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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 7 (2010), Issue 4, Pages 425-426

Winnowing the Chaff of Charlatanism from the Wheat of Science

Complementary Medicine, Peninsula Medical School, Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, 25 Victoria Park Road, Exeter EX2 4NT, UK

Received 3 November 2008; Accepted 17 December 2008

Copyright © 2010 E. Ernst. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Experts and lay people alike can sometimes find it difficult to demarcate the absurd. Here I propose a set of criteria that may be helpful in achieving this in the realm of healthcare: falsifiability, plausibility and some hallmarks of pseudoscience. Applying this method is unlikely to be fool-proof but it might be a valuable aid in discriminating credible from incredible health claims.