Peddling CAM To Your Children

children, a site run by Nemours, a pediatric health system, is promoting CAM to teens and parents.

I was surfing various CAM topics the other day and I came across the Teens Health section of the website, and an article on CAM (Complimentary and Alternative Medicine). An excerpt from the article regarding CAM, distinguishes the difference between complimentary and alternative medicine.
“Many patients and health care providers use alternative treatments together with conventional therapies. This is known as complementary medicine.”
“Both alternative and complementary medicine use the same kinds of remedies to treat a health condition. The difference is that alternative medicine is often used instead of conventional medical techniques. Complementary medicine is used in addition to conventional medicine, not as a replacement. The field of complementary and alternative medicine is known as CAM for short.”
Then, of course, they use the line

“Some CAM therapies are supported by scientific evidence.”
Since when? If they were supported by scientific evidence, they’d be medicine, not CAM.

“Sometimes experts have scientific evidence that a CAM practice (like acupuncture) works, but they don’t have a clear understanding of why.”
Sure it is. The placebo effect is well known. What experts are they talking to?

“For some health problems, alternative healing approaches on their own may not be enough to help a person get well. Even something as seemingly minor as an infection may need treatment with traditional medications, like antibiotics. That’s why it’s always best to see your doctor if you have a health problem and talk openly about any CAM techniques you might want to try.”
“Another reason you should be up-front with your doctor about CAM techniques is because, in some cases, CAM practices can actually interfere with traditional medical treatments. For example, certain herbal supplements can interfere with some prescription drugs, such as diabetes treatments or birth-control pills.”
Well, that’s almost a redeeming factor. At least they’re advocating doctors.

“Finding a good CAM practitioner is still not as easy as looking someone up in a phone book.”

Probably because they don’t exist……

“You may have already used a complementary or alternative practice, like yoga or massage, and not even thought about it! Trying practices like meditation and breathing can’t do any harm, but other CAM techniques may have consequences for people with certain health conditions. Even the more mainstream practices like yoga can hurt someone with a health condition — like a back problem — if they are not done properly. So check with your doctor before trying any CAM techniques. Your doctor will try to guide you on which practices you can safely try while continuing with your current method of treatment.”

See, the problem here is that they’re offering any credence to this garbage at all. They may use the disclaimer of “talk to your doctor,” but it still makes CAM seem to be a viable option for patients. THIS is being peddled on both the teen and parent sections of the site. When people start to rely on CAM for everyday things, they often turn to it first for serious things, and when it comes to a child’s health, the fact that parents thinks this is OK, can easily lead to serious illness or death for the child.

This is unacceptable.

Contributor: Robert Sacerich

Robert is a Philosophy of Science and Bioethics student, as well as blogger and science advocate/activist. He has worked extensively within the secular community for various secular nonprofit organizations and public communication causes.

See his full bio!

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