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Theoretical and empirical aspects of the assessment and practice of alternative medicine
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Social medicine.
1991 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The main purpose of this dissertation is to elucidate the problem of assessing and providing alternative medical technologies. The purpose is divisible into three parts:

  1. To investigate the bases of assessment for the acceptance of an alternative medical technology; 2. To investigate the professional and ethical problems connected with the practice of alternative medical technologies and find out whether the views of laymen and physicians differ with regard to the provision of treatments which are not in accordance with science and proven experience; 3. To investigate the interest physicians have shown in alternative medicine and the motives for this interest.

    These investigations are based partly on a study of the literature on alternative medicine dealing with the effects of the following alternative medical technologies: manipulation therapy, acupuncture, reflexio (zone) therapy, homoeopathy and magnetic therapy, and partly on empirical research into the attitudes expressed by doctors and patients towards non-scientific treatments.

    The results of these studies show that the acceptance of empirical data cannot be separated from the scientific paradigm within which the investigation has been planned. The documentation of the effect of alternative medical technologies is often empirically insufficient and based, in many instances, on so-called ”personal experience”. The interest shown by accredited physicians in alternative medicine is often motivated by the fact that certain complaints brought to them by their patients cannot be rectified by academic medical methods. The study also shows that physicians have professional interests which the patient is not prepared to respect in the same way as the physician is prepared to respect the right of a patient to refuse to undergo life-saving medical treatment.

    The main conclusion is that alternative medicine is a heterogeneous field where the interest expressed can be interpreted as a crisis phenomenon and an indication of the need for the assessment of alternative medicine as well as academic medicine. Laymen perceive the ethical and professional problems connected with the practice of alternative medicine relatively differently when compared to physicians. The possibility of scientific co-operation between practitioners of alternative medicine and academic medicine is difficult due to the fact that alternative medicine and academic medicine relate to different scientific paradigms. Clinical co-operation in the case of individual patients, on the other hand, is likely to occur.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 1991. , 39 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 316
Keyword [en]
alternative medicine, placebo effect, technology assessment, non- scientific treatment, professional ethics, layman’s perspective
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-100579OAI: diva2:793323
Public defence
1991-11-15, Sal 244,2 tr, byggnad 7, Regionsjukhuset i Umeå, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 09:00

Diss. (sammanfattning) Umeå : Umeå universitet, 1991, härtill 6 uppsatser

Available from: 2015-03-25 Created: 2015-03-04 Last updated: 2015-04-10Bibliographically approved

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