Sei sulla pagina 1di 6

Issue Exploration English 1010 Alexis Porter June 27, 2016

Should nontraditional treatments be assimilated into mainstream medicine?

As a healthcare worker, I am interested in the broad range of healing approaches and

whether or not they are effective. Some commonly used alternative therapies include

acupuncture, meditation, homeopathy, and chiropractic therapy. There is a multitude of

articles available with varying viewpoints regarding the mainstream use of alternative medicine.

So, what makes a treatment alternative? Many people would agree that Western

medicine, being more advanced and technologically-based, is the standard of care whereas

Eastern medicine is considered alternative or “natural”. Aaron Carroll, in his New York Times

article, Alernative Medicineis Label That Misses Point, argues that whatever you call a

treatment, it should be judged only by its scientific merit and not by whether it’s considered

Western or Eastern, conventional or alternative. Additionally, Ian Johnson discusses the idea

that Eastern medicine is not in need of being modernized in his New York Times article Nobel

Renews Debate on Chinese Medicine. Sometimes science needs to go back to the basics, to the

root (of a plant, maybe?) to solve some of today’s problems in medicine.

Is the use of alternative medicine even that common? Well, it’s common enough to

include the research (or lack thereof) in the academic world. Susan Perry discusses in her

article, Clinical Trials of Unscientific 'Alternative' Medical Treatments, the views of two physicians

that argue that certain alternative-medicine treatment studies have led to the influence of

pseudoscience into medical academia and have also caused harm to the test subjects. The

doctors call on the research community to stop allowing clinical trials to be used for “highly

implausible” treatments. Yet, it is important for the soon-to-be healthcare provider to have an

understanding of the alternative therapies that are available and to develop an understanding

of which treatments might be an appropriate adjunct to the standard of care for each particular

patient. Conversely, Michelle Dossett of the American Journal of Public Health presents a study

regarding the number of adults that utilize homeopathic methods of healing and those utilizing

additional integrative forms of medicine. Ultimately, the study finds that homeopathy use in the US is

uncommon, but is generally perceived as helpful by the users.

What happens when you have influential individuals pushing their own “miracle” supplement

upon the public without solid scientific evidence? Todd Krainin and Stephanie Slade discusses an Iowa

senator who establishes an institute to study the medical value of alternative therapies in their article

The Alternative Medicine Racket. The senator had his own “success story” with the use of bee pollen

extract and influenced the push of alternative medicine onto the American people. The article discusses

the importance of seeking traditional medical care in addition to alternative approaches. Ultimately,

unproven methods should not replace conventional methods that are known to be effective.

Additionally, these individuals or industries that push their supplements on others may not have an

understanding of how that supplement can interfere with an individual’s prescription drugs. Laura

Landro of the Wall Street Journal expresses how supplements that are commonly used may make

prescription drugs less effective or have adverse effects, and that the supplemental industry is more

loosely regulated. Conversely, Paul Offit of the Washington Post looks at the effects of herbs and

supplements from various studies. What are the claims? Do they really work? In the end, Offit insists

that if an herb or supplement works and has the evidence to support it, it shouldn’t be called alternative

medicine, it should just be called medicine.

As of now, I am looking at alternative medicine as a whole versus the effectiveness of individual

methods. My opinion is that alternative medicines should be used only as an adjunct to traditional

medicine and the standard of care. Physicians should be well-informed of the variety of supplemental

healthcare and possible effects of each on the conventional care of their patients. Receivers of care

should be informed that use of any supplement or alternative medicine should be divulged to their

primary care provider to ensure continuance and effectiveness of care.

Annotated Bibliography

Carroll, Aaron E. "'Alternative Medicine' Is Label That Misses Point." New York Times. 11 Aug. 2015:

A.3. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 22 Jun. 2016.

This article discusses the difference between Eastern and Western medicines. While Western

medicine tends to be built around technologic advances, Eastern remains more “natural”. The

author of the article argues that medical treatments should only be judged by their scientific

merit and not whether they are considered alternative or traditional.

Dossett, Michelle L., et al. "Homeopathy Use By US Adults: Results Of A National Survey." American

Journal Of Public Health 106.4 (2016): 743-745. Academic Search Premier. Web. 22 June 2016.

This study compares the number of adults that utilize homeopathic methods of healing and

those utilizing additional integrative forms of medicine. Ultimately, the study finds that

homeopathy use in the US is uncommon, but is generally perceived as helpful by the users.

Johnson, Ian. "Nobel Renews Debate on Chinese Medicine." New York Times. 11 Oct. 2015: A.10. SIRS

Issues Researcher. Web. 22 Jun. 2016.

China received its first Nobel Prize in science. The accomplishment was owed to a retired

researcher that utilized a plant to combat malaria. The article discusses varying viewpoints

regarding whether Chinese medicine needs to be modernized.

Krainin, Todd, and Stephanie Slade. "The Alternative Medicine Racket." Reason. Dec. 2015: 28. SIRS

Issues Researcher. Web. 22 Jun. 2016.

An Iowa senator establishes an institute to study the medical value of alternative therapies. The

senator had his own “success story” with the use of bee pollen extract and influenced the push

of alternative medicine onto the American people. The article discusses the importance of

seeking traditional medical care in addition to alternative approaches. Unproven methods

should not replace conventional methods that are known to be effective.

Landro, Laura. "How Your Supplements Interact with Prescription Drugs." Wall Street Journal Online. 01

Mar. 2016: n/a. SIRS Issues Researcher.Web. 26 Jun. 2016.

Dietary supplements are commonly used, but can interfere with prescription drugs, making

them less effective. The author reviews the many adverse effects of herbs and supplements and

how the supplemental industry is more loosely regulated.

Medhurst, Robert. "Further Research In Homoeopathy." Journal Of The Australian Traditional-Medicine

Society 22.2 (2016): 86-88. Academic Search Premier. Web. 26 June 2016.

While research regarding homeopathy is unreliable, does it discount the evidence that supports

its effectiveness. This article provides summaries of some of the more recent research in

homeopathy.

Morris, Mary, et al. "Physiotherapy And A Homeopathic Complex For Chronic Low-Back Pain Due To

Osteoarthritis: A Randomized, Controlled Pilot Study." Alternative Therapies In Health & Medicine 22.1

(2016): 48-56. Academic Search Premier. Web. 22 June 2016.

This article discusses how homeopathic remedies may assist in chronic low-back pain produced

by osteoarthritis, in combination with drug therapy and physiotherapy. The study is small, but

results suggest that the combination of homeopathy and physiotherapy can improve symptoms.

Offit, Paul. "Alternative Medicines Are Popular, but Do Any of Them Really Work?." Washington Post. 14

Nov. 2013: n.p. SIRS Issues Researcher.Web. 22 Jun. 2016.

The author of this article looks at the effects of herbs and supplements from various studies.

What are the claims? Do they really work? Some do. In the end, if an herb or supplement works

and has the evidence to support it, it shouldn’t be called alternative medicine, it should just be

called medicine.

Perry, Susan. "Clinical Trials of Unscientific 'Alternative' Medical Treatments

2014: n.p. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 22 Jun. 2016.

"

MinnPost.com. 21 Aug.

Two physicians argue that certain alternative-medicine treatment studies have led to the

influence of pseudoscience into medical academia and have also caused harm to the test

subjects. The doctors call on the research community to stop allowing clinical trials to be used

for “highly implausible” treatments.