What Evidence Exists That ‘Mainstream’ Medical Treatments Are Safe or Effective?

February 1, 2012 by  
Filed under Health Blog, Healthy Lifestyle

There has been much discussion, commentary and debate over a recent newspaper article urging universities to shut down natural medicine courses.

ATMS Board Member David Stelfox shares his response:

Dwyer’s approach has always been to present the illusion that all Complementary and Alternative medical approaches are without research-based evidence while all conventional medical treatments are supported by strong research-based evidence for their efficacy.

Prof Dwyer obviously doesn’t read his own science and medical journals – otherwise he’d be aware of the existence of considerable research-based evidence for the effectiveness of natural therapies – most is published in the mainstream science and medical journals. But what about the evidence base for conventional medicine? And are the University-based conventional medicine programs really evidence-based anyway??

Perhaps not:

In 1978 The US Congress initiated an investigation into the efficacy and safety of conventional medical practices. The US Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, in it’s report to Congress found that only between 10 and 20% of all practices and treatments used by medical doctors at that time were scientifically validated. When you consider that, according to research, the placebo response is responsible for the efficacy of up to 50% of the efficacy of medical interventions, conventional medical care in the ‘70s wasn’t all that evidence-based!

OK, but that was over 30 years ago right? And things have surely changed since then with all the focus on evidence-based practice?? Well, maybe not:

In 1998, The Journal of the American Medical Association published an analysis of Cochrane Collaboration reviews of conventional medical practices and procedures. Just 38% of conventional medical treatments were supported by sound research-based evidence! And the evidence for the other 62% of treatments suggested that they were either negative in their effect or that there was no  evidence for their efficacy.

Then there’s the British Medical Journal (another journal that Professor Dwyer either doesn’t read or perhaps doesn’t subscribe to…) which, every six months, publishes an update of it’s findings on which medical treatments work and which one’s don’t. Here are its most recent findings.

Of 3,000 selected conventional medical treatments that have been evaluated in research:

· 11% are beneficial
· 23% are likely to be beneficial
· 7% are as likely to be harmful as beneficial
· 5% are unlikely to be beneficial
· 3% are likely to be ineffective or harmful

And the remaining 51% of medical treatments…….have unknown effectiveness.


Make up your mind about which form of medicine is safe and effective!


Yours In Great Health,

Sar Rooney BHSc., ND., DC., DASc., GDSc. (Hons), MATMS, MNHAA, MHATO

Naturopathic Medicine Practitioner, Lecturer, Researcher


Earth Medicine TM

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Sar Rooney is a Naturopathic Medicine Practitioner specialising in Anxiety and Depression |Women’s Health| Hormonal Imbalances | Thyroid Disorders | Digestive Health | Genetic Polymorphisms (MTHFR/Pyroluria) | Nutritional Medicine | Optimal Wellness & Disease Prevention 

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