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Perspect Biol Med. 2002 Summer;45(3):395-415.

Medical validity in Eastern and Western traditions.

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1
Psychiatry and Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, PA 15213, USA. hfabregajr@adelphia.net

Abstract

When comparing biomedical treatments and traditional treatments from China and India, validity is established by a randomized placebo-controlled trial (RPCT). While the advantages of RPCT are uncontestable, its requirements handicap validation of treatments from Eastern traditions, which are integrated within a worldview that encompasses natural philosophy, theology, empirically based clinical experience, and spiritual and moral tenets. RPCT evolved during a time when comparatively little was known about Eastern medical traditions; about the effects of emotional, cognitive, and cultural factors on healing; or about the evolutionary biology and psychology of innate mind/body mechanisms, such as those producing placebo responses, which may constitute evolved adaptations naturally selected during human evolution. A fair way of both securing the advantages provided by RPCT and balancing them with a methodology that ensures safe and efficacious treatments from other traditions can be facilitated by examining medical validity in light of generalizations from evolutionary psychology and the cultural study of medicine.

PMID:
12114833
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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