Emily's Little Experiment

A fourth-grade science project debunks therapeutic touch, but doesn't explain why it sometimes works

It sounds like the plot of a made-for-TV movie: an inquisitive nine-year-old Colorado schoolgirl single-handedly cooks up a science-fair experiment that ends up debunking a flaky but widely practiced medical treatment. And she does such a professional job of it that the study gets published in a prestigious medical journal, landing her on just about every front page and news broadcast in the nation--where, naturally, she comes off as poised and confident.

Preposterous though it seems, that's pretty much what happened last week when Emily Rosa's experiment was written up in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Rosa's target was...

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