This is the story of my life as a doctor and a scientist. Despite a youthful ambition to become a jazz musician, I eventually studied medicine and became a medical research scientist, taking up appointments in Germany, Austria and finally in England.Read more...
This is the story of my life as a doctor and a scientist. Despite a youthful ambition to become a jazz musician, I eventually studied medicine and became a medical research scientist, taking up appointments in Germany, Austria and finally in England. My reverence for the pursuit of truth through the application of scientific methods, coupled with a growing interest in the history of medicine during the Nazi era, did not always endear me to my professional colleagues. At the time I was appointed to the world's first chair in alternative medicine, this was an area of health care that had never been studied systematically, and was almost entirely dominated by outspokenly evangelic promoters and enthusiasts among them, famously, HRH Prince Charles many of whom exhibited an overtly hostile, anti-scientific attitude towards the objective study of their favoured therapies. Clashes were inevitable, but the sheer ferocity with which advocates of alternative medicine would go in order to protect their field from scrutiny came as a profound surprise. This memoir provides a unique insight into the cutthroat politics of academic life and offers a sobering reflection on the damage already done by pseudoscience in the field of medicine."
- ISBN-13: 9781845407773
- ISBN-10: 1845407776
- Publisher: Imprint Academic
- Publish Date: January 2015
- Page Count: 200
- Dimensions: 8 x 5.6 x 0.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.4 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-12-22
- Reviewer: Staff
Ernst, the former chair of the department of complementary medicine at England’s University of Exeter, documents his transition from a rebellious young musician into an esteemed doctor, writer, alternative-medicine researcher, and academic with meticulous, though stolid, detail in this memoir of a remarkable medical and academic life. From his time as a medical student through his first job at a Munich homeopathic hospital—where he learned the “incredible power” of the placebo effect—to a brief stint working at a psychiatric hospital in England, Ernst’s trajectory propels him to the heights of academia: he became a professor in rehabilitation medicine in Hannover by age 40 and, in short order, chairman of rehabilitation medicine at the vaunted Vienna Medical School. Now an alternative-medicine skeptic, Ernst excoriates Prince Charles in a long chapter on the royal’s affinity for alternative therapies; this portion may surprise Americans, but it’s a measured, if biting, critique. Yet what stands out is Ernst’s extraordinary research at Exeter and how alternative practitioners have rejected his scientific approach. His stated “mission impossible” to “shine the cool, dispassionate light of reason on to the whole topic of alternative medicine” is exhilarating in both scope and impact, and this should be a must-read for practitioners and patients. (Feb.)