Snake Oil Science: The Truth about Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Snake Oil Science: The Truth about Complementary and Alternative Medicine

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 Thi Millions of people worldwide swear by such therapies as acupuncture, herbal cures, and homeopathic remedies. Indeed, co...

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Title:Snake Oil Science: The Truth about Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Author:R. Barker Bausell
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Genres:Science
ISBN:Snake Oil Science: The Truth about Complementary and Alternative Medicine
ISBN
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:324 pages pages

Snake Oil Science: The Truth about Complementary and Alternative Medicine Reviews

  • Lena
    Feb 08, 2008
    As someone who spent years traveling through the offices of acupuncturists, chiropractors, naturopaths and homeopaths, I found Barker Bausell's thorough examination of the science behind these practices extremely valuable. Biostatistician Bausell has undertaken the enormous task of loo...
  • Lauren
    Dec 31, 2007
    A bit technical and dense, but still highly readable. Lots of information on why exactly it is that peer-reviewed research and science-based medicine do not support the claims of CAM. After all, if "alternative medicine" were on par with medicine, it would just be called MEDICINE. A...
  • Margot
    Jan 10, 2011
    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in the methods of scientific research (it makes science exciting!). Although the topic is specifically complementary and alternative medicine, biostatician Bausell takes the reader on a comprehensive and c...
  • Sue
    Apr 25, 2011
    Entertainingly written & very informative. The author not only goes through the rationale behind placebo controls, double-blinding (when possible), &c. He also investigates some of the science behind the placebo effect itself. He has an unusual perspective, having been personal...
  • Dave
    Feb 01, 2010
    More than just a scientific look at alternative medicine. Bausell explains the placebo effect and several related factors that you may not have heard of. Taking these effects into account in a clinical trial is tough. He discusses in depth what it takes to run a rigorous clinical trial...
  • David
    Nov 30, 2007
    A research methodologist's view of complementary and alternative medicine. Strict, rigorous, and utterly devastating to those who still hold hope for these kinds of methods. The final section is a little patronizing, however, giving advice on how to choose the right placebo for you. Th...
  • Rosalinda
    Feb 18, 2010
    I really enjoyed this book. It was written by a bio statistician so I new it was right up my ally and sure enough, I loved his presentation of data analysis and research design. The context is equally important given that people spend so much money on alternative medicine these days. I...
  • Albert
    Feb 04, 2013
    This book can be summarized in this way: Nobody understands statistics and what makes a good study. If they did, they would look at all studies about complementary and alternative medicines, and they would realize that they don't work better than placebos or the studies are crap. ...
  • Mehmet
    Aug 29, 2017
    This book's content is so important, especially in the first couple of chapters, but its quality of argument deteriorates so thoroughly near the end, that I cannot fully endorse it. Read the arguments in the later parts with full skepticism (not that one should ever drop that guard), a...
  • Kate
    Dec 24, 2010
    He has such little respect for someone that makes his living off of the CAM field that it's hard to take even his legitimate points seriously. And putting comments in parentheses doesn't make them any less bitchy. ...
  • Marshall
    Jan 21, 2014
    This book explores the scientific research on alternative medicine. The best part is at the beginning. It has the best explanation I've seen so far of the placebo effect. He explains what it is, how it works physiologically, and how to control for it. He also explains the many other co...
  • Doc
    May 22, 2008
    Excellent book by a biostatistician about why all alternative medical techniques work - for two weeks! Becomes an exploration of the placebo effect. Reinforces my prejudice that 90% of prescription medicines do nothing. Hence, a good book. ...
  • J & J
    Jul 02, 2019
    Far too general ...
  • Dennis Littrell
    Jul 12, 2019
    Outstanding book that should be widely read, but won?t be Why? Because Bausell?s position on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is simply this: it?s no more effective than a placebo. This is not something that millions of people want to hear. Regardless, he puts t...
  • Jon Allen
    Jul 04, 2012
    I really enjoyed this book, because it provided a different viewpoint on Complementary and Alternative Medicine than what I've read in other books. The majority of the book is focused not on how effective any particular CAM practice, but on experimental artifacts that create false ...
  • Scott
    Jan 23, 2010
    For the attention-deprived, Bausell succinctly summarizes his thesis and conclusion at the end of Chapter 13: "CAM therapies are nothing more than cleverly packaged placebos." There is significant depth to this book for those who want to know a little more than that. After all, othe...
  • Holly
    Apr 17, 2012
    CAM (complementary & alternative medicine) works - but not necessarily in the way its promoters assume. This is an exploration of the placebo effect and trials of medical therapies. Emphases on publication bias, the natural history of pain, and the psychological and physiological m...
  • Pam Reeder
    May 23, 2011
    Kind of dry writing. And, heck, I kind of like the placebo effect of a number of therapies -- why knock 'em if people feel better. ...
  • Bob Colwick
    Sep 04, 2012
    When my older son was diagnosed with autism, the first thing I latched on to was a cure...'it is the natural reaction to other health ailments', I thought, 'why shouldn't it work with autism?' As I quickly found out, autism has no known cure through traditional medicine, so I began the...
  • Melanie Meyer
    Apr 20, 2014
    Although this wasn't the most interesting thing I have ever read,research methodology can be a little "dry", the information contained in this book is incredibly valuable. This is a thorough, systematic review of the high-quality, empirical scientific evidence for complimentary and alt...
  • Ken
    Aug 09, 2011
    The author wanted to see if alternative medical treatments are any better than placebos. In any test of medicine, the placebo effect has to be taken into account, but in most research done on things like accupuncture, herbal medicines, chiropracty and others, they fail to do this. ...
  • Isil Arican
    Aug 09, 2011
    Very organized book with lots of scientific evidence. Provides a great overview for the Placebo effect, and comparison of placebo with various CAM therapies. Also includes a complete section on "how to evaluate a scientific study" and comparison on various research methods.Strongly ...
  • Kirsten
    Jul 05, 2012
    I loved this book. It was such an enlightening read. Bausell definitely has a bit of a snarky and sarcastic way of writing which I thoroughly enjoyed. It made the material much more entertaining to read and his small jokes helped get me through some of the more boring parts of the book...
  • Sdnamaste
    May 06, 2012
    A very good review of clinical trial design and how those who wish to (need to?) rationalize any particular treatment or therapy can do so. The placebo effect is alive and well and probably not going away for a long time. ...
  • Kenneth Sherman
    Dec 27, 2012
    The author wanted to see if alternative medical treatments are any better than placebos. In any test of medicine, the placebo effect has to be taken into account, but in most research done on things like accupuncture, herbal medicines, chiropracty and others, they fail to do this. ...
  • Chris Pederson
    Apr 02, 2013
    It asks the question 'Is any complementary or alternative medical therapy more effective than a placebo? It discusses the placebo effect, statistics, the up and down nature of illness, the research process, and a brief meta-analysis of hundreds of 'altmed' studies. (spoiler, no effect...
  • Alexander Miles
    Feb 04, 2016
    When I first heard about this book, I figured it would be an all-out one-sided argument against alternative medicine, but the narrative wasn't quite as aggressive as I would have suspected. While the conclusion reached is indeed that all presently tested CAM (complementary and alternat...
  • Andrea Berardi
    Feb 07, 2019
    I found the foundation of this book to be fascinating. As someone who has always been interested (but never pursued) natural/homeopathic remedies, I was eager to read about the physiological mechanisms behind the placebo effect. The author?s overall conclusion is that there is no...
  • Temnospondyli
    Jan 07, 2017
    A bit of a slog in places. Bausell really digs deep into the methods of a proper scientific study, which isn't necessarily good reading, while being absolutely invaluable in evaluating Complementary and Alternative "medicine". The book spends much of its time focused on how the placebo...
  • Ariadna73
    Oct 30, 2016
    This book discusses a set of different techniques called "complementary medicine", and then goes on to give advice on how to lead better lives by eating smart, breathing well and getting some exercise. This is the jacket of the book I read. The author is a PHD, professor of the Univ...