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« Sole Mates The RantsThe Thin Rainbow-Colored Line »

NCCAM Improperly Inflates CAM Usage in Survey
2009.01.26 (Mon) 14:47

Take a look at the leading sentence of this article (found via about.com's alt med section):

An estimated 38 percent of U.S. adults and 12 percent of children use some type of complementary and alternative medicine, a new U.S. government survey finds.

Wow. We knew the problem with bogus "alternative medicine" was bad in the US, but we didn't know it was quite that bad. The thought that almost 40% of the population uses nonsensical treatments like acupuncture and homeopathy is a frightening prospect. And hell, if a US government agency says it, then it must be true, right? Oh, wait — that's not correct at all (eight years of Bushco are a hell of a hands-on education). And that's really not correct when it comes to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

A closer look at this article shows the following:

The most popular alternative techniques are deep breathing exercises, meditation, chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation, massage and yoga, the survey found.

Adults use CAM most often to treat pain, including back pain, neck pain or problems, joint pain, arthritis, and other musculoskeletal conditions.

Wait just one motherfucking minute, here. Setting aside chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation for a moment, the other "most popular alternative techniques" are "deep breathing exercises, meditation, ... massage and yoga"? Other practices considered "alternative medicine" for the purposes of this survey include pilates and vegetarian diet.

Well fuck, those aren't necessarily alternative medical treatments at all! Plenty of people engage in one or more of the activities on this list for perfectly rational reasons. For example, many people get massages to soothe their aching muscles. There's nothing wrong with that. A good rub down can be quite soothing, and that is in no way, shape, or form an example of using "alternative medicine." Calling that a use of alternative medicine is a bit disingenuous, at best, and an outright fucking lie to over-inflate your figures at worst. (Take a wild guess which side of that fence we stand on.) Getting a foot massage in order to cure your acne, on the other hand, would be an example of someone using massage as an "alternative medicine" treatment. The same divergent scenarios can be created for all of the other examples as well — people could engage in deep breathing or yoga for relaxation and stress relief, and there would be nothing "alt med" about that at all. And as the next sentence in their own article shows, the most frequent use of these treatments is combating general musculoskeletal pain. In fact, of those who were counted in the 38% who use "alternative medicine," just over 34% do so to treat musculoskeletal pain. And if you add in people looking to treat stress, anxiety, and trouble sleeping, we find that 40% of that 38% could be using these treatments for simple, rational, non-CAM purposes. What a load of horseshit!

We would add that chiropractics, while based on total bullshit and while presenting possibly serious health concerns, can be effective at helping musculoskeletal pain as well...when it's used like massage and physical therapy (and when the "patient" isn't looking to treat something that chiropractics simply cannot treat, which is to say, the majority of the problems that most chiropractors say they can treat).

Just to make sure we weren't missing something, we checked the survey results, and read the actual questions that were asked. As we suspected, the questions were as simple as "During the past 12 months, did you see a practictioner for massage?" Sure, the survey asks if other treatments were also used (medication, surgery, and so forth), but that part of the data — along with the perfectly rational uses of many of these practices — doesn't seem to have entered into the NCCAM's 38% statistic.

Seriously, take a look at that list of included "treatments." Based on this incredibly loose and seriously fucking flawed interpretation of what constitutes "alternative medicine," we're fucking shocked that the number was only 38%! For fuck's sake, we would have had to answer "yes" to some of these questions, as would everyone we can think of among our family and close friends. Talk about intentionally misrepresenting the results of your survey.

Q: Do you eat apples?

Apples are delicious, bitches

Mark down two more for "Yes, I use apples as alternative medicine."

If you live in the US, remember that you are funding the NCCAM — it's part of the National Institutes of Health, and your tax dollars are hard at work providing stellar scientific "surveys" like this one. If President Obama wants to find some places to cut federal spending, we've got a fucking candidate for him: first, shut down the useless, frequently deceptive NCCAM so we can stop watching these asshats use our money to justify their own existence through the use of lies and bad science; then, tell people that, whether they want to hear it or not, "alternative medicine" is just fucking bullshit.

This lovely, bile-inspired Rant goes out to the asshats who constantly ask "Well, the NCCAM has supported the particular brand of alternative medicine I subscribe to! Do you think they're wrong, too?"

Yes, asshats. We do.

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[  Filed under: % Bullshit  % Government & Politics  % Greatest Hits  % Two Percent Toons  ]

TrackBack URL for this entry: http://www.twopercentco.com/rants/tpc-trkbk.cgi/469

Comments (1)

dikkii, 2009.01.26 (Mon) 17:28 [Link] »

Nice to read you coming out firing for the new year, folks. I only wish that I could get started.

...tell people that, whether they want to hear it or not, "alternative medicine" is just fucking bullshit.

It's a nice thought, but thanks to the bullshit that these guys are shovelling, I'm not even sure I know what "alternative medicine" even is any more.

I'm sure that even if my doctor prescribed a course of vitamins for something, these guys would be seizing on it as another example of ordinary, everyday alternative medicine.

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