Edzard Ernst

Edzard Ernst

Edzard Ernst is the first Professor of Complementary Medicine in the United Kingdom.

In 1993, Ernst left his chair in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PMR) at the University of Vienna to set up the department of Complementary Medicine at the University of Exeter. He became director of complementary medicine of the Peninsula Medical School (PMS) in 2002. He is the first occupant of the Laing chair in Complementary Medicine. He was born and trained in Germany — Ernst began his medical career at a homeopathic hospital in Munich — and since 1999 has been a British citizen.

Ernst is the editor-in-chief of two medical journals, "Perfusion" and "Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies" [ [http://www.medicinescomplete.com/journals/fact/current/ Enabling Cookies: Pharmaceutical Press Journals ] ] . Ernst once contributed a regular column to the Guardian newspaper, frequently reviewing news stories about complementary medicine from an evidence-based perspective.Fact|date=February 2008

Work in complementary medicine

The world's first professor of complementary medicine,cite web |url=http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-wellbeing/features/complementary-therapies-the-big-con-813248.html |title=Complementary therapies: The big con? - The Independent |format= |work= |accessdate=] Ernst researches complementary medicine with an emphasis on efficacy and safety. His research mainly surveys, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses of clinical trials; the institute has not performed a clinical trial for some time due to budget constraints. He has over 700 papers published in scientific journals.cite web |url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2003/sep/25/scienceinterviews.health |title=Interview: Edzard Ernst | Science | The Guardian |format= |work= |accessdate=]

Ernst's department at Exeter defines complementary medicine as "diagnosis, treatment and/or prevention which complements mainstream medicine by contributing to a common whole, by satisfying a demand not met by orthodoxy or by diversifying the conceptual frameworks of medicine." [Ernst et al British General Practitioner 1995; 45:506]

Ernst asserts that, in Germany and Austria, complementary techniques are mostly practiced by qualified physicians, whereas in the UK they are mainly practiced by others. Ernst also argues that the term "Complementary and Alternative Medicine" ("CAM") is an almost nonsensical umbrella term, and that distinctions between its modalities must be made. [http://www.harcourt-international.com/ernst/interview.cfm Interview: Harcourt International]

Since his research began on alternative modalities, Ernst has become "the scourge of alternative medicine" for publishing critical research. In 2008 publication in the "British Journal of General Practice", Ernst's listed treatments that "demonstrably generate more good than harm" was limited to St John's wort for depression; hawthorn for congestive heart failure; guar gum for diabetes; acupuncture for nausea and osteoarthritis; aromatherapy as a palliative treatment for cancer; hypnosis for labour pain; and massage, music therapy, and relaxation therapy for anxiety and insomnia.

In 2008, Ernst and Simon Singh published "Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial". The authors challenged Charles, Prince of Wales, to whom the book is dedicated, and the Foundation for Integrated Health on alleged misrepresentation of "scientific evidence about therapies such as homoeopathy, acupuncture and reflexology".cite web |url=http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/alternative_medicine/article3760857.ece |title=Prince of Wales's guide to alternative medicine ‘inaccurate’ - Times Online |format= |work= |accessdate=] Singh and Ernst assert that Britain spends £500 million each year on unproven or disproven alternative therapies. [cite web |url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2008/04/26/do2606.xml |title=The last rites for alternative medicine? - Telegraph |format= |work= |accessdate=]

In a May 1995 "Annals of Internal Medicine" publication, Ernst detailed the Nazi "cleansing" of the University of Vienna medical faculty that allowed the "medical atrocities" of Nazi human experimentation.cite journal |author=Ernst E |title=A leading medical school seriously damaged: Vienna 1938 |journal=Ann. Intern. Med. |volume=122 |issue=10 |pages=789–92 |year=1995 |month=May |pmid=7717602 |doi= |url=http://www.annals.org/cgi/pmidlookup?view=long&pmid=7717602]

In 2008, Ernst sent an open letter urging the Royal Pharmaceutical Society to crack down on high street chemists that sell homeopathic remedies without warning of the evidence that they have no effect at all on human beings. According to Ernst, this disinformation would be a violation of their ethical code:: "My plea is simply for honesty. Let people buy what they want, but tell them the truth about what they are buying. These treatments are biologically implausible and the clinical tests have shown they don't do anything at all in human beings. The argument that this information is not relevant or important for customers is quite simply ridiculous." [cite news | url = http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/jul/21/pharmacists.homeophathy | title = Pharmacists urged to 'tell the truth' about homeopathic remedies | author = Ian Sample | work = The Guardian | date = 2008-07-21 | accessdate = 2008-07-21 ]

Other significant posts

Ernst is a member of the 'Medicines Commission' of the British Medicines Control Agency (now part of the MHRA) which determines which substances may be introduced and promoted as medicine. [http://www.mhra.gov.uk/Committees/Medicinesadvisorybodies/MedicinesCommission/Members/CON002258] He also sits on the 'Scientific Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products' of the 'Irish Medicines Board'.Fact|date=February 2008 He is an external examiner for several university medical schools in several countries.Fact|date=February 2008


*"Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial". Transworld Publisher 2008. ISBN 978-0-59-30612-99
*"The Oxford Handbook of Complementary Medicine". Oxford University Press 2008. ISBN 978-0-19-920677-3
*"Complementary Therapies for Pain Management". An Evidence-Based Approach. Elsevier Science 2007. ISBN 978-0-7234-3400-9
*"The Desktop Guide to Complementary and Alternative Medicine. An evidence based approach". Elsevier Science 2006
*"Homoeopathy: A Critical Appraisal". 1998. ISBN 0-7506-3564-9 "Professional reference text on homoeopathy is a critical evaluation of the discipline, reviewing the known facts and defining the knowledge gaps. It offers a reliable analysis of the uses of traditional homoeopathic remedies. Illustrated. For medical and professional homoeopaths, students, general practitioners, and health care professionals." Amazon.


* [http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld199900/ldselect/ldsctech/123/12325.htm House of Lords: Select Committee on Science and Technology Sixth Report] The committee visited the Department at Exeter in 2000.
* [http://www.studentbmj.com/issues/04/01/careers/25.php student BMJ interview]
* [http://www.harcourt-international.com/ernst/biography.cfm Biographical note on the authors] of "The Desktop Guide to Complementary and Alternative Medicine. An evidence based approach." Elsevier Science 2006

External links

* [http://www.pms.ac.uk/compmed/ernst.htm PMS staff page]
* [http://www.exeter.ac.uk/FACT/ Official FACT website at University of Exeter]
* [http://www.pms.ac.uk/compmed/Evi_examples.pdf Summary of the department's most important findings] eg Homeopathy doesn't work, St John's Wort does.
* [http://www.pms.ac.uk/compmed/research.html Publication lists] for the department
* [http://scholar.google.com/scholar?sourceid=mozclient&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&q=author%3AE+author%3AErnst Google scholar:] List of publications
* [http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld199900/ldselect/ldsctech/123/12301.htm House of Lords Science and Technology - Sixth Report] on Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Ernst testified and his department was visited.
* [http://www.hospitalmanagement.net/features/feature972/ Q&A with Ernst in The International Review of Patient Care]
*cite journal |author=|title=Interview with Professor Edzard Ernst, Department of Complementary Medicine, Peninsula Medical School, University of Exeter |journal=Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies |volume=8 |issue=1 |pages=32-34 |year=2004 |month=January |pmid=|doi=doi:10.1016/S1360-8592(03)00075-5 |url=
* [http://www.trickortreatment.com/ Website for "Trick or Treatment?" book]

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