Professor Edzard Ernst was born on 30 January 1948 in Wiesbaden (Germany). A former homoeopath, he became the world’s first Professor of complementary medicine in 1993 at the University of Exeter.
Since he has started research on alternology (alternative medicine), he has published one article after another showing that most alternology has at best no effect, and is at worst quite dangerous. Professor Ernst estimates that about 7% of alternological therapies, such as many herbal medicines, do actually work. This should come as no surprise, since many drugs are plant-based or derived from plant molecules. However, herbal medicines will tend to be less stable, less standardized and hence, less reliable and more dangerous than man-made drugs.
His goal is:
My ultimate objective is to apply the principles of evidence-based medicine to the field of complementary medicine such that those treatments which demonstrably do generate more good than harm become part of conventional medicine and those which fail to meet this criterion become obsolete.
His testimony before the UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee in connection with their “Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy” was highly valuable.
Edzard Ernst co-wrote the book “Trick or Treatment - Alternative medicine on trial” with Simon Singh. This book uses some forms of alternology, such as homoeopathy and acupuncture to explain some of the history of modern medicine, how modern clinical trials are done in the way they are done, and how these methods came to be considered important. It also shows how alternology can fail and succeed those tests. This highly readable book is a must for anyone who is interested in medicine, and unavoidable for anyone who is using or considering going to an alternologist.
Edzard Ernst also coined the acronym FAME to describe the people most likely to buy into alternology: female, affluent, middle-aged and educated.
I highly recommend his blog.