Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I'm not a doctor on TV

I saw my dentist yesterday for a chipped crown. As he whirred away polishing the rough edges of my tooth, I tried to imagine what a visit to a holistic dentist would be like.

But before I could conjure any kind of mental picture, he was done and I was on my way. Bloody efficient man.

Who may trace the limits of the set named CAM? It includes prayer, tai chi, smelling nice things, listening to nice music, etc. Who would deny the humans such pleasures? I say, let the humans seek out experiences exotic or familiar that might provoke good feelings and hope for the future.

Seriously, I don't mind any of the hobbies. It's the pretention that the hobby will measurably improve some defined medical condition that I can't abide. We're just not allowed to pretend-play like that, even though it might be fun.

If we lower our evidential standards so marginal effects due to noise are good enough, we'll soon find ourselves overwhelmed with art. How will we cope? We'll likely divide into sects. Some will needle; some will trance. Some will like country. Some will like rock 'n roll.

Aren't we busy enough keeping up with the journals? Why can't we leave the theater to the artists? Must we do everything?


  1. Coincidentally, I went to visit my dentist yesterday for a chipped crown.

    But it was today that I was listening to the radio on the way into work and heard an interview with Dr. David Sackett. He has been described as "one of the world's leading authorities on evidence-based medicine."
    He was being interviewed because he just won the the Gairdner Wightman Award (also known as the 'Baby Nobels')

    He was talking about "helping smart doctors stop prescribing dumb treatments."


    I looked him up and found this:

    I'm not sure if you know of him but I thought I would share this.
    It is somewhat encouraging, no?

  2. Just found your blog as I was trying to research Dr. kenneth Bock. Parent brought the book to me hoping to find a "cure" for her adopted son's ADD/asthma. Told her I wasn't familiar with this particular author, but that we need to be a bit cautious about alternative treatments for these conditions. Lots of snake oil out there including expensive stuff like chelation. Lo and behold - chelation is the sort of thing Dr. Bock & bro advocate.

    As a pediatrician, I see limitations to the Western medicine I was taught in med school. Have held firm in my beliefs such as the autism vs. vaccine argument: the medical evidence is pretty clear that vaccines don't cause it - despite being bombarded daily by the latest celebrity to endorse this cause. So I'm wondering, are there medical practices outside of western medicine that could be helpful to patients when western med fails? Typing this - it sounds like a niave question and maybe I'm on a slippery slope here - but i feel duty-bound to sort through what's worthwhile and what's not.