There is no Alternative Medicine…


“There is no alternative medicine. There is only scientifically proven, evidence-based medicine supported by solid data or unproven medicine, for which scientific evidence is lacking.” — Fontanarosa P.B., and Lundberg G.D. “Alternative medicine meets science” JAMA. 1998; 280: 1618-1619.

This quote was recently presented to me. While I understand what the authors were implying,  something was missed in the execution. The fact is that much of conventional medicine has been unproven and lacks solid data. Diabetes?  Heart disease?  Prostate cancer?  Spinal surgery? We do the best we can with what we have but this quote is an exaggeration.

Certainly the future must be evidence based and we must strive to discover the truth about what is effective, but being evidence-based includes utilizing treatments that the practitioner’s experience deems effective while awaiting evidence one way or the other.

Perhaps it would have been better stated, “There is no alternative medicine; there is only effective medical treatment and treatments that should be discarded.”


Dr. Brett Kinsler is an evidence-informed skeptical chiropractor in Rochester, NY

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