Monday, January 19, 2009

Even the Wall Street Journal is promoting woo!

Straw man arguments (mainstream medicine eschews preventive lifestyle modifications), appeals to fear (the economy’s tanking so we better change our medical thinking), the false dilemma (science based medicine often fails, so alternative treatments must be the answer) and assorted other logical fallacies combine to produce this masterpiece of obfuscation in the Wall Street Journal. And, inside the trojan horse of evidence based “natural” medicine---

Heart disease, diabetes, prostate cancer, breast cancer and obesity account for 75% of health-care costs, and yet these are largely preventable and even reversible by changing diet and lifestyle

comes a serving of some of the wooiest of woo:

When you eat a healthier diet, quit smoking, exercise, meditate and have more love in your life, then your brain receives more blood and oxygen, so you think more clearly, have more energy, need less sleep. Your brain may grow so many new neurons that it could get measurably bigger in only a few months. Your face gets more blood flow, so your skin glows more and wrinkles less. Your heart gets more blood flow, so you have more stamina and can even begin to reverse heart disease. Your sexual organs receive more blood flow, so you may become more potent -- similar to the way that circulation-increasing drugs like Viagra work.

About the only thing that’s believable in this article is that this sort of woo is endorsed by the Institute of Medicine:

In mid-February, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and the Bravewell Collaborative are convening a "Summit on Integrative Medicine and the Health of the Public." This is a watershed in the evolution of integrative medicine, a holistic approach to health care that uses the best of conventional and alternative therapies such as meditation, yoga, acupuncture and herbal remedies.

That statement would have shocked me before I learned of the massive Kool-Aid party going on at IOM.

The article calls for an increase in the funding of woo and might be seen as a counterpoint to the call of Orac and others to stop taking money out of our pockets to promote quackery.

Dr. Wes weighs in here and concludes with:

These guys know the government is looking to cut costs, and (fortunately and correctly) their workshop will be first to suffer the fall of the axe.

Let’s hope so.

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