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Books, Journals, New Media
November 11, 1998

Alternative MedicineAlternative Medicine: What Works

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorJonathan D.EldredgeMLS, PhD, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


Not Available


Copyright 1998 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.1998American Medical Association


by Adriane Fugh-Berman, 254 pp, paper, $14.95, ISBN 0683-30407-0, Baltimore, Md, Williams & Wilkins, 1997.

JAMA. 1998;280(18):1635. doi:10.1001/jama.280.18.1635-JBK1111-4-1

This inexpensive volume stands apart from other books about alternative medicine. Instead of advising on nostrums and dosages, it offers evidence. Alternative Medicine: What Works is not a treatment manual but instead examines the peer-reviewed literature regarding alternative therapies. This examination is prefaced by a lucid chapter, "Scientific Terms Explained." Although the book is written for lay readers, many physicians may benefit from Fugh-Berman's clear summary of statistics, clinical trials, confounders, and study bias. In the second chapter, "Note To Medical Professionals," Fugh-Berman explains her methods in selecting studies and interpreting them. Her review of over 600 studies from the English-language literature is balanced and differentiates between mediocre and rigorous clinical trials.

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