For plant biologists, CAM is a super funky method of photosynthesis. Plants are much more interesting than people, folks! However, for the rest of us, CAM stands for "Complimentary and Alternative Medicine."
What is Complimentary and Alternative Medicine? It's a $34 BILLION industry (just in the US!) based on untested and unproven quackery to rival science-based medicine - often touted as better because conventional medicine is only "in it for the money." And it really pisses me off.
Many of you may be aware of the 10^23 campaign run by Michael Marshall and our friends at the Merseyside Skeptics Society - if you're not, read up on it, but even more importantly Marsh and Hayley Stevens of BARsoc did an interview with Rhys Morgan - a 15 year old that deals with the pain of Crohn's disease and noticed that someone on his Crohn's disease support forum was touting the "Miracle Mineral Solution" or MMS. He did some research and found the FDA warning on the substance (see it here) which he posted and was subsequently banned from the site. Since then he's been on quite a few podcasts and in the UK papers, warning people of the dangers of drinking what is touted as a cure all for AIDS, cancer, the flu, etc etc but is, in fact, industrial bleach.
For this week's discussion please listen to episode 67 of the Righteous Indignation podcast which can be found here or on Itunes. There's a special bit at the end of this podcast which has nothing to do with MMS, but if you don't listen to it I'll know about it. Special thanks to Marsh and Trystan Swale of Righteous Indignation. That's all I can say at this point.
Also if you have time, listen to episode 68 of the same podcast, the first part of an interview with the "inventor" of MMS, Jim Humble. It is well worth listening to. The second part will be posted forthwith. You have no idea how much I've wanted to use "forthwith" in a sentence since losing the 4th grade spelling bee over that word. Just kidding, I actually lost it over "necessary".
OK - there are a thousand other places to research CAM and there's a gazillion (that's a real word) different methods. Why should we believe evil Big Pharma and the FDA and not believe in CAM? Because we have a very useful tool on our side - science - which is not run by evil corporations (though it is abused by them) but by the good guys - scientists. We have peer review - a plodding, flawed system that makes mistakes but is the best tool we have to move things along. Once a method of CAM has been peer-reviewed and showed to be efficacious it loses it's CAM designation and we call it something different - medicine.
Can't wait to see you all on October 13th at Hales.