The “gold standard” is not what they say

Mainstream medicine doctors love to disregard therapies that have not been “proven by randomized, double blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trials.” However, many therapies in mainstream and natural-therapy medicine are very safe and effective but lack clinical trials to prove them. Does this mean these therapies are not valid and should not be recommended? I’d like to share with you what the “standard of care” really is.

Questioning the gold standard in healthcare

Let me begin with a description of a term commonly used in mainstream medicine called “evidence-based medicine.” This is described as “The conscientious, explicit, judicious and reasonable use of modern, best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients.” [1] Evidence-based medicine aims to rely on high quality research such as systematic reviews and meta-analyses to guide clinical decision-making.

The next way to establish a standard of care in mainstream medicine is called the “randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled (RDBPC) clinical trial.” These are human studies in which neither group knows what treatment they are receiving, and each participant is randomly assigned to either the treatment group or the placebo (control) group. Some doctors foolishly hold to the belief that if it has not been proven by a RDBPC trial, it should not be recommended. I beg to differ and here’s why.

If you need to know about the effectiveness of a prescription drug, then a RDBPC study is needed. There are many examples of this. However, a substantial part of preventing or reversing illness is not the use of a drug or supplement. While most all mainstream doctors hold fast to RDBPC studies as the only “gold standard” of medicine,[2] it hasn’t always been this way. There are fundamental therapies in medicine that have deviated from this standard for decades.

For example, in a 1978 report by our government’s Office of Technology Assessment’s (OTA) advisory board made up of eminent university faculty, "…only 10 to 20 percent of all procedures [then] currently used in medical practice [had] been shown to be efficacious by controlled trial."[3] This means that 80% to 90% of “gold standard”’ medical procedures were still unproven by a scientific clinical trial!

Moreover, according to a 1988 Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) article, 44% of all coronary artery bypass graft (open heart) surgery was being done for inappropriate reasons.[4] You can see that pride or greed creeps into mainstream medicine.