Review finds 11 tests commonly ordered by CAM practitioners lack clinical validity and utility, writes Lydia Hales

 

Patients are increasingly being exposed to direct-to-consumer lab tests and ‘dubious’ alternative medicine tests that are costly and can even be harmful, pathologists warn.

A group of Australian and British pathologists have reviewed the evidence for 11 tests commonly ordered by complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioners and found they lack clinical validity and utility (see box, below).

They say diagnostic testing is increasingly popular among CAM practitioners as technological advances have led to more in-house tests being developed by labs specialising in CAM tests.

Testing also “adds an element of science” to consultations and may justify the sale of supplements or therapies by the practitioner, the researchers say.

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