Science journals are shilling for the placebo effect? Why is that bad?
Orac (Respectful Insolence) here:
I do, however, feel obligated to deal with one painfully inappropriate action by a major science journal left over from 2014. It happened in an issue that came out just before Christmas, and, with all the festivities, being on call last week, and having houseguests; so, unfortunately, I just didn’t get around to addressing it, either here or on my not-so-super-secret other blog (where I might crosspost this later in the week). The journal is Science, which, as most readers know, is one of the two most prominent general science journals out there, the other being Nature. Actually, it’s appropriate that I mention Nature in this discussion because Nature pulled exactly the same bone-headed move three years ago, almost to the day.
Yes, Nature shilled for traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) by publishing an advertising supplement promoting it sponsored by a Japanese supplement manufacturer. Now it’s Science‘s turn to do the same in the form of—you guessed it!—an advertising supplement entitled The Art and Science of Traditional Medicine Part 1: TCM Today — A Case for Integration. Worse, Science appears to be going Nature one better—two better, in fact. This is the first part of what is promised to be a three part series.
Looks like I have blog material for a while.
Here is a mini three-part series you will not have to wait for:
Note 1: How people feel about their problems—especially if they are old and have chronic illnesses—is great deal of the problem. My Chinese neighbours are convinced of the value of Chinese medicine, and their seniors seem happy with it, so… tell me again what the problem is … ?
Note 2: One of the best attested effects in medicine, no matter what tradition, is the placebo effect: When people think they are getting better, they very often start to get better. No, the placebo effect does not cure cancer. But it plays so great a role in most of the aches and pains of life that no one should be surprised if Chinese medicine works, especially among those whose lifestyle is oriented around its underlying principles. See also: Mind: Just expecting treatment improves brain activity in Parkinson’s patients
Note 3: Like Orac, O’Leary for News also had a lot of stuff to do over the holidays but it all just wasn’t interesting enough to tell you about, if you weren’t there. So instead,
See also: Neuroscience: Illness is partly in your mind, so now the bad news …
Illness is not all in your mind, but a lot of it is
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4 Replies to “Science cheerleader vs. Big Science, and why it all seems to be imploding”
The bible says so too.
Laugher is like a GOOD medicine says the bible. it works. not cure but helps.
Since IU see the memory as most of what we call the brain it makes sense to me that THINKING/memorizing one is better is some things can switch the body to be better.
However I think it would be little, relative to the problems of health,.
Hoever one must also remember a bigger problem in medicine.
So in a backward old Chinese world endless wrong diagnosis would be fixed by wrong remedy’s. People not only can think they are better and get better but think they are better and get better because they were never wrong as some “doctor’ told them.
How many times have doctors screwed me around with wrong ideas. Many.
I suspect placebos work because there was no original problem or as they thought.
Another demonstration of why it is ridiculous for O’Leary to call herself a journalist or label herself writings as news.
The blogosphere and medical literature has plenty of articles discussing the placebo effect. And among other things many articles discuss the ethical questions of prescribing medicine that only has placebo effects as well as why describing placebos just for the placebo effect may be a bad thing.
A real journalist writing real news should probably have made a bit more of an effort to at least find out some of the arguments rather than asking this fake ‘tell me again’ question.
What it demonstrates is that the movers and shakers in the science world are just as susceptible to being manipulated by the prospect of money as anyone else. In fact, they will even publish articles on stuff that is scientifically insupportable if there is any profit in it.
It demonstrates in miniature why the Theory of Evolution continues to get so much airtime: to do otherwise would jeopardise the bottom line.
How so? Can you support any of this conjecture?
How about you show which article here was published that is scientifically insupportable and how (presumably Orac) made profit from that?