Wednesday, August 31, 2011


I believe in evidence based medicine.  I think hope most doctors do.  However, I also believe that every cure doesn't have to come from your neighborhood Walgreen's.  Our medical ancestors did a great job observing the reproducible effects of certain plants on humans.  They understood willow bark eased inflammation.  They knew coca leaves increased endurance.  There are plenty of 'natural' treatments that exist that deserve as much attention as their pharmaceutical counterparts.  It is important, therefore, for science to lend them the credibility they deserve through research that is as rigorous and unbiased as the kind applied to fancy drugs and funded by deep-pocketed companies.

This month I have decided to focus on caring for my future patient while having a little fun.  I hope to start a personal notebook I can keep with me that will review, with scholarly references, alternative medicine remedies.  My goal will be to review one remedy a week.  What better way to start this off than a lecture on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) in my clinical medicine class!  I originally thought that it would be difficult to find scholarly articles on the efficacy and safety of CAM, however I found out during class that in 1998 US Congress established the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) under the NIH to support research on the efficacy and safety of CAM.  How convenient.  Oh, and NCCAM funded a Center for Research and Excellence at the medical school I attend.  Go figure.  The professor that was lecturing focuses mainly on the anti-inflammatory uses of resveratrol (the famous wine component) and marijuana (also famous).  The following lecture was given by our local acupuncturist.  Yes, I did have a needle placed, and no it didn't hurt.  Actually, it didn't do much, but it was just so I could see what it would feel like.

As you can see I really do need to let the nerd in me out, cause that doesn't happen enough at school.

Hopefully with the NCCAM as a resource (and a wealth of online journals) I will be able to review at least 4 remedies -- that is, translate what scientists say about them.  Individual results may vary ;)

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