Leonard H. Sigal, MD
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Sigal LH. Lyme Disease Controversy: Use and Misuse of Language. Ann Intern Med. 2002;137:776-777. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-137-9-200211050-00030
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2002;137(9):776-777.
Dr. Lautin seems to take offense at the term alternative reality. Given the stakes, all medical approaches should be based on scientific studies, verifiable facts. Assertions that contradict repeatedly confirmed studies must be considered only “alternatives” until objective supporting evidence is produced. We must always be open to new findings and, if indicated, to adopting a new, perhaps continuous rather than dichotomous approach. Nonetheless, in some circumstances, the dichotomous approach is most appropriate. In the past, careful observation was the best one could do in attempting to describe phenomena; today, we can and must do better. Dr. Lautin inquires about the “ambition of the other group.” I do not claim to know what it might be but have no doubt that most of these clinicians want nothing but the best for their patients; I merely pointed out that there is no scientific basis for their practices. I counter his query with two others: Why would researchers seek to minimize the very disease we study? Would it not be in our best interests to enhance its reputation to attract more grants? I believe we take our stance because we serve the higher purpose of disseminating truth, wherever it may lie.
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