Just because Johnnie jumps off a cliff, would you, too?

NIH’s NCCAM released a survey report on the use of complementary and alternative medicine in the US (report PDF here, post at WSJ Health Blog here.) . I don’t know about you but the picture at Health Blog of the child receiving chiropractic manipulation scared the bejeezus out of me.
Overall trends were toward greater use of these unproven approaches, many of which have no basis in science. Most concerning is that one in nine children were estimated to have received a CAM therapy. And from the NCCAM report abstract:

Children whose parent used CAM were almost five times as likely (23.9%) to use CAM as children whose parent did not use CAM (5.1%).

Readers often ask me and other sci/med bloggers why revered academic medical centers are increasingly offering these questionable approaches. The truth is that there is a market for them. A good market. And one that will gladly pay out-of-pocket for such things.
Never mind if the approaches are effective. Or safe. Or can delay treatment with science-based approaches known to be effective.
Smoking, abusing alcohol, using CAM: Just because a lot of kids do it, does that mean it is right for yours to do so as well?

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4 thoughts on “Just because Johnnie jumps off a cliff, would you, too?

  1. Are you serious? I have been seeing a chiropractor for years. He has helped me enormously. My son had a back injury that surgeons wanted to perform surgery on. Several weeks of manipulations and daily exercises have put my teenage son back to normal and playing sports. And isn’t physical therapy an accepted practice? It’s similar in some respects to chiropractic. Alternative medicine works. Didn’t some medicines we use today evolve from the woods? It was alternative medicine then but now that it’s dispensed by docs it’s “real” medicine. Any IBS sufferers out there? ONLY natural therapies work. There are no drugs. This is a very narrow view Mr Pharmboy. Since when do we need “scientific” evidence when real life results are all the evidence you need? Ask around. In many cases alternative therapies are the safest choice and in some cases the ONLY one.

  2. anecdote, anecdote, anecdote. conclusion: CAM WORKS!!
    we don’t need no steenking “scientific” evidence!
    yeah, NO risk to alternative medicine. ever met anyone who was injured further by chiropractic care? i’m married to someone who was. a counter anecdote, what to do now?
    [i’m a little feisty when i’m this caffeinated…]
    i do see a use for fish or flax oil in hypertriglyceridemia. we could not afford a lovaza rx (fda approved concentrated omega-3 for high tg levels) so we substituted fish oil. worked well, pulled hubby’s tg levels out of “undetectably high” range, but it was an idea based in real science.
    though i dug into the cdc report and as expected, hyper-tg’s wasn’t a mentioned issue in children… so this does concern me.

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