We shouldn’t use labels like “Alternative” and “Conventional” Medicine



University of Toronto recently stirred up a bit of controversy by uncritically offering a class on alternative medicine when people looked at the coursework which included many studies debunked by this channel some people started to freak out a variety of bloggers and journalists brought up many valid concerns but this whole debate highlights a much larger problem no one is sure how best to teach this subject the dichotomy between alternative and traditional medicine or between eastern and western medicine is a false one we'd be much better off if we could reframe the issue and that's the topic of this week's healthcare triage people often think of Eastern or alternative medicine is more natural they feel that Western medicine is built around technology and products produced in a lab they're not entirely wrong many of the gains that have been made in traditional medicine have been the result of innovation in laboratories but that doesn't mean that everything doctors are taught in medical school involves a drug or device I talked to patients all the time about diet and exercise and I don't do it because there's a company making money off of it I do it because both of those things have been proven to be important for health nor do all medications get cooked up in a lab we recommend in folic acid which is a B vitamin for pregnant women because research has shown that doing so reduces the risk of major birth defects in newborns we all know that adequate intake of vitamin C prevents scurvy and vitamin D prevents rickets none of these things are controversial to physicians we recommend them all the time and that's not because they were developed in the Western Hemisphere it's because they were subjected to the rigor of scientific investigation and found to have merit there are many other forms of non technological medicine that have the weight of scrutiny behind them in a meta-analysis published just a few years ago researchers looked at all the accumulated randomized controlled trials examining how acupuncture fared in treating people with chronic pain they found that not only did acupuncture work better than no acupuncture control groups there were small but significant differences between acupuncture & sham acupuncture this would suggest that not all of the benefits are placebo effects people been treating many mental health issues with therapy for years full disclosure I'm one of them I've never taken any of the long-term psychotropic drugs and many patients prefer not to if possible Austan frak my upshot Co contributor wrote recently about the evidence supporting cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia as well as a host of other problems even mindfulness or meditation has been studied extensively and found to be pretty effective in treating anxiety and mood problems I've been convinced enough by this evidence to attempt meditation myself I would argue that all the therapies I mentioned here aren't considered complementary therapies they're often just considered therapies that's because they've been studied and they've been proven to work too often though those who consider themselves supporters of alternative medicine disdain the any of their treatments need to be studied they make an appeal to the fact that their medicine is more natural and has been used for long periods of time or has the support of many people in other cultures of course not long ago all therapies can be described in this way the application of modern science allowed for us to design and conduct trials that could prove or disprove a treatments efficacy or harm many of the drugs we use today had humble origins digitalis comes from foxglove quinine from Kanchana bark penicillin from bread mould and aspirin from willow tree bark conventional medicine may have improved in our ability to purify these substances but it acknowledges that many natural therapies hold value but science rejects many forms of complementary medicine is ineffective just a few months ago the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia released a report in which they fully reviewed 225 studies of homeopathy the practice of treating sick people with small amounts of substances that cause similar symptoms and healthy people and after considering more than 1,800 pages for inclusion they published their findings they found no well-designed studies that found it to outperform placebo or function as well as any conventionally approved therapies and their conclusions echoed a previous report from Britain and those of Cochrane systematic reviews my friends who believe in homeopathy don't really care those who favor conventional medicine though can be just as blinded too often when confronted with evidence that advanced technology might not be providing any benefits the medical community refuses to change its behavior healthcare triage episodes are littered with examples of this from potentially to widespread screening mammography to advanced life support to many surgical procedures supporters of Western medicine are often blind to their own prejudices to butterbur a plant extract has been found in medical studies to be as effective as antihistamines in treating allergic rhinitis without the sedating side effects conventional drugs often have horse chestnut seed extract appears to be safe and effective in the short term treatment of chronic venous insufficiency peppermint oil can be used to relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome I know a few physicians who promote these therapies as often as they do prescription or over-the-counter drugs granted that could be because it's potentially hard to be sure of what you're buying when you purchase supplements but there are ways to overcome those issues in 1998 the Journal of the American Medical Association published a theme issue on alternative medicine for common chronic medical conditions the randomized controlled trials within it offered evidence that spinal manipulation did not improve tension type headaches that acupuncture and acupressure did not reduce pain caused by HIV related peripheral neuropathy and met the supplement garcinia cambogia did not help with weight loss however the same issue contained studies that showed that Yoga based interventions improved carpal tunnel syndrome more than risk splinting that the Chinese practice of moxibustion significantly increased fetal activity and fixed breech presentations before delivery and that Chinese herbal medicine appeared to improve symptoms in some patients with irritable bowel syndrome although some of this research has been continued to my knowledge neither side of Medicine has changed their practices or beliefs much based on this work an accompanying editorial Phil fought Rosa and Jorge Lundberg two of jamas editors wrote and I'm quoting 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 I'd only change this by adding in there is no conventional medicine healthcare triage is supported in part by viewers like you through patreon comm a service that allows you to support the show through a monthly donation your support helps us make this bigger and better we'd especially like to thank a research associate Cameron Alexander and our first ever surgeon Admiral Sam thanks Cameron thanks Sam more information can be found at patreon.com slash health characters

39 comments

  1. Now if we could only get rid of the food labels like "natural" and "healthy" and so on, that are placed on all of the mass produced, covered in wasteful single use plastics, that are definitely not good for any one to consume!!
    And I would love it if all of the people who believe in the nutty beliefs that came over from (mostly) China & Asia, that are just killing off so many animal species!!! (And they don't do a damn bit of good either!)
    People believe the weirdest crap, for example eating pangolin scales (which are critically endangered & adorable too) and the brains of vultures, and even dried sea horses, (and don't forget the nutty bird-nest soup eaters!) will give one all these health benefits, it's just so awful to needlessly kill & eat so many different species of animals for no actual good reason, especially the pangolin scale thing, they are made out of the same materials as human fingernails!!! (Don't even mention Tiger Wine or any other crazy disgusting beliefs and practices surrounding tigers, they are such a magnificent animal, and there are so few of them left in the world.)
    There's got to be a way to just get people to realize that all this crap needs to stop!! Eating random & sometimes totally disgusting parts from animals will not improve one's health in the ways they think it will!

    read more here-

    https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/10-animals-being-exploited-for-use-in-alternative-medicine.html

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2014/08/08/extinction-by-traditional-chinese-medicine-an-environmental-disaster/#3500cfb5bd31

  2. Vitamin D-3 (not a vitamin at all, but considered by some a statin), is highly suspect as it causes bone loss leading to calcium shards floating in the bloodstream, artery damage, which then leads to hardened arteries and brain dysfunctions like Alzheimer's and dementia; even kidney failure. D-3 = cholecalciferol, derived from sheep's lanolin (remember Brylcream hair dressing?) a popular rat/mouse poison produced by Bell Labs. Doctors can't agree on correct calcium levels in the bloodstream, so they choose to err on the high side accelerating the onset of the above mentioned, self inflicted diseases. In 2013 the amount of D-3 added to dairy was increased. Why? Because doctors are selfish and want to make more money with the growing population coming down with ailments (supposedly) caused by natural aging. Doctors will lie and tell you calcium shards are consumed by drinking homogenized milk. Truth: if you "drank" a shard of calcium, it could not get into your blood stream, it would stay in the bowels. More lies doctors will tell you involve consuming wood based food additives like cellulose used in breads, ice cream and some cheese products and soups; they say it passes through your body unchanged, just adding (unnatural) fiber. The truth is it ferments (yeast + sugar + water + time = fermentation = wood alcohol which is poisonous). Have a nagging cough you can't get rid of? The wood alcohol alters your mucus, causes IBS, perforated bowel and probably more. Then we could venture into GMO crops like Roundup Corn by Monsanto that is killing the honey bee population (and you). You can thank the doctors on the FDA board and Bill Clinton who took a huge bribe to get GMO's introduced to our food chain.

  3. This makes no god damn sense. You MUST follow the evidence. If it is there, it is clearly true, if it isn't, it is false. sigh There are days I hate the normal functioning human brain…and then I remember why mine isn't and just wonder what shades of grey feel like.

  4. Herbal remedies have been studied yet most doctors dont seem to know anything about them or their use. Why is that?

  5. mainstream medicine is mostly pseudoscientific quackery, proven by it's failure to get sick well. if it worked, people wouldn't seek alternatives.

  6. Right!! some have become convinced allopathy is primary
    by Bullying and Suggestion Alternative?? western Misnomer

  7. Hey healthtriage! Great channel. Can yall provide links for these sources? Not doubting your honesty, just want em

  8. Homeopathy is a proven treatment for at least one problem. If your wallet is feeling bloated and just too full homeopathy will help with that.

  9. Every time I go to my partner's home country Malaysia her Malaysian Chinese family indoctrinates her with riddicoilous ideas based on "Qi"an notion of a "cooling" or "heaty" I get annacdotal evidence from her antie who is a nurse no less. I want a simple conisese video, like the ones you make to prove my point and to stop them from wanting to stab needles into my mum's foot, and feed me birds nest soup, and other potentially harmful garbage.

    Please and thank you!

    PS really appreciate your work!

  10. Considering the fact that "conventional" medicine is the third leading cause of death in this country, I think making the distinction between conventional and alternative is most useful.  People intuitively understand that alternative practitioners aren't likely to kill them.

  11. Hi, how about the phytotherapy? Does WHO recommends it? Have them been studied? I'd love to see a video about it!

  12. Www.cancertutor.com ……watch Charlotte Gerson or Chris Wark on YouTube . Cancer can be cured 90% of the time ! We are being lied to by conventional oncology.

  13. So accociation between acupuncture practice and pain relief was observed in the study you mentioned?
    Correlation doesn't equate causation doc, I know you have used the phrase so many times that if you take the study for granted, you would come out hypocritical.

  14. all I know that after living 6 years with chronic pain I tried a synergy of 3 products to lose weight…the side effect led me to being pain free for a over a decade after taking this blend for just ONE MONTH. The weight lost was just 6 pounds but I gained my life back. I do not know of any "scientifically proven medicine" that can resolve chrinic pain without dangerous side effects for a little bit iver a decade. Sure, there is a time & place for hospitals but my family and I stick to the natural approach. I am 46, my mom 70 and we are no longer on prescription meds. We visit our doctor's annually and all looks perfect…that was not the case while we were bombarded by "scientifically proven" prescription drugs. Sorry, but I do not trust the FDA & pharmaceutical companies
    Also, in many cases some doctor's are prescribing meds because they benefits from those prescriptions in different ways. Sure, there are unqualified people providing complimentary and alternative medicine but there are also incompetent medical care providers killing people. Just look at how many death annually are due to healthcare providers trained under "scientfically proven methods." Finally, I can name numerous drugs that are synthetic versions of some of the active ingredients from plants. The reason why plant research is not being conducted is because we can not patent naturally occurring ingredients. Well, let me rephrase that…they are being conducted by pharmaceutical companies in order to synthesize the active ingredient of a plant and rob people of what is naturally available. The worst part is how the FAD and AMA under the guise ti protect consumers are taking our freedom to choose the methods that we choose. Ironicly two of the main killers in our society tobacco and alcohol are legalized. 😉

  15. The proliferation of "alternative medicine" might be partially a result of the fact that few doctors do their own research, as was more common in the past. Also, in your opinion, are doctors influenced by the pharmaceutical industry? I have had general practitioners refuse to consider some methods that actually have been tested. I don't disparage doctors in general, yet they are human. Some percentage of them must be lazy.

  16. Wow this was very disappointing and there is clearly a lack of distinction between evidence-based medicine and science-based medicine. I suggest the writers familiarize themselves. In regards to moxibustion alone: https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/moxibustion/

  17. I completely agree with all Dr. Carroll pointed out in this video. Particularly, I enjoyed the notion that medicine is either proven or unproven. There should be no conventional versus alternative medicine, just that which is supported to work. To add to this topic, I want to discuss an ethical viewpoint of recommending laboratory-made medicine over other treatment options.  

    Health professionals are supposed to act to benefit others as they are mandated to adhere to the principle of beneficence. Recommending a treatment that has no support is not benefiting a patient unless they have tried everything else and they are grasping at straws to find something that works. Recommending treatments whether they are laboratory-made drugs, exercise, a healthier diet, meditation, or natural drugs benefits patients as long as they have gone through the vigorous research cycle and have been proven to work.

    Health professionals who prescribe laboratory-made drugs over supported alternatives like taking vitamins, exercising, or switching to a healthier diet are acting ethically as long as the drug is proven to work and the patient chose that treatment option. Respect for autonomy is big in healthcare and individuals have the right to choose what treatment option they want, just as health professionals have the right and duty to express their recommendations. The only mishap here would be if a patient took the recommendation of a health professional who chooses not to keep up with current research and only recommends one treatment without acknowledging the strengths of others. Refusal to change one’s behavior when research supports other treatments over the preferred one is unethical of health professionals. They should always be willing to change their practice and recommendations if research permits it. This is the only way to ensure one is continually acting to benefit their patients.

    All in all, it is not unethical to prescribe laboratory-made drugs over alternatives as long as there is proof that it works, all options were expressed to the patient, and the patient chose that treatment option. The patient should always have the final decision and the health professional should always present the patient with all the supported treatment options currently known.

    Tying this to a few individuals’ comments to Dr. Carroll’s video, I urge individuals to stop complaining about being prescribed more and more drugs or undergoing treatment that does not work for them. Not all individuals respond the same to certain treatments. It is not guaranteed that it will work for you, that is why there are different options to consult your doctor about. Take the time to research alternatives, find supported options, and confront your doctor about trying them. I understand there is a lack of willingness to change practice for some health professionals. This is a problem I alluded to above. Yet, if they do not change, you have to take it upon yourself to. Get second opinions, research reputable sources, and take charge of your health. Though we would like our health professionals to be completely responsible for our health, that is not the case. You are responsible for it too.

  18. The study on accupuncture really compares different forms of placebo and tell us that some placebos are stronger than others

  19. I think right now we are at a point where pharmaceutical companies knock down studies of "alternative medicine" so it just jeopardize their industry. Hence why we have all this shitty "scientific studies" that are deeply flawed in their methods, because they don't get funding. The rise of these shitty studies then makes company's not want to invest in research for fear of wasting money. Continue this trend into a downward spiral.

  20. I support killing all meat-eaters who breed or are religious by gunning them all down.
    I relabel such actions as moving atoms around.

  21. #Nmethyltransferase I have family members who believe in homeopathy and it drives me crazy when they try to force it on me.
    It is true that certain alternative medicine works. Many of the drugs currently on the market are alkaloids derived from plants that make up the crux of eastern medicine. Homeopathy, however, is utter nonsense. Homeopathy is thought to work by water memory, the idea that water can have some kind of memory of its solute and replicate its properties, which defies what we know about physical chemistry, and the one study that actually received positive results suggesting that this may be the case has never been able to be replicated. Okay, fine, technically water does have a memory. It lasts 50 femtoseconds (the time it takes for water to redistribute its bonds). Real curative properties there huh? Beyond that though, another fundamental tenet of homeopathy is that the more dilute a medicine is, the more potent it is. This is just completely absurd. By that logic we should all be chugging pure water and living eternally. Some of these medicines are so diluted that they don't even have a single molecule of the active ingredient, and, again, water has no effective memory.
    But fine. What if this isn't the way homeopathy works? After all, its just a hypothesis. Well, as pointed out in the video, homeopathic drugs have never outperformed placebos in a statistically significant way in all well-designed studies on the matter. I can stipulate that sometimes scientists get things wrong, but results don't lie.
    I have nothing against placebos whatsoever, but, if you tell me that I can't have actual medicine and make me take a placebo instead (which I know is a placebo, thereby significantly diminishes its therapeutic effects) I will not take kindly to that, and that is precisely what has happened to me in the past as I was told not to consume certain foods or medications that had actual therapeutic properties because they would cancel out the effects of the homeopathic medicine I had been given. @Nmethyltransferase
    Find out more view our pagehttp://www.chministries.org/default.aspx?mem=198541

  22. What would you call ubiquinone/CoQ10? In Japan, it's approved to treat heart failure, but nowhere else. What about alpha lipoic acid? Approved to treat liver failure in Germany, but nowhere else.

  23. A common misconception is that traditional medicine deals only with artificial substances, things produced in labs or other forms of technology while alternative medicine is natural remedies. Although this hold a little truth to it, traditional medicine is not all laboratory findings and artificially produced drugs. Many doctors who use technological treatments of such also have recommended certain therapies, acupuncture and other more 'natural' treatments. This goes to show that these two categories of medicine are not black and white. In fact, there is an extremely large grey area in which they overlap. Conventional medicine still utilizes many natural things. Supporters, however are often blind to the disadvantages of each of the types of medicine they support. In actuality through, medicine is proven through many studies, so I am skeptical that "alternative medicine" should even really be considered medicine.

  24. You raise some good points here, but leave a couple important ones out.

    First, western medical tradition offers very little in the way of nutrition education during a typical medical program. I have heard the statistic that 3 in 4 doctors don't take a single class specializing in nutrition and in these doctors education would be limited to a few hours of instruction in a survey course. This means that most doctors likely get their nutrition information from the same place that "normal" people get it.

    Second, there is no "broccoli lobby" advocating the benefits of healthy diet and exercise over drugs. Since 1980 (and the Reagan Revolution), the NIH has had to work with a budget that is lower every year as a percentage of the overall economy, meaning that a greater and greater percentage of funding for medicine has been for the patent-able type. Most consumers seem to be quite happy with the fact that their favorite product has "unscientific support" rather than "scientific support" but the people who are standing up for the scientific version seem unwilling to put a foot in the political arena by saying "We actually don't know the answer to that, and here's why."

    If the evidence-based team could unite behind a global medical initiative to create a world-wide data collection organisation combined with New Deal funding levels for validating industry trials and investigating unpatentable medicines they would be performing a valuable service to both mankind and their industry.

  25. I have family members who believe in homeopathy and it drives me crazy when they try to force it on me.
    It is true that certain alternative medicine works. Many of the drugs currently on the market are alkaloids derived from plants that make up the crux of eastern medicine. Homeopathy, however, is utter nonsense. Homeopathy is thought to work by water memory, the idea that water can have some kind of memory of its solute and replicate its properties, which defies what we know about physical chemistry, and the one study that actually received positive results suggesting that this may be the case has never been able to be replicated. Okay, fine, technically water does have a memory. It lasts 50 femtoseconds (the time it takes for water to redistribute its bonds). Real curative properties there huh? Beyond that though, another fundamental tenet of homeopathy is that the more dilute a medicine is, the more potent it is. This is just completely absurd. By that logic we should all be chugging pure water and living eternally. Some of these medicines are so diluted that they don't even have a single molecule of the active ingredient, and, again, water has no effective memory.
    But fine. What if this isn't the way homeopathy works? After all, its just a hypothesis. Well, as pointed out in the video, homeopathic drugs have never outperformed placebos in a statistically significant way in all well-designed studies on the matter. I can stipulate that sometimes scientists get things wrong, but results don't lie.
    I have nothing against placebos whatsoever, but, if you tell me that I can't have actual medicine and make me take a placebo instead (which I know is a placebo, thereby significantly diminishes its therapeutic effects) I will not take kindly to that, and that is precisely what has happened to me in the past as I was told not to consume certain foods or medications that had actual therapeutic properties because they would cancel out the effects of the homeopathic medicine I had been given.

  26. I'm in DBT and it really helps. But I know I need medication to help with my mental illness. I have rapid cycling bipolar disorder. When I'm manic, I have auditory and visual hallucinations. If I felt comfortable not taking meds, I'd be all for it. But I know what happens when I don't take them. Psych ward visits happen. And I'd rather not deal with that again.

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