I am writing to comment on Franklin Hoke's article "Alternative Medicine Ideas Widen Horizons in Biomedical Research" in the March 21 issue of The Scientist [page 1].

I am extremely skeptical of the current attempts to merge "alternative medicine" with the mainstream. It seems to me that these techniques are generally unsupported by hard evidence and in some cases, such as homeopathy, are exercises in fantasy. Hearing so-called medical professionals claiming that it is unfeasible to test the effectiveness of a Chinese herbal remedy because the diagnostic method is different from the methods used in the West is absurd; either it works well, works to a limited degree, or doesn't work at all.

If these "treatments" actually work as claimed, then they will surely stand up to serious research. Before such flights of fancy are included with medicine that has demonstrated benefits, their claims must be verified like any other...

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