So did anyone read that article I posted on ‘alternative engineering’? If you did not, I suggest you do, as it is very funny and interesting and written by a very brilliant MD.
It was meant to be a satirical commentary on ‘alternative medicine’ – Dr. Novella was essentially mocking the notion of ‘medicine’ that has no scientific basis, and moreover, the fact that the media will report on seemingly anything with the unbiased tone that is generally beneficial, but can actually be quite troublesome when people rely upon the media for information regarding choices about their health – and are offered information that is at the very least inaccurate, but at the very worst, dangerous.
I don’t think the media at large’s inadequate scientific reporting is limited to medicine, as I’m quite sure that most of us have read articles that make overly-generalized and statistically inaccurate statements regarding recently published research, but I do think that in the realm of medicine, when it involves actual well-being, that the media really needs to take their role in public health more seriously.
Dr. Novella illustrates this point well when he discusses ‘alternative engineering’, highlighting the fact that building bridges not based upon science is dangerous and really a rather ridiculous notion. I think he also does a nice job of conveying the tone that tends to accompany articles reporting on ‘alternative’ treatments, which is that research–proof, validity–are stuffy concepts that are the result of close-minded professors and scientists.
Do other people feel this way or is it just me?
It is truly worrisome, because the fact of the matter is that most people don’t take to heart the statement “don’t believe everything you read” and DO in fact treat scientifically-oriented articles as though they were written by someone who knows what the hell they’re talking about. That sounds a bit harsh, but the misconceptions out there regarding medicine are quite numerous, and at least some of this can probably be attributed to popular media.
It is not as though I would advocate NOT reporting on acupuncture or reiki healing, it is just that I wish it would be done with the clarity necessary to convey to the audience that they should treat this not as science or something that has any medical relevance, but something that is interesting and intriguing – like more of a human interest story than reporting upon healthcare options.
To be fair, I know that there are some really wonderful medical and science journalists out there, I am just a tad frustrated about this today because I am trying to write an article about alternative medicine and I am having an extremely difficult time toning down my frustrated tone – as you may or may not know, sometimes my tone in writing is not what I would like it to be! ;-) BOOO.
Anyway, I am interested to see if any of you guys buy the idea that acupuncture or chiropractic therapy are valid treatments – one of my customers actually got quite offended when I mentioned that chiropractors are big quacks (just kidding, I am polite in real life, believe it or not) – but it does surprise me that people think ‘alternative’ treatments are medically valid.
What do you think? Have you participated in alternative medical practices? Or do you know anyone who has? I’m especially interested in the supa New-Agey ones, like Reiki (which is ‘energy healing.’)
Apparently most of the people that stumble upon my blog are looking for information on marijuana, but if that is not your reason for reading this (or even if it is!) I would love to hear any thoughts on this!