Ethics in Medicine

The Economist, “Think Yourself Better”

Kristen Sparrow • June 17, 2011

Here is another letter in rebuttal to the articles in the Economist. I would also direct you to my previous post about believing in treatments that don’t work, but they make sense, dammit!

SIR – I have for years used acupuncture with good results, particularly in cases that have not responded to the medications and surgical procedures used in the Western medical canon. Acupuncture is practised by many physicians in the West and has been validated not only clinically but with double-blind studies. The method works, and our lack of understanding does not lessen its effect but underscores the inadequacy of our knowledge. While the placebo effect is an important phenomenon, it accompanies all forms of treatment, whether Western, Eastern, or otherwise.

Anthony Jahn
Professor of clinical otolaryngology
Columbia University
New York

(For more information about my practice please go to