Stephen Barrett, M.D. has achieved national renown as an author, editor, and consumer advocate. In addition to heading Quackwatch, he is vice-president of the National Council Against Health Fraud, a scientific advisor to the American Council on Science and Health, and a Fellow of the Center for Inquiry’s Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI). The recipient of a number of awards, including the FDA Commissioner’s Special Citation Award for Public Service in fighting nutrition quackery and the Distinguished Service to Health Education Award from the American Association for Health Education, he is the author of 50 books, including The Health Robbers: A Close Look at Quackery in America and seven editions of the college textbook Consumer Health: A Guide to Intelligent Decisions.
In this discussion with D.J. Grothe, Dr. Barrett defines complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), the responsibilities of the healthcare consumer, whether or not CAM is growing in mainstream healthcare, and the types of people who are susceptible to CAM claims. He also explores various CAM therapies including Therapeutic Touch, Chiropractic and myths about water fluoridization, and how a skeptic might most effectively confront family members who are consumers of complementary and alternative medicine.
Also in this episode, Lauren Becker shares some thoughts on secular activism and science advocacy for 2008.