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Snake Oil Science
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Table of Contents

Introduction: 1: The Rise of Complementary and Alternative Therapies 2: A Brief History of Placebos 3: Natural Impediments to Making Valid Inferences 4: Impediments That Prevent our Physicians and Therapists From Making Valid Inferences 5: Impediments that Prevent Poorly Trained Scientists from Making Valid Inferences 6: Why Randomized Placebo Control Groups Are Necessary in CAM Research 7: Judging the Credibility and Plausibility of Scientific Evidence 8: Some Personal Research 9: How We Know that the Placebo Effect Exists 10: A Bio-Chemical Explanation for the Placebo Effect 11: Do CAM Therapies Work Or Are They Placebo Effects? Evidence From High Quality Randomized Placebo Controlled Trials 12: Do CAM Therapies Work Or Are They Placebo Effects? Evidence From High Quality Systematic Reviews 13: How CAM Therapies Are Hypothesized to Work 14: Tying Up a Few Loose Ends Notes: Index:

About the Author

R. Barker Bausell, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Maryland Baltimore, was Research Director of a National Institutes of Health-funded Complementary and Alternative Medicine Specialized Research Center where he was in charge of conducting and analyzing randomized clinical trials involving acupuncture's effectiveness for pain relief. He has also served as a consultant to Prevention and Discover magazines.

Reviews

"Hang up your lantern Diogenes, an honest man has been found. Barker Bausell, a biostatistician, has stepped out of the shadows to give us an insider's look at how clinical evidence is manipulated to package and market the placebo effect. Labeled as "complementary and alternative medicine," the placebo effect is being sold not just to a gullible public, but to an increasing number of health professionals as well. Bausell knows every trick, and explains them in clear language." --Robert L. Park, Ph.D., Professor of Physics, University of Maryland, and author of Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud "At Skeptic magazine there is no topic for which we receive more requests to comment on than alternative and complementary medicine. It is big business with big claims and big demands on it to produce, but there is very little science behind most of it. Unfortunately, what has long been lacking is a well-written, clear, and concise analysis of its major claims to which we can direct our readers. That problem has now been remedied by R. Barker Bausell's authoritative and highly readable analysis Snake Oil Science, which should be read by anyone contemplating the use of any of the hundreds of alternative and complementary medical treatments out there that promise hope but usually deliver disappointment."--Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine, monthly columnist for Scientific American, and the author of Why People Believe Weird Things "Anyone who reads Bausell's rigorous scientific analysis of the risks and benefits of complementary and alternative medicine will be left wondering why they are spending so much on so many useless products."--Jerome P. Kassirer, M.D., Tufts University School of Medicine, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus, New England Journal of Medicine, and author of On the Take: How Medicine's Complicity with Big Business Can Endanger Your Health "The book is aimed at the consumer, and it is written in a simple, entertaining style such that the consumer will understand it and enjoy reading it. So the consumer should and, I'm sure, will buy this book. But in addition I would also warmly recommend it to healthcare professionals who work in CAM or have an interest in this area. They will not easily find a harder hitting, more eloquent, or smarter critique of CAM!"--Edzard Ernst, M.D., Ph.D., Complementary Medicine, Peninsula Medical School, UK "Readable, entertaining and immensely educational...[Bausell] writes with a sense of humor and palpable compassion for all involved."--New York Times "...An overview of alternative and complementary treatments. [Bausell] explains why most such treatments can't possibly do what their proponents claim, but he rarely takes on the scoffing tone that many skeptics use when discussing these issues."--ScienceNews "His book is highly informative, easy to read and full of entertaining wit and humor...I warmly recommend it to healthcare professionals who work in CAM or have an interest in this area. One would have to search hard and long to find a more eloquent or intelligent critique of CAM!"--Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies "Hang up your lantern Diogenes, an honest man has been found. Barker Bausell, a biostatistician, has stepped out of the shadows to give us an insider's look at how clinical evidence is manipulated to package and market the placebo effect. Labeled as "complementary and alternative medicine," the placebo effect is being sold not just to a gullible public, but to an increasing number of health professionals as well. Bausell knows every trick, and explains them in clear language." --Robert L. Park, Ph.D., Professor of Physics, University of Maryland, and author of Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud "At Skeptic magazine there is no topic for which we receive more requests to comment on than alternative and complementary medicine. It is big business with big claims and big demands on it to produce, but there is very little science behind most of it. Unfortunately, what has long been lacking is a well-written, clear, and concise analysis of its major claims to which we can direct our readers. That problem has now been remedied by R. Barker Bausell's authoritative and highly readable analysis Snake Oil Science, which should be read by anyone contemplating the use of any of the hundreds of alternative and complementary medical treatments out there that promise hope but usually deliver disappointment."--Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine, monthly columnist for Scientific American, and the author of Why People Believe Weird Things "Anyone who reads Bausell's rigorous scientific analysis of the risks and benefits of complementary and alternative medicine will be left wondering why they are spending so much on so many useless products."--Jerome P. Kassirer, M.D., Tufts University School of Medicine, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus, New England Journal of Medicine, and author of On the Take: How Medicine's Complicity with Big Business Can Endanger Your Health "The book is aimed at the consumer, and it is written in a simple, entertaining style such that the consumer will understand it and enjoy reading it. So the consumer should and, I'm sure, will buy this book. But in addition I would also warmly recommend it to healthcare professionals who work in CAM or have an interest in this area. They will not easily find a harder hitting, more eloquent, or smarter critique of CAM!"--Edzard Ernst, M.D., Ph.D., Complementary Medicine, Peninsula Medical School, UK "Readable, entertaining and immensely educational...[Bausell] writes with a sense of humor and palpable compassion for all involved."--New York Times "...An overview of alternative and complementary treatments. [Bausell] explains why most such treatments can't possibly do what their proponents claim, but he rarely takes on the scoffing tone that many skeptics use when discussing these issues."--ScienceNews "His book is highly informative, easy to read and full of entertaining wit and humor...I warmly recommend it to healthcare professionals who work in CAM or have an interest in this area. One would have to search hard and long to find a more eloquent or intelligent critique of CAM!"--Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies "....[a] readable study of the science behind the placebo effect..."--The New York Times Book Review

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