nos-trum. pronunciation: \nos'-trum\. noun. Etymology: Latin, neuter of noster our, ours.
1. a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness.
2. a usually questionable remedy or scheme.
See here for more discussion.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Keeping Up With The Woo: Medical Intuitionists

Medical intuition.  If only I'd known; it would have saved me ten years of rigorous and exhausting training.

The International Association of Medical Intuitionists is a real organization. You can bone up on their approach here.  They promise not to poke or prod you in the course of diagnosis, or cause any discomfort...heaven forbid.

Just Google medical intuition to find out how fast this is exploding.

My understanding of intuition is "a belief characterized by immediacy and founded on prior experience."  Philosophers have been arguing about this forever.  But, at one extreme it means knowledge without effort (it just "comes to you").  At the other extreme, it's something we all do:  when not everything adds up, we are bothered, and seek further.  That happens all the time when I see patients.  But it's not intuition in the former sense, it's just that subconsciously I'm not perceiving evidence fully or in perspective, and I need to gather more data.

The first extreme is hooey.  The second is an integral part of analytic thinking.  See where you think inituitionists fit.

There's a spiritual thread that runs through the methods (unexplained) and goals of the movement.

Here's what a Medical Intuition can do (from their website above):
--Provide specific information regarding the function of the organs and glands as well as the many different body systems.
[That's pretty cool.  I usually have to use all my senses, evidence, test results, and thinking skills to be successful.  Why have I been doing it the hard way?]

--Offer exclusive information regarding the function of the energetic body, thus revealing mental, emotional and spiritual issues that may surround your health concern.
[I think those issues have always surrounded your concerns, else you would be seeing a physician instead.]

--Reveal health issues that may go undetected when utilizing standard medical test 
[I can't argue with that.  These unsubstantiated approaches always seem to find something that can't be identified or investigated by any other means.]

--Offer you with a second opinion of your current health concerns.
[Definitely it will be.]

The referenced articles that allegedly support medical intuition are mostly by four people.  Titles like "Finding Your Authentic Space."

Here's the thing.  The claims are all purposefully broad and semantically ambiguous.  If the goal is to get you to think about your overall health, well and good.   But the description fails to lay a foundation for "how it all works" that can be validated.   And it ain't no substitute for breast cancer chemotherapy.

Maybe they can do some good, but I sure hope they know when to punt.

Doc D

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