Presenter: Dr. Joe Schwarcz
Alternative medicine, integrated medicine, complementary medicine. These terms are widely featured in the media, usually without appropriate critical analysis. There is a great deal of confusion among the public, as well as among physicians, about what the various “alternative” treatments actually encompass and about their safety and efficacy. Homeopathy, for example, is often mistakenly believed to be synonymous with any kind of herbal treatment. A proper scientific investigation of the pros and cons of CAM (complementary and alternative medicine) can be very enlightening particularly when it comes to vaccination, certainly one of medicine’s most impressive triumphs. Smallpox has been wiped out, polio has virtually been relegated to the history books and childhood diseases such as measles, mumps and rubella have been brought under control. Yet, there is a booming anti-vaccine movement championed by the likes of “Dr.” Jenny McCarthy and “Dr.” JimCarrey. This sort of unscientific activism presents real risks and needs to be addressed by the scientific establishment.