Shadow Medicine: The Placebo in Conventional and Alternative Therapies [NOOK Book]

Overview

A distinguished historian of medicine, John S. Haller Jr. explores the epistemological foundations of evidence-based medicine (EBM) and the challenges it presents for both conventional and alternative therapies. In his exploration of a productive reconciliation in their conflicting approaches, Haller maintains a healthy, scientific skepticism but still finds promise in some complementary and alternative (CAM ) therapies. The placebo forms the central focus of the book, as Haller elucidates the latest findings on ...

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Shadow Medicine: The Placebo in Conventional and Alternative Therapies

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Overview

A distinguished historian of medicine, John S. Haller Jr. explores the epistemological foundations of evidence-based medicine (EBM) and the challenges it presents for both conventional and alternative therapies. In his exploration of a productive reconciliation in their conflicting approaches, Haller maintains a healthy, scientific skepticism but still finds promise in some complementary and alternative (CAM ) therapies. The placebo forms the central focus of the book, as Haller elucidates the latest findings on how new research about the placebo effect might lead to a more robust medical practice including both the objectivity of evidence-based medicine and the subjectivity and narrative truth of the physician-patient relationship.

The book offers a thoughtful tour of key topics in the standoff between EBM and CAM: how and why the double blinded, randomized clinical trial (RCT) came to be called the "gold standard" in modern medicine; the challenge of postmodern medicine that countered the positivism of evidence-based medicine; the politics of modern CAM and the rise of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine; an in-depth case study of homeopathy explaining why this modality has emerged as a poster-child for CAM; and finally an assessment of CAM's popularity despite its poor performance in clinical trials. Haller ends with hope that new experimental protocols might tease out the evidentiary basis for the placebo effect, therefore establishing a foundation for some reconciliation between EBM and CAM.

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Editorial Reviews

Pascal James Imperato

Shadow Medicine is authored by a master historian of medicine and represents an exciting voyage through the complex worlds of evidence-based medicine and complementary and alternative therapies. The author, who exercises great objectivity, sees possibilities in the placebo effect eventually serving as a catalyst to create common ground between conventional and alternative therapies.

Gerry Grob

Shadow Medicine explores the foundations of both reductionist biomedicine and complementary and alternative medicine. Haller shows why the former in unable to deal adequately with the placebo effect and the latter's inability to judge the efficacy of its individualistic interventions. This book is an important contribution to an understanding of the contemporary health scene and merits a wide audience.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231537704
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 7/8/2014
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 1,074,173
  • File size: 596 KB

Meet the Author

John S. Haller Jr. is emeritus professor of history and medical humanities at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. His most recent books include The History of American Homeopathy: From Rational Medicine to Holistic Health Care; Swedenborg, Mesmer, and the Mind-Body Complex: The Roots of Complementary Medicine; and The History of New Thought: From Mental Healing to Positive Thinking and the Prosperity Gospel.

Columbia University Press

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