WHEN THE RATIONALES offered in support of most unorthodox medical treatments are critically examined, they are frequently found to be scientifically invalid. Yet, according to a recent survey,1 over 60% of the practitioners of "unproven treatments" for cancer hold an MD, a PhD, or both, from an accredited medical school or graduate school. Therefore, when a patient asks his or her physician for an explanation of an unproven medical treatment being offered by another trained and licensed physician, it is not enough for the patient's physician to simply label the "unorthodox" treatment as quackery. To make an effective contribution to the patient's understanding and decision-making process, the clinician must know whether the claims being made for the treatment are supported by scientific evidence and he or she must be able to discuss that evidence in language that is understood by the patient.
The explanations justifying the use of coffee