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"Complements to the doctor; Traditional Chinese medicine is making converts of some skeptics, though"

Toronto Star

Source: Toronto Star

Published: 05 May 2022

Category: Other

Rating: (2 stars)

what they said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

When anesthetist Angelica Fargas-Babjak returned to Hamilton after a trip to China in the 1980s, she was very excited about the complementary relationship she had seen between Eastern and Western medicine in Chinese hospitals.

"I came back saying we have to do that here," recalls the doctor, who was then an assistant professor of anesthesiology at McMaster University and a member of the Acupuncture Foundation of Canada. She found other physicians openly hostile to the idea. "I faced a lot of antagonism when I said that. There was a lot of resistance."

At the time, Western medicine had no time for a system based on thousands of years of Chinese philosophy and empirical observations. But Fargas-Babjak went on to found the acupuncture/pain clinic at the Hamilton Health Sciences Centre in 1984 and, eight years ago, the Contemporary Medical Acupuncture program at McMaster University, where she is now a professor of anesthesiology....

The original article can found in the Media Doctor archives.

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 4 of 10
Availability of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Novelty of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Disease Mongering Satisfactory (?)
Treatment Options Not Satisfactory (?)
Costs of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Evidence Not Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Benefits of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Sources of Information Satisfactory (?)
Relies on Press Release Not Applicable
Quantification of harms of treatment Not Satisfactory (?)

what we said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

This reads more like a P.R. piece than a news story. Why should we support acupuncture as part of the medical armamentarium at all? You could not tell from this article. The issue of potential harm is not handled well either. As with many therapies of uncertain value provided by licensed professionals trying to establish a monopoly on the provision of the treatment, there is either the "no harm is possible," in which case the need for professional qualifications to deliver the treatment comes into question, or the "technique is a dangerous weapon in unqualified hands," in which case the exact nature of the possible bad outcome is somehow never stated, but the reader is left with the impression that only an extra-specially-trained practitioner should be allowed to provide the treatment, although the specific reason is unclear.
We acknowledge that the rating criteria may not fit very well with the kind of evidence provided by complementary medicine, yet basic information about harm and benefit need better explanations that go beyond the anecdotes provided in this article.

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