You know I support real science when it comes to medicine, of course. I will always fight the nonsense like antivaccination purveyors, homeopathy, chiropractic, acupuncture, and so on and so forth-- so-called "alt-med" that's been shown pretty conclusively to not be effective more than the placebo effect.
But writing about it on a blog isn't necessarily enough to spur real change. That's why a group of physicians and others got together to form the Institute for Science in Medicine, to help them... well, here's why in their own words:
Institute for Science in Medicine is an international policy institute that seeks to promote science as the best and only way to ensure not only safe, quality health care for the public, but cost effectiveness, as well. ISM sees an ongoing threat in the growing number of fringe practitioners and their medically dubious diagnoses and treatments. Part of ISM’s mission is to alert the public and policy makers to the dangers of ignoring scientific validation of medical interventions. ISM was formed by 42 prominent physicians, researchers, scholars, and other professionals.
I can stand behind that! Steve Novella, one of the founding members and a very outspoken medical skeptics, has written about the newly-formed ISM, giving his own reasons for needing such an institution. Some of the other names involved are familiar to regular readers here: Mark Crislip, David Gorski, Harriet Hall, Joe Albietz, Rachel Dunlop... all friends, skeptics, and medical professionals.
I'm really glad they're around to tackle policy and legal issues with medical flim-flammery. We really do need them. And their first order of business? Christian Science quackery in the health care reform bill. Awesome.
I hope they stick around for a long, long time, because there are two things we can learn from the alt-med faction: people will believe all manners of non-medical nonsense, and they always will. Eternal vigilance!