Sunday, May 5, 2013

A medical dictionary that tells the truth about quackery!

Most medical dictionaries that I've checked since getting into skepticism give credulous definitions of pseudomedical terms. For example, they'll say something like "acupuncture: ancient Chinese treatment that uses needles to unblock Qi flow in meridians", "homeopathy: system of medicine that treats ailments using small amounts of substances which produce the same symptoms", or "magnetic therapy: a type of therapy in which magnets are placed on the body to penetrate and correct the body's energy fields". (that last one is an exact quote from Medical Assisting: Administrative and Clinical Procedures with Anatomy & Physiology, 4e) For a while now I have been keeping an eye open for medical dictionaries which don't have this annoyance. But I finally found, completely serendipitously, Collins Dictionary of Medicine, 4th Edition, by Robert M. Youngson. I don't have my own copy yet (I was reading a friend's copy at school) so I can't give any quotes from it, but it's pretty awesome. Aside from the evidence-based approach, it also has entries on things like "ice-cream headache", so it's extra cool. Unfortunately I am having a hard time finding it for sale online. There's an ebay auction but it's so I'm not sure if I can even buy it with my account, and then it would probably cost extra to ship it to my side of the pond. When I search Amazon for the ISBN, it comes up with Xdict of Medicine Pb by Youngson Robert M (Dec 15, 2011) (the actual book was printed in 2012) and the cover picture says Collins Dictionary of Mathematics, so I don't even know what the heck is going on there.