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Open Access Research article

Anthroposophic medical therapy in chronic disease: a four-year prospective cohort study

Harald J Hamre*, Claudia M Witt, Anja Glockmann, Renatus Ziegler, Stefan N Willich and Helmut Kiene

BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2007, 7:10  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-7-10

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Absence of comparison renders results meaningless

Kenneth Campbell   (2007-06-18 12:55)  Submitted in a private capacity email

Nothing in this study remotely justifies the authors closing statment,"...study findings suggest that physician-provided AM therapy may play a beneficial role in the long-term care of patients with chronic diseases." The only thing which can be asserted on the basis of this study is that patients who enjoy extended consultations tend to experience "long-term reduction of chronic disease symptoms and improvement of quality of life."

The authors state "A limitation of the study is the absence of a comparison group receiving another treatment or no therapy." This is not a limitation it is a fatal flaw. For this study to provide meaningful evidence about benefits of anthroposophical medicine it would need to have a comparison group offered equally long consultations with practitioners of conventional medicine and to compare outcomes in this group with outcomes for the study group.

Ih the absence of a valid comparison group, this study offers no evidence of any benefit from anthroposophical medicine - it does support the universally accepted wisdom that the duration of most consultations in medical practice is too short and patients and doctors would prefer longer consultations.

Competing interests

None

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