Saturday, September 28, 2013

#729: Mimi Guarneri

Mimi Guarneri is an M.D., clinical cardiologist, and the founder of the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine in La Jolla, California (and the woo-meister who was paired with Steve Novella on The Dr. Oz Show). So she does have some medical qualifications – so maybe we should listen to what she has to say about alternative medicine? In her own words: “why are we arguing over whether or not acupuncture is a placebo? We have three licensed acupuncturists and two physician acupuncturists at The Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine. I can cite patient after patient who has received benefit from our acupuncture program.” In other words: no, we shouldn’t. And no, she has no studies supporting her claims, nor does she seem to understand why any is needed.

With Andrew Weil and others, she was also  among the founders of the American Board of Integrative Medicine, whose role is to legitimize certain alternative practices, by distinguishing between “good” CAM and “bad” CAM and certifying the former. Some might of course wonder how you draw this distinction when none of the practices can actually be justified by evidence in any case, but I’m sure they’ll find a way. Crystal ball gazing as a guide to decisions has some positive testimonials behind it as well, and could surely be applied with vagueness and metaphors.

Diagnosis: Not the most rabid promoter of quackery out there, but her apparent level-headedness might make her even more dangerous in the long run. Potentially a real threat to civilization.

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