Prove the scientific consensus and win a prize: A time-dishonored PR ploy used by cranks, quacks, and pseudoscientists (Robert F. Kennedy Jr. edition)
Last week, antivaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. teamed up with Robert De Niro to issue a challenge to provide one scientific study that proves thimerosal in vaccines is safe, with a cash prize of $100,000. They thus joined a long line of antivaxers, creationists, and climate science denialists offering money to "prove" the scientific consensus. Science doesn't work that way.
The election of Donald Trump as President has emboldened antivaxers, because they quite rightly sense that he is one of them. His inauguration as President, combined with other trends, have led observers to ask the question: Are antivaxers winning, or will 2017 be the year of the antivaxer?
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. promotes an awful epidemiology study linking vaccines and neurological conditions from…Yale?
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has never seen a lousy study linking vaccines to bad things that he didn't like. This is no exception. Oddly enough, this study was funded and carried out by a lawyer and an investment banker, with the help of an eminent Yale pediatrician. Of course, the study doesn't show what RFK Jr. thinks it shows.
Donald Trump versus the FDA: Is the standard of evidence for drug approval actually too low rather than too high?
All of the candidates being considered by President Trump for FDA Commissioner believe that the FDA is too strict in its standards for approving new drugs. In a commentary in Nature last week, two bioethicists argued that, at least in terms of preclinical data, the standard of evidence is actually too low. Which is correct?
If the "central dogma" of alternative medicine is that wishing makes it so, one of the most important of the other organizing dogmas of alternative medicine is that "toxins," whether they come from inside or outside, are making us sick and that we can't be healthy until we "detoxify." This is far more a religious belief than a science-based one.
Last week, a review of the reproducibility of several highly cited cancer biology papers was published. The results were mixed and demonstrate how difficult reproducing published results can be at times—and how scientists need to do better.
Donald Trump's three most likely picks for FDA Commissioner all favor loosening drug approval standards. Two are cronies of Peter Thiel, of which one believes that the FDA shouldn't require evidence of efficacy, only safety, and the other believes that a "Yelp for drugs" would do a better job than the FDA. The third candidate is a bona fide, honest-to-goodness pharma shill....
The Medical Director of The Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute spewed antivaccine misinformation last week. Why is anyone surprised?
A social media firestorm erupted over the weekend after Dr. Daniel Neides, Director of The Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, posted an article full of antivaccine misinformation. The Cleveland Clinic promptly disavowed it, but shouldn't have been surprised that one of its "integrative medicine" leaders is antivaccine. If you "integrate" medicine that teaches that "toxins" cause disease and "detoxification" is the cure, antivaccine...
Myths integrative medicine sells us: “We never advocate alternative medicine without conventional medicine”
"Integrative medicine" (IM) effectively integrates quackery with real medicine. The main talking point by advocates of IM meant to deflect this criticism is that IM practitioners always use alternative medicine with conventional medicine and never advocate the use of alternative medicine alone. A new book by a prominent advocate of IM suggests that this talking point is at best self-delusion among academics...
In the tradition of Chairman Mao, traditional Chinese medicine gets a new boost by the Chinese government
Despite a lack of evidence for its efficacy and safety, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has made major inroads into US medical centers, both academic and community. I've told the story of how Chairman Mao Zedong created the myth of TCM and promoted it to credulous Westerners to facilitate the "integration" of TCM and "Western medicine." Over the holiday break, I learned that...