Snake Oil popular Science: The Truth about Complementary and wholesale Alternative Medicine outlet sale

Snake Oil popular Science: The Truth about Complementary and wholesale Alternative Medicine outlet sale

Snake Oil popular Science: The Truth about Complementary and wholesale Alternative Medicine outlet sale
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Description

Product Description

Millions of people worldwide swear by such therapies as acupuncture, herbal cures, and homeopathic remedies. Indeed, complementary and alternative medicine is embraced by a broad spectrum of society, from ordinary people, to scientists and physicians, to celebrities such as Prince Charles and
Oprah Winfrey.
In the tradition of Michael Shermers Why People Believe Weird Things and Robert Parks''s Voodoo Science, Barker Bausell provides an engaging look at the scientific evidence for complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and at the logical, psychological, and physiological pitfalls that lead
otherwise intelligent people--including researchers, physicians, and therapists--to endorse these cures. The books ultimate goal is to reveal not whether these therapies work--as Bausell explains, most do work, although weakly and temporarily--but whether they work for the reasons their proponents
believe. Indeed, as Bausell reveals, it is the placebo effect that accounts for most of the positive results. He explores this remarkable phenomenon--the biological and chemical evidence for the placebo effect, how it works in the body, and why research on any therapy that does not factor in the
placebo effect will inevitably produce false results. By contrast, as Bausell shows in an impressive survey of research from high-quality scientific journals and systematic reviews, studies employing credible placebo controls do not indicate positive effects for CAM therapies over and above those
attributable to random chance.
Here is not only an entertaining critique of the strangely zealous world of CAM belief and practice, but it also a first-rate introduction to how to correctly interpret scientific research of any sort. Readers will come away with a solid understanding of good vs. bad research practice and a
healthy skepticism of claims about the latest miracle cure, be it St. John''s Wort for depression or acupuncture for chronic pain.

From Publishers Weekly

A biostatistician, author and Senior Research Methodologist at the University of Maryland, Bausell looks at the alternative methods used by more than 36 percent of Americans to treat pain and illness by posing the question, "Is any complementary and alternative medical therapy more effective than a placebo?" In short, his answer is no; what, then, is actually happening in patients (and professionals) who swear by the medical utility of such complementary and alternative medicines ("CAMs") as acupuncture, deep breathing exercises and megavitamin therapy? Step by step, Bausell builds a rigorous case against CAM, beginning with a look at the history of CAMs and placebos, then the "poorly trained scientists" and flawed studies (among more than 300 analyzed for this book) that have historically supported CAM''s efficacy. A breakdown of the placebo effect''s hows and whys follows (are people hardwired for susceptibility?), along with a look at "high-quality studies" and "systematic reviews" (including an Italian study that finds natural opioid secretion in the brain responsible for the perceived benefits of placebos) which largely support Bausell''s answer. Entertaining and informative, with plenty of diverting anecdotal examples, Bausell offers non-professionals and pros a thorough look at the science on CAM, along with a complementary lesson in the methods of good medical research.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review


"Hang up your lantern Diogenes, an honest man has been found. Barker Bausell, a biostatistician, has stepped out of the shadows to give us an insider''s look at how clinical evidence is manipulated to package and market the placebo effect. Labeled as "complementary and alternative medicine," the
placebo effect is being sold not just to a gullible public, but to an increasing number of health professionals as well. Bausell knows every trick, and explains them in clear language." -- Robert L. Park, Ph.D., Professor of Physics, University of Maryland, and author of Voodoo Science: The Road
from Foolishness to Fraud


"At Skeptic magazine there is no topic for which we receive more requests to comment on than alternative and complementary medicine. It is big business with big claims and big demands on it to produce, but there is very little science behind most of it. Unfortunately, what has long been lacking is a
well-written, clear, and concise analysis of its major claims to which we can direct our readers. That problem has now been remedied by R. Barker Bausell''s authoritative and highly readable analysis Snake Oil Science, which should be read by anyone contemplating the use of any of the hundreds of
alternative and complementary medical treatments out there that promise hope but usually deliver disappointment."-- Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine, monthly columnist for Scientific American, and the author of Why People Believe Weird Things


"Anyone who reads Bausell''s rigorous scientific analysis of the risks and benefits of complementary and alternative medicine will be left wondering why they are spending so much on so many useless products."-- Jerome P. Kassirer, M.D., Tufts University School of Medicine, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus,
New England Journal of Medicine, and author of On the Take: How Medicine''s Complicity with Big Business Can Endanger Your Health


"The book is aimed at the consumer, and it is written in a simple, entertaining style such that the consumer will understand it and enjoy reading it. So the consumer should and, I''m sure, will buy this book. But in addition I would also warmly recommend it to healthcare professionals who work in CAM
or have an interest in this area. They will not easily find a harder hitting, more eloquent, or smarter critique of CAM!"-- Edzard Ernst, M.D., Ph.D., Complementary Medicine, Peninsula Medical School, UK


"Readable, entertaining and immensely educational...[Bausell] writes with a sense of humor and palpable compassion for all involved."-- New York Times


"...An overview of alternative and complementary treatments. [Bausell] explains why most such treatments can''t possibly do what their proponents claim, but he rarely takes on the scoffing tone that many skeptics use when discussing these issues."-- ScienceNews


"His book is highly informative, easy to read and full of entertaining wit and humor...I warmly recommend it to healthcare professionals who work in CAM or have an interest in this area. One would have to search hard and long to find a more eloquent or intelligent critique of CAM!"-- Focus on
Alternative and Complementary Therapies


"Hang up your lantern Diogenes, an honest man has been found. Barker Bausell, a biostatistician, has stepped out of the shadows to give us an insider''s look at how clinical evidence is manipulated to package and market the placebo effect. Labeled as "complementary and alternative medicine," the
placebo effect is being sold not just to a gullible public, but to an increasing number of health professionals as well. Bausell knows every trick, and explains them in clear language." -- Robert L. Park, Ph.D., Professor of Physics, University of Maryland, and author of Voodoo Science: The Road
from Foolishness to Fraud


"At Skeptic magazine there is no topic for which we receive more requests to comment on than alternative and complementary medicine. It is big business with big claims and big demands on it to produce, but there is very little science behind most of it. Unfortunately, what has long been lacking is a
well-written, clear, and concise analysis of its major claims to which we can direct our readers. That problem has now been remedied by R. Barker Bausell''s authoritative and highly readable analysis Snake Oil Science, which should be read by anyone contemplating the use of any of the hundreds of
alternative and complementary medical treatments out there that promise hope but usually deliver disappointment."-- Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine, monthly columnist for Scientific American, and the author of Why People Believe Weird Things


"Anyone who reads Bausell''s rigorous scientific analysis of the risks and benefits of complementary and alternative medicine will be left wondering why they are spending so much on so many useless products."-- Jerome P. Kassirer, M.D., Tufts University School of Medicine, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus,
New England Journal of Medicine, and author of On the Take: How Medicine''s Complicity with Big Business Can Endanger Your Health


"The book is aimed at the consumer, and it is written in a simple, entertaining style such that the consumer will understand it and enjoy reading it. So the consumer should and, I''m sure, will buy this book. But in addition I would also warmly recommend it to healthcare professionals who work in CAM
or have an interest in this area. They will not easily find a harder hitting, more eloquent, or smarter critique of CAM!"-- Edzard Ernst, M.D., Ph.D., Complementary Medicine, Peninsula Medical School, UK


"Readable, entertaining and immensely educational...[Bausell] writes with a sense of humor and palpable compassion for all involved."-- New York Times


"...An overview of alternative and complementary treatments. [Bausell] explains why most such treatments can''t possibly do what their proponents claim, but he rarely takes on the scoffing tone that many skeptics use when discussing these issues."-- ScienceNews


"His book is highly informative, easy to read and full of entertaining wit and humor...I warmly recommend it to healthcare professionals who work in CAM or have an interest in this area. One would have to search hard and long to find a more eloquent or intelligent critique of CAM!"-- Focus on
Alternative and Complementary Therapies


"....[a] readable study of the science behind the placebo effect..."-- The New York Times Book Review


About the Author


R. Barker Bausell, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Maryland Baltimore, was Research Director of a National Institutes of Health-funded Complementary and Alternative Medicine Specialized Research Center where he was in charge of conducting and analyzing randomized clinical trials involving
acupuncture''s effectiveness for pain relief. He has also served as a consultant to Prevention and Discover magazines.

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4.2 out of 54.2 out of 5
74 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

todd french
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great science writer debunks CAM...ultimately becomes straw man argument
Reviewed in the United States on March 15, 2017
I bought this book on the strength of its stellar reviews and gave it three stars because it quite deftly approaches what I (and many other skeptics) consider to be a very important topic-that is-the fleecing of the public by sham healers, shamans and other miscellaneous... See more
I bought this book on the strength of its stellar reviews and gave it three stars because it quite deftly approaches what I (and many other skeptics) consider to be a very important topic-that is-the fleecing of the public by sham healers, shamans and other miscellaneous practitioners under the heading of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (CAM for short). Out of the gate Bausell clearly articulates the need for controlled scientific research and backs this up with descriptions of good scientific practice and provides examples of how difficult it is to demonstrate causality under the most rigorous conditions, which is especially difficult for CAM practices like Acupuncture. However, as the book progresses, Bausell shows that he did not read his Strunk and White and begins inserting himself into the story with little humorous asides and self-effacing remarks-( dear reader, your humble author, etc).. -that become more frequent and begin to clearly show his bias against CAM. Mind you, I am on his side, but what happens here is a straw man argument in which Bausell shows his biases all too clearly and lampoons CAM ever more frequently, in more and more brazen ways. As a scientist and an expert in research methodology he should know that simply providing the data on CAM give more than enough rope to hang his nemesis. His tactics instead provide CAM supporters fuel to justifiably call this book a smear campaign against their practices- rather than a skilled use of the scientific method to debunk them. Don''t get me wrong: the author lays out what I consider to be an incredibly strong case that CAM provides little more than a vehicle for the placebo effect. But the temptation to be witty and to parody CAM instead shows the author''s biases, hence calling into question his objectivity. Mr Bausell, I hope you see this review and edit your book to remove these silly, self-indulgent quips that detract from the real substance of the publication. Just a description of some of these CAM therapies is enough to make them look as ridiculous as they indeed are: "Application of leeches for knee pain"-need you add anything to make that sillier?
6 people found this helpful
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Kitty L.
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
You''ll learn a lot about the placebo effect and research methodology.
Reviewed in the United States on November 28, 2014
First of all, the title of this book is more inflammatory than Dr. Bausell''s actual tone in the book. He does get a little sarcastic, but the bulk of the book is him laying out the scientific evidence and explaining how it was gathered and how to evaluate it. I skimmed some... See more
First of all, the title of this book is more inflammatory than Dr. Bausell''s actual tone in the book. He does get a little sarcastic, but the bulk of the book is him laying out the scientific evidence and explaining how it was gathered and how to evaluate it. I skimmed some of his explanations of methodology and statistics, because he goes into a lot of detail that didn''t mean much to me as a layperson, but I appreciate that he tried to explain those things to give as transparent a look at the evidence as possible. He sets out to answer four questions: Is there such a thing as a placebo effect? Is there a physical explanation for how it works? Is CAM demonstrably better than a placebo? and Is there a physical explanation for how CAM works? (Spoilers: yes, yes, no, no.) The value of this book is in how he reaches those conclusions.
4 people found this helpful
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Mark M
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
This is an interesting and very readable discussion of the ...
Reviewed in the United States on April 2, 2015
This is an interesting and very readable discussion of the placebo effect and the quality of research regarding alternative medicine. Note that the book isn''t some sort of journalistic investigation of the alternative medicine industry and its practitioners and promoters.... See more
This is an interesting and very readable discussion of the placebo effect and the quality of research regarding alternative medicine. Note that the book isn''t some sort of journalistic investigation of the alternative medicine industry and its practitioners and promoters. Instead it seeks to explain scientific methods of evaluating the effectiveness of treatments; to discuss the low level of scientific verification of alternative medicine practices; and to explain why so many people might think they have been helped by treatments even if the treatments are, in fact, no more effective than a placebo.
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John P.
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The title says it all
Reviewed in the United States on December 5, 2016
Very understandable information on the scientific methods necessary for discerning whether the treatment for an ailment is really effective or merely the result of the psychological placebo effect. Genuine medicine relies upon scientific, well-designed statistical methods... See more
Very understandable information on the scientific methods necessary for discerning whether the treatment for an ailment is really effective or merely the result of the psychological placebo effect. Genuine medicine relies upon scientific, well-designed statistical methods to evaluate the effectiveness of treatments while allowing for the inevitable blurring of results by the placebo effect. This book should be read by anyone considering "alternative medicine" to treat any ailment. The title of the book says it all.
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Kevin Currie-Knight
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
An Outstanding Book to Explain How Science Works and How CAM Doesn''t
Reviewed in the United States on October 23, 2008
R. Barker Bausell is a biostatistician who worked for the NIH''s Complimentary Medicine Program, which was designed to test the efficacy of Contemporary and Aleternative Medicine (CAM). As a biostatistician, Bausell is the one who designs studies so that they are as fair and... See more
R. Barker Bausell is a biostatistician who worked for the NIH''s Complimentary Medicine Program, which was designed to test the efficacy of Contemporary and Aleternative Medicine (CAM). As a biostatistician, Bausell is the one who designs studies so that they are as fair and unbiased as possible. His big "beef" with CAM? That the less biased the study, the less effective CAM seems to be.

This book has several strenghts and several weaknesses. I will go into the strengths first.

STENGTHS:
First, while the book suggests that it is primarily about ''debunking'' alternative medicines, the bulk of the book is spent talking about how effective studies are designed and different things that can undermine the validity of studies (small sample sizes, shoddy control/placebo treatments, attrition). In short, this book offers a VERY good explanation of how science works. (Only after explaining how good studies are designed does our author go on to suggest that most CAM studies are quite poorly designed.)

This book spends a lot of time talking about the ''placebo effect,'' a large player in CAM research. The placebo effect is a (generally) psychological effect where the person experiences betterment SOLELY from having any kind of treatment at all (even a sugar pill). Our author''s point with explaining the placebo effect is to suggest that well-designed CAM studies point to one conclusion: that most CAM treatments are only as effective as any other placebo (incorrectly performed accupuncture is as effective as ''legitimate'' acupuncture, not because accupuncture works, but because the subject wants or expects it to work).

The author is very far from biased. Despite its outragous title, Snake Oil Science is not a ''gotcha'' book written by a mean-spirited and fun-poking author. The discourse is very professional and fair. The author never ''slams'' CAM, but only suggests that CAM has ALOT of work to do in order to prove itself, assuming that it can.

WEAKNESSES:
For those wanting a comprehensive discussion ''debunking'' CAM treatments and remedies, this book - again, despite its title - will not be satisfying. The author, a biostatistician, spends so much time talking about how to design a good study, how to spot a bad one, and adding caveat after caveat, that only one (and a half) chapters really discuss what the research actually saya. Really, the book should have been subtitled, "A primer on the methodology of clinical studies."

For those who want a somewhat friendly and relatively non-academic read, this book probably is not it. The author certainly tries to bring it down to non-specialist language, but when talking about statistics, controls, variables, and confounds, technical jargon and dry verbiage ls unavoidable. While this book is certialy informative about how clinical trials are designed, the placebo effect, and explaining why most CAM studies are poorly and hastily done, it is a somewhat dry read.

So, there you have it. If you want to become more familiar with how the medical profession tests their treatments (and compare it to how CAM proponents ''test'' their treatments) this is a very good and exciting book. If you are looking for a good old-fashioned Shermer and Randi style ''debunking'' of CAM, there are several other books you are better to read than this one. (Try "Trick or Treatment: The Undeniable Facts About Alternative Medicine.")
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Bean
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Very good book
Reviewed in the United States on February 15, 2021
Well written, and backed with plenty of data. I really enjoyed reading this and think that the lessons inside are very important these days.
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Smith's Rock
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Incongruous Title For a Deeply Informative Book
Reviewed in the United States on September 12, 2010
R. Barker Bausell is the Immanuel Kant of research methodologists, albeit with a considerably better sense of humor and lucidity of prose than Kant displayed in his writings. With the implacability of a Sherman tank, Bausell does an amazing, and possibly unparalleled, job... See more
R. Barker Bausell is the Immanuel Kant of research methodologists, albeit with a considerably better sense of humor and lucidity of prose than Kant displayed in his writings. With the implacability of a Sherman tank, Bausell does an amazing, and possibly unparalleled, job of categorizing and describing the various treatments and theories that comprise complementary and alternative medicine, then relentlessly applies the highest methodological standards of research to examine the effectiveness of CAM therapies. Result? Many CAM therapies DO work, with no more and no less effectiveness than placebos. It''s a fine but important distinction that Bausell makes in this somewhat dry, somewhat repetitive, and nonetheless highly informative book: he is NOT saying that CAM therapies don''t work, he is saying that they work as well as, and probably because of, the placebo effect. And placebos do give relief of symptoms in often dramatic, but time-limited fashion.

Bausell, as an employee of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, notes that the insistence on funding only high quality scientifically rigorous controlled clinical trials of CAM therapies induced "a crisis that has occurred many times in the history of science: a collision between science and belief". This book tells that tale.

Snake Oil Science is superlative when respectfully discussing the many unconscious biases that distort the pursuit of verifiable medical knowledge. Contrary to the negative connotations of the title of his book, Bausell is quite respectful of the practitioners of CAM, and those who seek such treatments. His quest has nothing to do with the vilification of those who believe in CAM related arts, and everything to do with whether or not CAM offers anything beyond the placebo effect. A highly qualified juggernaut in his field of research methodology, Bausell''s description of the history of the scientific method, and the excellent methods that have been developed to rate the quality of any given study that is published, is fascinating. Though I''m a family physician that reads studies by the bushel, I had never heard of the Jadad Quality Scale, or the CONSORT standards, both of which can be used as standards for the evaluation of the quality a given study. Though I do use the invaluable Cochrane reviews in attempts to separate valuable medical wheat from the profligate chaff of industry sponsored research, readers unfamiliar with the historical significance of the Cochrane Collaboration will get a warm and thorough introduction to it in Snake Oil Science.

Bausell''s book is highly unusual, if not unique, in the gentility with which the powder keg subject of complementary and alternative medicine is approached. The author eschews sarcasm and condescension in his quest for the truth about CAM, though his frustration with demands that CAM be applied to a different (less rigorous) standard of evaluation than other areas of medicine is sometimes evident.

Weaknesses? I have to think that Bausell''s editor was asleep at the switch, allowing the book to derail into a sometimes tiresome repetitiveness as well as a pacing that plods when the average reader has grasped the point and has sprinted onward. The title of the book belies its contents: the use of words "snake oil" strongly implies shysterism and fraud, while the contents of the book barely touch on this subject. Though the field of CAM certainly has its share of shysters, so does my own allopathic branch of medicine. Why is this important? Snake Oil Medicine, shortened and retitled, has the capacity to change the minds of many people that lack a scaffolding to use when evaluating the worth of any particular medical therapy. The ideal way to spread knowledge is not to preach to the choir, but to reach people where they intellectually live. This book has some unrealized potential in this respect.

It is probably fair to say that all humans seek some form of the truth. It is also without question that humans use very different standards when they apply the word "TRUE" to a hypothesis. Our everyday lives are filled with examples of the resulting confusion. Using one standard of verifiability allows authors to write many volumes (which happen to sell fairly well) about angels, without having to bother about the distinction between fiction and non-fiction. Using a more rigorous standard of verifiability, the only non-fiction thing one can say about angels is that there is no evidence for their existence that would conform to CONSORT standards, or any studies documenting the existence of angels that can get out of the basement on the Jadad Quality Scale.

Humans that seek truth with their metaphorical hearts, and then reason backward to a conclusion, best not bother with this book. Those who have sworn allegiance to scientific method, or are inclined to lean on scientific method to temper the yearnings of the heart, will find richness in this book despite its flaws. Health care providers that have felt shackled by the political incorrectness of asking whether CAM is pseudo-science will feel freed to speak again. Those that lack an agenda, but are simply seeking a reliable way of establishing efficacy of treatments will be deeply rewarded by the effort expended in reading this highly valuable book.
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mariariarian
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
An excellent beginner''s guide to scientific trials
Reviewed in the United States on November 1, 2014
What I liked most about this book is how closely it explained the scientific process: what it takes to do a proper test of efficacy and what happens when you don''t, and all the variables that contribute to false positives. I knew some of it, sort of, but this book cleared... See more
What I liked most about this book is how closely it explained the scientific process: what it takes to do a proper test of efficacy and what happens when you don''t, and all the variables that contribute to false positives. I knew some of it, sort of, but this book cleared up a lot of fuzzy knowledge.

Sadly, the belief in alternative medicine is akin to a religion, and convincing people of their folly might be impossible, but this book is an excellent guide for someone who really wants to understand how placebos work.
3 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

Victoria Guy
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Finally
Reviewed in Canada on December 9, 2015
I found Bausell''s analysis of CAM refreshing and well considered. Although I have used the physiological question to decide for myself whether a therapy sounds plausible or not, I didn''t think of it as part of an overall process, but just common sense. It truly amazes me,...See more
I found Bausell''s analysis of CAM refreshing and well considered. Although I have used the physiological question to decide for myself whether a therapy sounds plausible or not, I didn''t think of it as part of an overall process, but just common sense. It truly amazes me, and likely always will, the numbers of individuals that "believe" in treatments (amongst other thing) that are simply a form of smoke and mirrors. Thank you for your effort in educating the public, and attempting to bring the world (kicking and scream no doubt) into the present.
I found Bausell''s analysis of CAM refreshing and well considered. Although I have used the physiological question to decide for myself whether a therapy sounds plausible or not, I didn''t think of it as part of an overall process, but just common sense. It truly amazes me, and likely always will, the numbers of individuals that "believe" in treatments (amongst other thing) that are simply a form of smoke and mirrors. Thank you for your effort in educating the public, and attempting to bring the world (kicking and scream no doubt) into the present.
One person found this helpful
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kb
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Wirkt Alternativmedizin, und wie finden wir''s raus?
Reviewed in Germany on June 2, 2009
Warum glauben so viele - durchaus kluge - Menschen an so viele verschiedene (und oft widersprüchliche) Alternativmedizin-Methoden, egal wie gut ihre Wirkungslosigkeit belegt ist, und egal wie unplausibel ihre behauptete Funktionsweise ist? Das ist eine Frage, die sehr stark...See more
Warum glauben so viele - durchaus kluge - Menschen an so viele verschiedene (und oft widersprüchliche) Alternativmedizin-Methoden, egal wie gut ihre Wirkungslosigkeit belegt ist, und egal wie unplausibel ihre behauptete Funktionsweise ist? Das ist eine Frage, die sehr stark mit unserer Wahrnehmung und dem Wesen von Krankheiten und Behandlungen zu tun hat. Prof. Bausell, Statistiker und Spezialist für klinische Studien, baut sein Buch sehr gut strukturiert und sorgfältig auf, vergisst aber nie auf plastische Beispiele und eine Prise Humor. Medizinische Vorkenntnisse sind nicht nötig, trotzdem sollte das Buch auch für Ärzte interessant sein. Die Hauptfragen sind: - Warum glauben Laien und Mediziner an die Wirksamkeit von Alternativtherapien? - Welche Effekte vernebeln unsere Wahrnehmung und hindern uns, seriöse Urteile zu treffen? - Wie sieht ein Studiendesign aus, das diese Effekte vermindert? Was macht eine gute klinische Studie aus, woran erkennt man eine schlechte? - Was hat es mit dem Placebo-Effekt auf sich? Alles nur Einbildung, oder mehr? - Was sagt nun die wissenschaftliche Evidenz für Alternativmedizin? Wie ist die Qualität der verfügbaren Studien? Was sagen die (sehr) wenigen methodisch guten Studien, die es gibt? Ein Vergleich zu Singh/Ernsts Trick or Treatment drängt sich auf: beide Bücher handeln vom selben Thema, beide sind ungefähr zur gleichen Zeit erschienen, beide "populärwissenschaftlich" ausgelegt. Der Unterschied? Snake Oil Science ist sicherlich der trockenere Text und geht bei seinem Hauptthema - dem Design und der Interpretation aussagekräftiger klinischer Studien und den vielen Fallen, die dabei lauern - deutlich mehr in die Tiefe. Während Ernst und Singh ihr Buch als spannende Rundreise durch die Alternativheilungs-Landschaft mit historischen Anekdoten und Lehren aufbauen, versucht Bausell stärker das Allgemeine und Wiederverwendbare herauszuarbeiten. Also weniger Unterhaltung und Konsumentenservice, dafür mehr Stoff zum Nachdenken. Ein Kritikpunkt zum Schluss: der knallige Titel lässt einen polemischen Rundumschlag gegen Alternativmedizin und ihre Anhänger befürchten. Davon kann aber gar keine Rede sein. Obwohl Bausells Urteil über die (spezifische und anhaltende) Wirksamkeit von CAM fast uneingeschränkt negativ ausfällt, bleibt er sachlich und mitfühlend gegenüber jenen Menschen, die sich an die Hoffnung klammern.
Warum glauben so viele - durchaus kluge - Menschen an so viele verschiedene (und oft widersprüchliche) Alternativmedizin-Methoden, egal wie gut ihre Wirkungslosigkeit belegt ist, und egal wie unplausibel ihre behauptete Funktionsweise ist? Das ist eine Frage, die sehr stark mit unserer Wahrnehmung und dem Wesen von Krankheiten und Behandlungen zu tun hat.

Prof. Bausell, Statistiker und Spezialist für klinische Studien, baut sein Buch sehr gut strukturiert und sorgfältig auf, vergisst aber nie auf plastische Beispiele und eine Prise Humor. Medizinische Vorkenntnisse sind nicht nötig, trotzdem sollte das Buch auch für Ärzte interessant sein. Die Hauptfragen sind:

- Warum glauben Laien und Mediziner an die Wirksamkeit von Alternativtherapien?
- Welche Effekte vernebeln unsere Wahrnehmung und hindern uns, seriöse Urteile zu treffen?
- Wie sieht ein Studiendesign aus, das diese Effekte vermindert? Was macht eine gute klinische Studie aus, woran erkennt man eine schlechte?
- Was hat es mit dem Placebo-Effekt auf sich? Alles nur Einbildung, oder mehr?
- Was sagt nun die wissenschaftliche Evidenz für Alternativmedizin? Wie ist die Qualität der verfügbaren Studien? Was sagen die (sehr) wenigen methodisch guten Studien, die es gibt?

Ein Vergleich zu Singh/Ernsts Trick or Treatment drängt sich auf: beide Bücher handeln vom selben Thema, beide sind ungefähr zur gleichen Zeit erschienen, beide "populärwissenschaftlich" ausgelegt. Der Unterschied? Snake Oil Science ist sicherlich der trockenere Text und geht bei seinem Hauptthema - dem Design und der Interpretation aussagekräftiger klinischer Studien und den vielen Fallen, die dabei lauern - deutlich mehr in die Tiefe. Während Ernst und Singh ihr Buch als spannende Rundreise durch die Alternativheilungs-Landschaft mit historischen Anekdoten und Lehren aufbauen, versucht Bausell stärker das Allgemeine und Wiederverwendbare herauszuarbeiten. Also weniger Unterhaltung und Konsumentenservice, dafür mehr Stoff zum Nachdenken.

Ein Kritikpunkt zum Schluss: der knallige Titel lässt einen polemischen Rundumschlag gegen Alternativmedizin und ihre Anhänger befürchten. Davon kann aber gar keine Rede sein. Obwohl Bausells Urteil über die (spezifische und anhaltende) Wirksamkeit von CAM fast uneingeschränkt negativ ausfällt, bleibt er sachlich und mitfühlend gegenüber jenen Menschen, die sich an die Hoffnung klammern.
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The One Who Talks
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Hard but rewarding.
Reviewed in Germany on January 4, 2018
This book is hard read especially the later chapters where a lot of research is presented about big amount of alternative medicines. If you read all of it you will be rewarded with new insights about health and even deception.
This book is hard read especially the later chapters where a lot of research is presented about big amount of alternative medicines. If you read all of it you will be rewarded with new insights about health and even deception.
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Strider
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Essential reading for all research interested CAM therapists
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 4, 2013
I found this book a terrifically good read. It clearly explains the issues of researching CAM, through illustrating the poor quality ''research'' which has already been done, and which does not support the wild claims of some CAM modalities. It tackles the issue of placebo...See more
I found this book a terrifically good read. It clearly explains the issues of researching CAM, through illustrating the poor quality ''research'' which has already been done, and which does not support the wild claims of some CAM modalities. It tackles the issue of placebo control in CAM in a balanced way, and is written in a light hearted and amusing style without dodging the issues. I loved it. By the way, I''m a CAM therapist and researcher, with an enquiring mind, frustrated by the waffle and desperate to raise the bar in CAM research. This book should be required reading for anyone serious about researching CAM properly.
I found this book a terrifically good read. It clearly explains the issues of researching CAM, through illustrating the poor quality ''research'' which has already been done, and which does not support the wild claims of some CAM modalities. It tackles the issue of placebo control in CAM in a balanced way, and is written in a light hearted and amusing style without dodging the issues. I loved it. By the way, I''m a CAM therapist and researcher, with an enquiring mind, frustrated by the waffle and desperate to raise the bar in CAM research. This book should be required reading for anyone serious about researching CAM properly.
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Caroline Richmond
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Cogent and fair-minded
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 20, 2008
I found this to be a splendidly well-written, comprehensive and fair-minded book. It is also witty. It''s long enough to cover the ground, but not too long. The publisher has done the author a disservice by using a hard-to-read sans-serif typeface and very light printing,...See more
I found this to be a splendidly well-written, comprehensive and fair-minded book. It is also witty. It''s long enough to cover the ground, but not too long. The publisher has done the author a disservice by using a hard-to-read sans-serif typeface and very light printing, which made the book hard to read. I hope they will go over to a conventional typeface for the paperback edition (and I''ll buy a copy if they do).
I found this to be a splendidly well-written, comprehensive and fair-minded book. It is also witty. It''s long enough to cover the ground, but not too long.
The publisher has done the author a disservice by using a hard-to-read sans-serif typeface and very light printing, which made the book hard to read. I hope they will go over to a conventional typeface for the paperback edition (and I''ll buy a copy if they do).
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Snake Oil popular Science: The Truth about Complementary and wholesale Alternative Medicine outlet sale

Snake Oil popular Science: The Truth about Complementary and wholesale Alternative Medicine outlet sale

Snake Oil popular Science: The Truth about Complementary and wholesale Alternative Medicine outlet sale

Snake Oil popular Science: The Truth about Complementary and wholesale Alternative Medicine outlet sale

Snake Oil popular Science: The Truth about Complementary and wholesale Alternative Medicine outlet sale

Snake Oil popular Science: The Truth about Complementary and wholesale Alternative Medicine outlet sale

Snake Oil popular Science: The Truth about Complementary and wholesale Alternative Medicine outlet sale

Snake Oil popular Science: The Truth about Complementary and wholesale Alternative Medicine outlet sale

Snake Oil popular Science: The Truth about Complementary and wholesale Alternative Medicine outlet sale