E Ernst University of Exeter

By | 1st June 2017

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E Ernst University of Exeter

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E Ernst University of Exeter

Edzard Ernst (born 30 January 1948) is an academic physician and researcher specializing in the study of complementary and alternative medicine. He was formerly Professor of Complementary Medicine at the University of Exeter, the first such academic position in the world.

Ernst served as chairman of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PMR) at the University of Vienna, but left this position in 1993 to set up the department of Complementary Medicine at the University of Exeter in England. He became director of complementary medicine of the Peninsula Medical School (PMS) in 2002. Ernst was the first occupant of the Laing chair in Complementary Medicine, retiring in 2011. He was born and trained in Germany, where he began his medical career at a homeopathic hospital in Munich, and since 1999 has been a British citizen.

E Ernst University of Exeter

Ernst is the founder of two medical journals: Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies (of which he is currently editor-in-chief) and Perfusion. Ernst’s writing appeared in a regular column in The Guardian, where he reviewed news stories about complementary medicine from an evidence-based medicine perspective. Since his research began on alternative modalities, Ernst has been seen as “the scourge of alternative medicine” for publishing critical research that exposes methods that lack documentation of efficacy. In 2015 he was awarded the John Maddox Prize, sponsored jointly by Sense About Science and Nature, for courage in standing up for science.

Early life

Ernst was born in Germany in 1948. As a child, his family doctor was a homeopath, and at the time he saw it as part of medicine. His father and grandfather were both doctors, and his mother was a laboratory assistant. Ernst originally wanted to be a musician, but his mother persuaded him that medicine might be a good “sideline” career for him to pursue.

Training and early career

Ernst qualified as a doctor in Germany in 1978 where he also completed his M.D. and Ph.D. theses. He has received training in acupuncture, autogenic training, herbalism, homoeopathy, massage therapy and spinal manipulation. He learned homeopathy, acupuncture and other things whilst at a homeopathic hospital in Munich, when he began his medical career. In 1988, he became Professor in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PMR) at Hannover Medical School and in 1990 Head of the PMR Department at the University of Vienna.