Alternative Medicine - The Evidence ? : Complete BBC Series [DVD] [NTSC]
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(Dec 18, 2006)
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The definitive BBC Series produced in conjunction with The Open University, attracted over 7.5 million viewers per episode. For thousands of years, what we now think of as Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) was the only medicine; now, traditional cures are being treated with a fresh respect. In this series of three programmes, host and self professed sceptic Professor Kathy Sykes embarks on a worldwide quest to quantify just how successful a range of Alternative Therapies can actually be and why science is starting to respond to these centuries-old remedies. Acupuncture: Having seen a variety of conditions treated by Acupuncture in China, Kathy recruits a team of top UK scientists to evaluate the possible reasons for the success which many patients experienced, particularly with treatments for a number of chronic pain conditions. The conclusions challenge current understandings of the working of the brain and throw new light on the ancient practice of Acupuncture. Healing: In the second episode she investigates the effectiveness of a range of Healers both in the UK and the US. She meets general practitioners, who have been so impressed with the results, that they have invited such healers to assist them in their surgeries and hospitals. She discovers that, although there is no evidence that healers have any measurable 'special powers' some patients undoubtedly do make remarkable recoveries. It's a mystery Kathy only finally solves on a trip to the US when she discovers that each of us has a powerful self healing mechanism which can be triggered by a range of healers. Herbs: In the final episode Kathy Sykes travels to South Africa and Germany to investigate the remedial power of herbal remedies. She finds a group of scientists in Germany who have identified at least eight 'super herbs' which have been submitted to a range of rigorous clinical tests with very promising results. So what is the secret? It appears that the plants from which the herbs are produced have an enormously complex chemical structure, that have medicinal properties modern pharmaceuticals simply cannot produce.
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I always thought of science as a process of enquiry and of the testing of hypotheses - not as some absolute Gold-Standard.
At the beginning of this century, JAMA (the Journal of American Medical Association) published a study that disclosed that correctly prescribed and accurately dispensed drugs/medicine by appropriately qualified medical professionals (what better definition of "Science" as dispensed by "Sceintists"?) - ranked in the top 10 killers in the USA.
In an era when the "Placebo Effect" commonly scores a healing-rate of between 10% to 30%, "Alternative" therapies are understandably attractive to an intelligent and educated populace. These three dull programmes pointedly succeed in damning with faint praise traditional (so NOT "alternative") practices.
I was delighted to be able to give my copy away.