapies, they are often influenced by the purveyors of alternative medicine. Furthermore, some beliefs seem to be deeply rooted in the culture, such as, the notion that health can be guaranteed through proper diet. The American Cancer Society maintains a list of unproven or questionable methods that are purported to be treatments for cancer. Currently, there are 23 treatments on the list, and the Society provides a summary and evaluation of each. The variety of such alternative therapies is quite great, and ranges from basic considerations, such as diet and appropriate exercise, to outright quackery. It is estimated that from 10 to 50 percent of all cancer patients use some form of alternative therapy, and that approximately $10 billion each year is spent on such treatments. These therapies are more likely to be chosen by patients with better-than-average education and higher-than-average income. Furthermore, it is estimated that 5 percent of cancer patients abandon conventional therapy and adopt unproven therapies that are potentially harmful. The author feels that a great deal of the interest in alternative therapies in today's society arises from a basic mistrust of authority and established institutions. Furthermore, the simple dogma of many alternative therapies is appealing to many patients, particularly when little hope is offered by the orthodox physician. Studies have shown, however, that patients who enjoy better relationships with their physicians are less likely to become involved with alternative therapies. Physicians need to engage in a stronger program of education to reduce the harm caused by alternative therapies, which sometimes harm patients directly with dangerous remedies, and sometimes indirectly by luring them away from needed treatment. Perhaps most important, alternative therapies culture a feeling of distrust for established institutions and a lack of confidence in the scientific approach. (Consumer Summary produced by Reliance Medical Information, Inc.)
Publication Name: Cancer
The pre-Flexnerian Reports: Mark Twain's criticism of medicine in the United States
Mark Twain's writings have provided a humorous yet clear picture of medical practices during the 19th century. Twain personally experienced several types of medical practices during his lifetime including homeopathic, hydropathic, and scientific medicine. No medical therapy escaped the Twain's critical and satirical eye. He saw scientific medicine emerging as a hopeful medical form but felt that patients' medical options should not be restricted. Few medical treatments had a scientific basis during Twain's lifetime. He indicated that faith in the practitioner probably had a significant impact on the therapy's success.
Publication Name: Annals of Internal Medicine
Alternatives for women through menopause
The use of alternative medicine to treat menopause is reviewed. Many of these treatments can eliminate hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause but may not have all the health benefits of estrogen.
Publication Name: American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
- Abstracts: Adherence to guidelines for antiretroviral therapy and for preventing opportunistic infections in HIV-infected adults and adolescents in Ryan White-funded facilities in the United States
- Abstracts: Iatrogenic immunization with bovine thrombin: a mechanism for prolonged thrombin times after surgery
- Abstracts: Urinary incontinence: Know your drug options. Urinary tract infection: a common problem not to be ignored. Aging of the urinary system
- Abstracts: Antichlamydial activity of vaginal secretion. Violence and gynecologic health in women <50 years old. The G-spot: a modern gynecologic myth