Monday, June 06, 2005

More on the Alliance Between the University of Pennsylvania and the Tai Sophia Institute

The Associated Press has done a follow-up of the new relationship between the University of Pennsylvania Medical School and the Tai Sophia Institute, "an alternative medicine school." (See our previous post here.)
The new article quoted the leader of Tai Sophia, "the goal is that the Penn medical school graduates will be highly able to speak with patients about how to guide these things [acupuncture, herbalism] in overall care."
Furthermore, Dr. Alfred P Fishman, "co-director of the collaboration," noted, "today, we're moving away from being completely focused on preventing disease and toward looking at what it takes to [achieve and maintain] wellness... I think patient care will improve enormously."
In particular, the article reported that "cardiologists at Penn's Presbyterian Medical Center are working with Tai Sophia to integrate alternative therapies into traditional care for heart patients. The idea is to teach the cardiology staff how to develop personalized therapy plans - including everything from meditation and message to reflexology and aromatherapy - to decrease patient stress, pain and anxiety."
However, the article also included a riposte by Steven Barrett, who runs Quackwatch. Barrett charged that alternative medicine is not being accepted into medical schools because of good evidence that it works, but because "skeptical voices are squelched and 'administrators see it as a way to jump on the bandwagon and get grant money.'"
I wonder what sort of data exists on the benefits of reflexology or aromatherapy for patients with heart disease? I would bet not much. Quick PubMed searches did not reveal anything convincing. For Quackwatch's take, see their page on reflexology, and their page on aromatherapy.
I am still waiting for any rationale for the University of Pennsylvania's embrace of the Tai Sophia Institute that fits with the University's scientific mission.

No comments: