Science-Based Medicine

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wreckchord
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Science-Based Medicine

Post by wreckchord »

This year I had a course called Evidence-Based Medicine. The point of the class was to educate us on how to use the medical literature to determine the best treatments. Medicine has definitely come a long way from bleeding patients as a form of treatment. Now, we have evidence to lead the way.

But I recently overheard my parents talking about drinking EPSOM salt as part of an alternative to surgery for removing gallbladder stones. The treatment involved drinking fresh-squeezed apple juice for a number of days, drinking a 1/2 cup of Virgin Olive Oil, and then drinking an EPSOM salt and water mixture.

The treatment is supposed to flush out your liver/gallbladder and cause gallstones to be excreted with your stool. The site Curezone.com has a page dedicated to this treatment with a list of the various different “recipes” for the treatment. (Click here to see the liver flushing page.) Oh, and for all the skeptics, the pages come complete with pictures of gallstones people removed from their own stool!

Well I was a skeptic. I realize I’m just a medical student. But the idea didn’t sit right with me. Then I found a website called Science-Based Medicine that contained an article titled “Would you like a liver flush with that colon cleanse?”

The author, a surgeon, rips apart this treatment. If I were to paraphrase him: The treatment is absolutely ridiculous. You can check out the details at his post.

Even in this day and age, there are still plenty of strange treatments that are blindly followed without any evidence to support it. My parents heard about this treatment from a church member who was told that she had gallstones and needed a surgery to remove them.

I wish we could educate the public. Maybe a course on evidence-based medicine should be taught at the high school level. I mean, reading a site like the one listed above (Curezone) can be very convincing. You see all these testimonials by people who have “flushed” their livers. You see pictures of these supposed gallstones that were fished out of the toilet. And you think, hey, that’s proof it works!

I guess this was one moment where I saw the value of my Evidence-Based Medicine course — a value I failed to appreciate at the time I took it.

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CaribMD
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Re: Science-Based Medicine

Post by CaribMD »

I agree with the surgeon.

Evidence based means it has been clinically studied and proven to work not just anecdotal evidence.

Many people believe what they do based on feelings and not real facts.

Enot
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Re: Science-Based Medicine

Post by Enot »

This is an interesting point. EBM seems to be a whole concept, and is a term that one reads about as part of the talking points in New Model Practice, and other formulations that people are coming up with in order to improve medicine as a whole. This raises some questions for me: Why would anyone want to perform anything other than EBM, or at least purport to be performing anything but? I mean, who wants to get up on a podium and state that they intend to exclusively practice "personal caprice based medicine"?

On a more serious note, within the framework of EBM, how much room is left for the individual discretion of the physician?

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CaribMD
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Re: Science-Based Medicine

Post by CaribMD »

Enot wrote:On a more serious note, within the framework of EBM, how much room is left for the individual discretion of the physician?

Plenty since many times Diagnosis is based on evidence but also is based on being able to piece together the evidence into a diagnoses and treatment, not always easy since some evidence can point to several diagnosis, a skilled practitioner can navigate towards the best diagnosis.

Vega
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Re: Science-Based Medicine

Post by Vega »

I think with the Internet, these types of treatments or non-EBM have become increasingly dangerous to the health and well-being of our communities. While some may be not have any effect whatsoever on one's health or the treatment they are seeking, there are some that are dangerous and potentially harmful if not deadly to our health. I question whether the boom of people seeking alternative treatments and medicines is in any way connected or a result of health insurance premiums and medical costs rising.

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