So I had a conversation with a friend of mine about  NCCAM, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. For those of you that keep up with the news you might recall hearing that name nearly two years ago when the Associated Press published an article that demonstrated that in its then ten-year existence and with over 2.5 billion dollars in tax money spent only one treatment proved to have any sort of efficacy. Your grandmother or an older relative might be familiar with it, the treatment is ginger for nausea.

However, granny’s ginger isn’t enough to justify continuing support for  this institute. An institute that is supposed to be devoted to science aimed at improving medicine and public health, spending money on attempting to validate what would otherwise be treated as unscientific by the larger scientific community. It’s led to many suggesting it be dismantled allowing those scientists who would like to continue to study CAM to continue, provided they can demonstrate scientifically the plausibility of what they are studying with evidence . Meaning studies like those recently reported in the press would go the way of the dinosaur. I am speaking of studies that examine whether smelling lavender and lemon can help heal wounds. Or studies which aim to determine if massages can help cancer patients feel better. Both are answerable with a simple “Duh”. Or maybe a, “Doh!”, would be more appropriate? I can’t decide.

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