The field of mind-body medicine is plagued by wild claims that mislead patients and instil false hope. But as scientists in a range of fields uncover solid evidence that our minds influence our bodies quite profoundly, there is now great promise, too.
Jo Marchant attempts to use scientific research to find out if alternative medicines work; if our thoughts, beliefs and emotions influence our physical health; and if we can train our brains to heal our bodies.
©2016 Jo Marchant (P)2016 W F Howes Ltd
"Cure beautifully describes the cutting-edge research going on in the fascinating - and until now, often unexplored - area of mind-body medicine." (Henry Marsh, author of Do No Harm)
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"Medical equivalent book to “Scientific Creationism"
This is a trash book based upon content. The narrator is fine.
I listened to “Cure” by Jo Marchant after reading glowingly positive reviews in the NY Times, NPR, etc. As a PhD in chemistry with many years as a tenured professor at a top 20 university followed by many years in biotech, I found it to be a horribly non-scientific book that pretends to evaluate the placebo effect and the influence of the mind but really is an indictment of evidence-based medicine. Jo Marchant has written the equivalent to medicine of books on “Scientific Creationism” for evolutionary biology: pseudoscience at best, and believe and superstition masquerading as science at worst.
For example, the studies of placebos are done by one scientific group in the world and with limited number of patients. The studies of alternative medicine are generally uncontrolled and have too few participants. Most evidence is simply individual testimony. Indeed, like nearly all alternative medicine proponents, Jo Marchant consistently uses such testimony rather than randomized clinical trials because the evidence from RCT is overwhelmingly that alternative treatments have no benefit except the placebo effect.
As such, the book is nothing more than an ode to the influence of placebo which all physicians and pharmaceutical/biotech scientists would fully acknowledge is significant. But, Ms. Marchant then tries to indict reputable scientists and companies that are working on treating diseases in which the mind is of negligible effect: cancer, cardiovascular, etc.
As the head of the alternative medicine at NHS told Ms. Marchant, the only sensible and ethical scientific position is to give medicines with active ingredients as these also include any placebo effect since patients expect the medicines to work. Any other position is unethical, wastes the money of patients, and can prevent or delay needed medical treatment for diseases like cancer that are so critical for early diagnosis.
I have utter contempt for Ms. Marchant. My guess from years as a professor, is that she was one of the graduate students who do little more than run standard experiments, isolate a product and write up the results for some obscure journal. She certainly never learned the skepticism and analytical thought processes of a scientist, and should have her PhD rescinded!
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