Month: June 2008

Resistance is futile

Dr. Sampson’s droll post on Thursday written from the point of view of an advocate of unscientific “alternative” medicine modalites (these days known as “complementary and alternative medicine”–abbreviated “CAM”–or “integrative” medicine), coupled with Dr. Atwood’s most recent contribution to his ongoing series on how the mish-mash of a little valid herbal medicine mixed with a whole lot of woo otherwise known as...

/ June 30, 2008

The Weekly Waluation of the Weasel Words of Woo #8

Playing with More than a Full Deck! The passage submitted in the W^5/2 #7 wasn’t an easy one, but intrepid translators, for the most part, offered waluable insights: Readers were virtually unanimous in the opinion that author Jean Watson, when she uttered it, must have been in an, er, alternative state of consciousness. I can’t imagine what gave them that idea. I mean look...

/ June 28, 2008

Another State Promotes the Pseudoscientific Cult that is “Naturopathic Medicine.” Part 3

The “Science” and Ethics of “Natural Medicines” This and the next entry in the current “Naturopathic Medicine” series* deal with the cult’s claim of expertise in “natural medicines” or “natural remedies.” These include herbs (“botanicals”), glandular extracts, vitamins, and minerals. A large fraction of the Textbook of Natural Medicine (TNM), “the most thoroughly researched and carefully referenced text on natural medicine,” is devoted...

/ June 27, 2008

Why would medical schools associate with quackery? Or, How we did it.

Why would medical schools risk association with quackery? …a question from a Washington Post reporter in 1998. The following hypothetical answer composed in response was never sent. It awaited a proper forum. Could this be one? Well, Jeff, quackery is a pejorative term. Some time ago we recognized that words raise emotions and mental pictures. We recognized the cognitive dissonance raised by...

/ June 26, 2008

Politics and Science at the HHS

When politics and science collide, shenanigans are likely to ensue. Politics is often antithetical to science because the former is about persuasion and value judgments while the latter is about objectivity and transparency. Science cannot function properly under the yoke of political ideology. The infiltration of unscientific and anti-scientific practices and ideas into mainstream medicine is primarily an act of politics and...

/ June 25, 2008

Death By Medicine

Critics of “conventional” medicine delight in pointing out how much harm it causes. Carolyn Dean, Gary Null, and others have written extensively about “death by medicine.” A typical statement (from Mercola.com) says: A definitive review and close reading of medical peer-review journals, and government health statistics shows that American medicine frequently causes more harm than good. The number of people having in-hospital,...

/ June 24, 2008
Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (JPANDS)

The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons: Ideology trumps science-based medicine

The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (JPANDS) is the official journal of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS). The AAPS tries to represent itself as a legitimate medical professional society, but in reality it promotes antivaccine views, HIV/AIDS denialism, and an Ayn Randian view of the world in which doctors are supermen, Medicare is unconstitutional, and the government should...

/ June 23, 2008

Another State Promotes the Pseudoscientific Cult that is “Naturopathic Medicine.” Part 2

The “Safety of Naturopathic Treatment” In their nationwide effort to convince lawmakers to pronounce them primary care physicians, “educated” naturopaths have repeatedly claimed that their “natural” treatments are “safer and gentler” than those offered by medical doctors. The Alliance Legislative Workbook, a website that for several years provided strategies and “talking points” for ND-activists seeking state licensure, made this assertion in 2001:...

/ June 20, 2008

The FDA Cracks Down on Fake Cancer Cures

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency that regulates the drug industry in the US, put out a press release yesterday warning “Individuals and Firms to Stop Selling Fake Cancer ‘Cures’.” The press release reports: “Although promotions of bogus cancer ‘cures’ have always been a problem, the Internet has provided a mechanism for them to flourish,” said Margaret O’K. Glavin, the...

/ June 18, 2008

Not Treating – A Neglected Option

One of the criticisms of modern medicine is that doctors prescribe too many pills. That’s true. Patients and doctors sometimes get caught up in a mutual misunderstanding. The patient assumes that he needs a prescription, and the doctor assumes that the patient wants a prescription. But sometimes patients don’t either need or want a prescription. I’ll use myself as an illustration. I...

/ June 17, 2008