Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Medical students’ skulls being filled with mush

Student BMJ is a journal for medical students from the BMJ publishing group. In the November 2005 issue is an article on an alternative modality called Ayurvedic medicine. Ayruveda, the article says, is an ancient healing tradition with roots in India. It goes on to say that Ayruvedic tradition describes health and disease in terms of three fundamental constitutional principles called the doshas. Stephen Barrett’s expose on Ayruveda reports that “Ayurvedic proponents have claimed that the symptoms of disease are always related to the balance of the doshas, which can be determined by feeling the patient's wrist pulse or completing a questionnaire. Some proponents claim (incorrectly) that the pulse can be used to detect diabetes, cancer, musculoskeletal disease, asthma, and ‘imbalances at early stages when there may be no other clinical signs and when mild forms of intervention may suffice.’”
The BMJ publishing group, a division of the British Medical Association, says its mission is "To publish intellectually sound material that will serve the needs of doctors, members, other health professionals, the scientific community, and the public." Its premier journal, BMJ, is widely regarded as a champion of evidence based medicine. So why might a paper on an ancient healing art be published in Student BMJ? To increase students’ cultural awareness, or to alert them to the alternative treatments patients are seeking, perhaps? No. This article in SBMJ actually promotes Ayruveda. The article asks “Is scientific medicine the only way?” The author notes “Studying Ayurveda provided me with an alternative system for categorising and describing states of health and disease.”
So much for intellectually sound material.

4 comments:

shrinkette said...

I'm guessing that most students are just studying enough about this to pass their course, and move on. Many are probably just laughing about it, and collecting fodder for their year-end skits (an Ayurvedic code blue?). And some might welcome a bit of respite from their rigorous courses.

R. W. Donnell said...

Shrinkette,
Thanks for your comment. Now that you mention it, I would have loved a fluff off course when I was in med school.

EoR said...

Mush indeed. I'm surprised someone who believes the 'theories' posited by Ayurveda can also cope with conventional medicine. So much so I've devoted a posting to it at The Second Sight

Anonymous said...

What a closed minded opinion! Ayurveda has millinea of history and the scientific method about a century or two at most! Essentially your feeling is that "our way is the only way" when in actuality there are many acceptable ways to diagnose and treat disease. The Western method waits until something is broken and many times beyond healing. Eastern medicine tries to circumvent problems by dealing with them as they begin, or avoiding them in the first place. Facts are, each individual is different and responds uniquely to treatments. There is NO one size fits all medicine.