Alternative Medicine —“Whether goest thou..?”

I have always wondered why, we the public, view our celebrities with more credit than they maybe deserve, and how we assume that expertise in one field automatically indicates expertise in another unrelated one. Actors, Oscar winners and others rightly and freely express their opinions on matters unrelated to the Arts and we make the mistake of taking these opinions more seriously than if they had been made by Joe Public. Perhaps, on reading this and my other blog posts, you might rightly agree that my expertise as a Board Certified Orthopaedic surgeon does not necessarily translate to expertise in writing blogs.

In my opinion, this faulty thinking can occur in Medicine in general and specifically in the field of Alternative Medicine, as exampled in popular TV shows, YouTube videos and on the internet publicizing and promoting medical items from mattresses, diet supplements, to all things medical. Often these productions start by expounding correctly and accurately on the author’s expertise and qualifications in their health area and then for this author to speak authoritatively on topics outside their specialty area. We are then tempted to accept their expertise in these and other areas outside their field. Further searching will find videos debating these experts and one stating, “What used to be Fraud is Now Alternative Medicine.”

That certainly is not my opinion, as legitimate health care professionals in Alternative Medicine first do blood studies to determine specific deficiencies before prescribing the appropriate supplements, then do follow-up blood studies to monitor effects and benefits. Otherwise the only way to judge supplements is the patient’s subjective responses.

However, I strongly believe that whatever makes a patient feel better has some legitimacy.

Alternative Medicine rightly has its ardent patients enjoying its benefits but I believe there is a need to have objective studies and evidence to back up their many successful subjective results.

 

-Anthony Dwyer, M.D.

 

(The opinions stated in this blog are those of the author Dr. Anthony Dwyer and not necessarily those of the American College of Spine Surgery).

 

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