Critiques Of This Website

 

The goal of this website is unique. It attempts to integrate alternaive and mainstream medicine. Many proponents of alternative medicine have criticisms of mainstream medicine and many proponents of mainstream medicine have criticisms of alternative medicine.

Despite the fact that the human brain is programmed to dichotomize everything, medicine is actually not a simple dichotomy. The reality is that there is a wide continuum or range from one end of the spectrum to the other. This website attempts to explore this continuum in a realistic way. You don’t have to choose sides.

Central to this discussion is the placebo effect which is another issue that is on a continuum and not a dichotomy.

I am suggesting that many alternative and mainstream therapeutic modalities work for certain conditions through the placebo effect. Furthermore, I suggest that the new neuroscience of the placebo effect is making it possible to have a better understanding of how and when we are using it.




There are several legitimate criticisms of this approach.

First, neuroscience research on the placebo effect is sparse.

Second, research on the placebo effect is tricky. Most research is done against this effect. When you study the placebo effect you must ask, “What will be your placebo?”

Third, the proposed lack of deception may not be real. You may not be able to stop from indicating to a patient that an inert treatment will work through non-verbal cues. The environment itself might even give it away.

Fourth, the proposed integration of alternative and mainstream medicine by regulating the use of the placebo effect may be too complex for most practitioners to understand. Therefore, it could actually increase the mis-use of alternative approaches.

Fifth, the idea that a placebo can initiate endorphins in the brain needs more research. Pain does get better with placebo and that has been well studied but we need more functional brain images showing blood flow and metabolic changes that are similar between placebo and morphine.

(This page is under construction)

-Morgan Levy, MD.

 

Controversies