Re: InspireHealth

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 54, No. 2, March 2012, Page 65 Letters

Thanks, Dr Oppel, for taking a stand against the waste of scarce health care dollars by the Ministry of Health on “integrative medicine” as promoted by InspireHealth.

At the time of the announcement last summer, I noted the irony of public funds being given to a private organization for capital expenditures, only weeks after the news about crumbling health facilities in Haida Gwai. Of more concern to me were Dr Gunn’s public statements that InspireHealth clients “did better and lived longer” than those who received standard cancer care.

Looking over the materials on their website I became concerned as to what in my view are the dubious and im­plausible treatments that were being offered to desperate cancer patients.

I wrote to InspireHealth and asked if they could supply any objective evidence that would support his public statements. Dr Gunn replied that In­spireHealth had data, but they have yet to be published, and basically that they demonstrated the “importance of health engagement” in survivability, whatever that means. 

However, if the data have not been published in peer reviewed journals, then that data shouldn’t be used in public pronouncements or for procuring funds from the public trough.
—Tim McDowell, MD, CCFP

Tim McDowell, MD,. Re: InspireHealth. BCMJ, Vol. 54, No. 2, March, 2012, Page(s) 65 - Letters.

Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.

About the ICMJE and citation styles

The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.

An alternate version of ICMJE style is to additionally list the month an issue number, but since most journals use continuous pagination, the shorter form provides sufficient information to locate the reference. The NLM now lists all authors.

BCMJ standard citation style is a slight modification of the ICMJE/NLM style, as follows:

  • Only the first three authors are listed, followed by "et al."
  • There is no period after the journal name.
  • Page numbers are not abbreviated.

For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit

BCMJ Guidelines for Authors

Leave a Reply