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At the center of the debate over complementary and alternative medicine -- from acupuncture and chiropractic treatments to homeopathy and nutritional supplements -- is how to scientifically measure the effectiveness of a particular treatment. Fourteen scholars from the fields of medicine, philosophy, sociology, and cultural and folklore studies examine that debate, and the clash between growing public support and the often hostile stance of clinicians and medical researchers.
Proponents and critics have different methodologies and standards of evidence -- raising the question of how much pluralism is acceptable in a medical context -- particularly in light of differing worldviews and the struggle to define medicine in the modern world. The contributors address both the methodological problems of assessment and the conflicting cultural perspectives at work in a patient's choice of treatment. Sympathetic to CAM, the contributors nonetheless offer careful critiques of its claims, and suggest a variety of ways it can be taken seriously, yet subject to careful scrutiny.
Introduction Daniel CallahanAssessments of Efficacy in Biomedicine: The Turn toward Methodological Pluralism Kenneth F. ShaffnerCAM and Cultural Diversity: Ethics and Epistemology Converge David J. Hufford The Role of Science in Assessing Conventional, Complementary, and Alternative Medicines Loretta M. KopelmanPersonal Experience, Popular Epistemology, and Complementary and Alternative Medicine Research Bonnie B. O'ConnorThe Placebo Effect: Implications for the Study and Practice of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Howard BrodySpirituality in Clinical Care: A Brief Review of Patient Desire, Physician Response, and Research Opportunities David B. Larson and Susan B. LarsonInterpreting Results from Randomized Clinical Trials of Complementary/Alternative Interventions: The Role of Trial Quality and Pre-trial Beliefs Asbjorn Hrobjartsson and Stig BrorsonEvidence, Ethics, and the Evaluation of Global Medicine Wayne B. JonasThe Nature of Evidence in Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Ideas from Trials of Homeopathy in Chronic Headache Tom Whitmarsh Medical Culture and CAM Culture: Science and Ritual in the Academic Medical Center Paul Root Wolpe The Quest for Holism in Medicine Alfred I. TauberContributors