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Book review: Snake Oil Science by Bausell

Posted on November 17th, 2010 by Jeff Thiboutot M.S.

This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. This book has nothing to do with weight loss, but has everything to do with how science works and what should be considered quality evidence. This is related to what Matt and I discussed in Appendix A: What is quality evidence in our book. I really feel that anyone who needs to present information to their clients or patients should read this book. Although the author focuses on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), it’s general thesis on evidence is applicable to all fields. I don’t think that it is the end-all-be-all for determining the efficacy of ALL CAM modalities, it certainly is a solid foundation for such an endeavor. Additionally, the many principles laid out can, and should be levied against many main stream medicine approaches to health and disease, which, in fact, the author does briefly mention a few times throughout the book. Again, this book should be required reading for all types of practitioners. It is also a very good book for the lay public. However, some of the material may not be easily understood at first, but will likely need a bit of time and a second or third reading to really get it.

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