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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Martha J. Greenberg, PhD, RN (Pace University)
Description: This is a compilation of critical essays that address methodological problems of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) assessment and cultural perspectives of CAM treatments.
Purpose: The editor's main goal is to present an objective discussion of research and cultural issues in CAM from multidisciplinary perspectives, e.g., medicine, philosophy, sociology. Accordingly the essays address scientific measurement of CAM efficacy and debate the acceptance (or lack of) research pluralism in medical research.
Audience: I highly recommend this book as a resource for all researchers and investigators, academics and scholars, and students both favorable or opposed to CAM. It could become an essential book in graduate research methodology. Renowned ethicist Daniel Callahan has gathered an impressive team of contributors from philosophy, cultural and folklore studies, and sociology.
Features: The contributors discuss ethics and epistemology, scientific evaluation of CAM, and the patient experience of CAM. Much of the book debates the issue of evidence in CAM and the ways science asks questions. Discussion is presented in a scholarly and intellectually stimulating yet pragmatic way as to make the book infinitely readable and relevant to investigators, clinicians, and scholars.
Assessment: This thought provoking and exciting book is unparalleled in the field and I highly recommend it. It offers food for intellectual thought and meets the need for elucidating critical yet balanced discourse on the meaning and therapeutic values and efficacy of CAM.