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Trick or Treatment?: Alternative Medicine on Trial [Anglais] [Broché]

Dr Dr. Simon Singh , Professor Edzard Ernst

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Description de l'ouvrage

7 mai 2009

Welcome to the world of alternative medicine.

Prince Charles is a staunch defender and millions of people swear by it; most UK doctors consider it to be little more than superstition and a waste of money. But how do you know which treatments really heal and which are potentially harmful?

Now at last you can find out, thanks to the formidable partnership of Professor Edzard Ernst and Simon Singh. Edzard Ernst is the world's first professor of complementary medicine, based at Exeter University, where he has spent over a decade analysing meticulously the evidence for and against alternative therapies.He is supported in his findings by Simon Singh, the well-known and highly respected science writer of several international bestsellers.

Together they have written the definitive book on the subject. It is honest, impartial but hard-hitting, and provides a thorough examination and judgement of more than thirty of the most popular treatments, such as acupuncture, homeopathy, aromatherapy, reflexology, chiropractic and herbal medicine.In Trick or Treatment? the ultimate verdict on alternative medicine is delivered for the first time with clarity, scientific rigour and absolute authority.

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

"Fearless, intelligent and remorselessly rational" (The Sunday Times)

"The authors' combined strengths shine through. The examination of the evidence is comprehensive [and] forensic..." (Nature)

"A definitive - if controversial - guide to what works, and what doesn't. It makes indispensable, if sometimes alarming, reading" (Daily Mail)

Quatrième de couverture

Welcome to the world of alternative medicine.

Prince Charles is a staunch defender and millions of people swear by it; most UK doctors consider it to be little more than superstition and a waste of money. But how do you know which treatments are effective and which are potentially harmful?Now you can find out.

Edzard Ernst is the world's first professor of complementary medicine and Simon Singh is the author of several international bestsellers. Together they have written the definitive book on alternative medicine. It is honest, impartial, hard-hitting and provides a thorough examination of more than thirty of the most popular treatments, including acupuncture, homeopathy, reflexology, chiropractic therapy and herbal medicine.Whether you are a follower, sceptic or just baffled by the subject, Trick or Treatment? delivers the ultimate verdict on alternative medicine with clarity, scientific rigour and absolute authority.

'A definitive - if controversial - guide to what works, and what doesn't.It makes indispensable, if sometimes alarming, reading' Daily Mail

'Its up to date scientific evidence provides a good reference point for anyone thinking of spending money on alternative treatments' Breast Cancer Care News

'This book is good; very good. It is well researched and written in a most readable style' HealthWatch


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47 internautes sur 53 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A must read for anyone interested in Alternative Medicine 27 juillet 2009
Par Ronald P. Ng - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat authentifié par Amazon
This is an excellent book, and I would have given it a 5 star except for the fact that there is no reference given to many of the studies that are quoted in the book.

One of the authors, Prof. Edzard Ernst, was a professor of Complementary Medicine at Exeter University, he used to be a homeopath practitioner as well, happily doling out homeopathic "medicine" to his patients until one day, he decided to look at the science underpinning homeopathy and found there was none. He is therefore an insider of Complementary Medicine and has found that practice wanting.

He is very similar to Prof. R. Barker Bausell of Maryland University, who used to be the statistician at NIH responsible for analyzing the data in the NIH funded Complementary and Alternative Medicine Specialized Research Center, where after a couple of years of work there, found that there was no scientific proof that Complimentary/Alternative Medicine was better than placebo, he left the Center and wrote the book "Snake Oil Sciene" (ISBN 978-0-19-531368-0, available here at Amazon)

Both these books very clearly showed the claims of Complementary/Alternative Medicine do not stand up under the glaring light of science. Both were written by insiders, insiders who are scientists, and insiders where their honesty requires them to write these two books.

I will not add to what other reviewers have said except to voice my own personal opinion as to why CAM has been getting popular among the general population.

I think most patients want reassurance from their doctors that everything is alright. But because of the way the medical profession is now constrained to act, (I am a practicing clinical hematologist), we have to tell the patient the probability of success of the drugs we are using, the potential side effects and so on, this takes away the placebo effects of the drugs we are administering. When we treat someone with malignancy, we can never tell the patient he has a 100% chance of cure and that he will be alright, but there is no such constraint on the CAM practitioner. As "Trick or Treatment" says, CAM practitioners are never required by law to tell the patients the side effects or possible harmful effects of their treatments, instead their mantra is, 'this is holistic natural and has little side effect", the exact opposite of what the scietific medical community is required to do.
104 internautes sur 131 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Excellent analysis of "alternative" and "complementary" medicine 4 août 2008
Par Dr. C. Becker - Publié sur
I have been meaning to write a review of Trick or Treatment for some months now and had a lot of sophisticated ideas how to phrase it. In the meantime, I had sent my mother a "care package", with dried cranberries, organic Earl Grey tea and a copy of Trick or Treatment. She called me last weekend and said:

"This book is so full of suspense and so extraordinarily well written. I understand what you mean now. I guess I will have to give up my beloved Arnica globules then. It *does* make sense that they cannot work if there is nothing in them. To bad that the German version does not come out until next year, I have some friends who should read this book."

There, that sums it up: Singh and Ernst obviously struck the right tone and paced the book appropriately for the educated user of "alternative medicine" to follow and accept the conclusions of many careful trials. That is excellent, because I myself somehow never muster the patience to go through the details, why this or that "alternative" is not even worth trying.

The only point that I found irritating (and so did my mum) is the sparseness of literature. Few sources are cited and they only refer to the chapter rather than a specific statement. This is something that would be worth amending in future printings and/or in other language additions. I want all necessary references in the book I am reading and don't want to be refered to another book of the author for background.

A must read for:

Any person in the medical field, so they understand who and what contributes to healing (the colour of the pill often as much as the ingredient).

Anyone with a longer lasting medical condition (since they are the prime "target" for most of the CAM methods and practitioners).

Any parent (most CAM products are essentially "Wellness" and parents should realize that they can generate "Wellness" for their child without the stringent rules of homeopathy, or the potentially dangerous upper spine manipulations of a chiropractor).
74 internautes sur 93 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Be prepared to revisit your thinking about acupuncture, homeopathy, chiropractic therapy and holistic medicine 23 octobre 2008
Par Blaine Greenfield - Publié sur
If you're a fan of acupuncture, homeopathy, chiropractic therapy,
or holistic medicine, you probably won't want to read TRICK OR
TREATMENT by Simon Singh and Dr. Edzard Ernst . . . its premise,
as stated in the subtitle, is to present THE UNBELEVABLE FACTS

In doing so, they state in the very first two paragraphs what readers
can expect to find:

* The contents of this book are guided entirely by a single pithy
sentence, written over 2,000 years ago by Hippocrates of Cos.
Recognized as the father of medicine, he stated:

"There are, in fact, two things, science and opinion;
the former begets knowledge, the latter ignorance."

There's much to like about this book . . . for one, there were
interesting tidbits about famous people, including the following
about Florence Nightingale:

* Nightingale's passion for statistics enabled her to persuade the
government of the importance of a whole series of health reforms.
For example, many people had argued that training nurses was
a waste of time, because patients cared or by trained nurses
actually had a higher mortality rate than those treated by
untrained staff. Nightingale, however, pointed out that this was only
because more serious cases were being sent to those wards with
trained nurses. If the intention is to compare the results from two
groups, then it is essential . . . to assign patients randomly
to the two groups. Sure enough, when Nightingale set up trials
in which patients were randomly assigned to trained and untrained
nurses, it became clear that their counterparts in wards with untrained
nurses. Furthermore, Nightingale used statistics to show that home
births were safer than hospital births, presumably because British homes
were cleaner than Victorian hospitals. Her interests also ranged
overseas, because she also used mathematics to study the influence
of sanitation on healthcare in rural India.

I also liked how the authors clearly explained concepts and while
doing so, incorporated some humor into what otherwise could have
been very dry material . . . for example, as indicated in this passage:

* Scientists even began to poke fun at homeopaths. For example,
because homeopathic liquid remedies are so diluted that they
often contain only water, scientists would sarcastically endorse
their use for the treatment of one particular medical condition,
namely dehydration. Or they would jokingly offer to make each
other a drink of homeopathic coffee, which was presumably
incredibly diluted and yet tasted incredibly strong, because
homeopaths believe that lower amounts of active ingredient
are associated with greater potency. Similar logic also implied that
a patient who forgot to take a homeopathic remedy might die
of an overdose.

At the very end of the book, there's an excellent "Rapid Guide to
Alternative Therapies" . . . these cover some 36 others, including
Colonic Irrigation, Feldenkrais Method, Magnet Therapy, Osteopathy,
and Reiki.

Be forewarned that you might not like what you read in TRICK
OR TREATMENT, particularly if you believe in any and/or all
of the above . . . however, it will get you thinking--and that's
always a good thing.
17 internautes sur 20 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A science-based approach to alternative medicine 20 février 2010
Par D. Harley - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat authentifié par Amazon
Singh and Ernst's book is an introduction both to the principles of science-based medicine and various alternative remedies.

The authors explain by way of historical examples how the methodologies of evidence-based medicine evolved and the various pitfalls encountered along the way. To many attracted to alternative medicine 'science' is a dirty word, but explained in terms of how evidence is gathered and assessed the authors make a strong case for this approach being non-ideological, fair, and reasonable.

The authors begin in the first chapter entitled "How do you determine the truth?" by addressing this fundamental but surprisingly tricky question. Given all of the complications of the human body and influences impacting upon it, how can we be sure a remedy really works? Here the authors introduce the idea of using randomization and control groups to provide a means of fair comparison, using the historical examples such as scurvy and blood-letting as entertaining and sometimes gross illustrations.

In the remaining chapters the authors address popular practices such as acupuncture, homeopathy and chiropractic, expanding along the way on refinements such as blinding that were evolved by researchers in order to eliminate problems like unconscious bias and the placebo effect. It is also explained how systematic reviews work and the origins of the Cochrane Collaboration, an interesting story in itself.

This does not strike me as a book with an agenda: it is a clear and straightforward explanation of how science-based medicine is practiced and it provides what I think is a fair and balanced assessment of various alternative practices. If you are a big fan of alternative medicine I would strongly recommend you read this book. At the very least you will be entertained for a couple of hours with tales from the history of medicine, and you will certainly come away better informed. In all this was an entertaining, informative and thought-provoking book, and you come away with a wonderfully simple tool for making a complicated world simple: just do a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded trial, stupid!
19 internautes sur 23 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 A Little Disappointed 1 octobre 2011
Par Suzy - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat authentifié par Amazon
I bought this book after hearing one of the authors interviewed on the radio, and I'll confess I was a little disappointed in it. I was expected an even-handed review of the current state of research into "alternative medicine" (of which I am no fan!) but really felt that the authors were writing in a persuasive style. Maybe because some of their language (using words such as "bogus" and "fake") was a little aggressive and did not lend an impartial, objective tone to the writing. I still found it interesting, but wondered whether evidence which did not support what appeared to be their "case" was withheld or underemphasized, such was the tone of the book. That is my only complaint, I enjoyed reading the book, I liked the anecdotes and background information on the selected therapies - actually I was surprised by how many "alternative" therapies had been found to be effective for some conditions, how many had simply not been properly researched yet, how many started off in the "alternative" camp but after they were found effective have made their way into mainstream, and how many work although we have no idea why (eg acupuncture)! I did enjoy the discussion of the "placebo" effect. I did feel that much was made of the risks and ineffectiveness of some "alternative" treatments (eg chiropractic) and would have liked a comparison with the risks, side effects and effectiveness of "mainstream" treatments for the same conditions (eg chemotherapy, surgery). (They did do this for some conditions, but not all.) I suppose the authors would say that their focus was on " do alternative therapies work" rather than "does mainstream medicine work" ? Fair enough, I guess.
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