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Complementary Medicine: Useless or Unproven?

Wallace Sampson, MD
JAMA. 1995;273(23):1834. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520470042023.
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To the Editor.  —The reviewers1 of Complementary Therapies in Medicine gave the journal favorable comments that are unwarranted.The reviewers seemed unaware of their own misuse of language in their description, and they seemed unaware of the misuse in the journal itself. They state that "it provides a forum for the traditional allopath to explore... complementary medicine previously considered alternative or 'fringe.'" "Traditional" usually refers to forms of primitive, empirical, prescientific practices, often having mystical and ideological bases. It is a misnomer and demeaning to scientifically trained, ethical, and rational physicians. The term has been intentionally used by proponents of nonrational, dubious methods to diminish the importance of science and reason in medicine. The terms "alternative" and "fringe" are both inaccurate descriptions of methods that do not work. "Alternative" and now "complementary" are euphemisms for the same thing, tending to divert the reader from the real status of the


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