I have covered developments of the Society for Integrative Oncology over the 19 years since the organization placed its flag squarely in the emerging, evidence-based integrative medicine era. Many of its accomplishments have been remarkable for the broader integrative medicine field. SIO has had success in creating guidelines that have been endorsed by conventional oncology organizations. Internally, the organization has, since its beginning, fostered an interprofessional environment that has, for instance, included naturopathic physicians in the presidency and leading its marquis integrative breast cancer guideline initiative. I’d never attended their conference until this year when I was one of 380 souls at the October 27-29, 2019 conference in Phoenix. Here are some impressions. Credit the 19th century composer Mussorgsky for the title.
The lousy and non-collegial editorial review process that allowed JAMA Oncology to publish the erroneous data-mining article from two Yale researchers that stimulated my recent Retraction Needed? JAMA Oncology’s Bum Science Suggests People Die Faster Using Complementary Medicine continues to make waves. Many of you were interested in the topic. Here are some brief updates.
Multiple integrative oncologists question whether JAMA Oncology did the public a huge disservice in publishing the controversial data-mining, population-based research led by Skyler Johnson, MD and James Yu, MD, MHS. The study concluded that use of complementary therapies leads to shorter life spans. The New York Times was among the major media that posted the scare.
A conventional oncology clinician or a typical patient deciding whether to step out of the box and try a “complementary” treatment got a strong message from multiple major media outlets the past three weeks. A New York Times subheading was representative: “People who used herbs, acupuncture and other complementary treatments tended to die earlier than those who didn’t.”