Month: October 2008

How State Medical Boards Shoot Themselves (and You) in the Foot

This is almost the final entry (for now) in a series of posts about the pitfalls of regulating physicians who peddle quackery.† In previous entries we’ve seen how quacks have portrayed an illegal and pseudoscientific treatment, intravenous hydrogen peroxide, as legitimate; how a physician who practiced that and other dubious methods eluded definitive regulatory sanctions for years; examples of quacks banding together to...

/ October 31, 2008

Science Fiction Writing Contest – At Medgadget.com

Attention science fiction buffs: it’s time to put pen to paper (er… keys to keyboard) and create a fictional account of some aspect of the future of medicine. This is Medgadget’s third annual science fiction writing contest. You could win a Palm Tungsten E2 handheld with Epocrates loaded on it – and the glory that only this honor can bestow. Please go...

/ October 30, 2008

Functional Medicine – New Kid on the Block

New Kid on the Block Well, I’m not sure how new, but it was to me 6 months ago when I heard about Functional Medicine (FM) on a doc call-in program originating in Santa Cruz, Calif. The doc often presents a plurality of approaches to the callers’ problems, most of whom call because they seek self-help methods, supplements, or other short-cuts to help,...

/ October 30, 2008

Knowledge Versus Expertise: The View From Consumer Land

“The internet, in democratizing knowledge, has led a lot of people to believe that it is also possible to democratize expertise.” – SBM Commenter, yeahsurewhatever I’ve spent the last few years of my life in Internet “Consumer Land,” doing what I can to bring accurate health information directly to patients. Of course, I have been surprised by the push-back, and the demand...

/ October 30, 2008

Fake Treatments for Fake Illnesses

I wrote previously on NeuroLogica blog about Morgellons disease. Both Peter Lipson and Wallace Sampson have also covered this interesting syndrome here on SBM. Briefly, sufferers of this dubious syndrome believe they have foreign material exuding from their skin, causing chronic itching and sores. The evidence suggests that in truth they suffer from something akin to delusional parasitosis – the false belief...

/ October 29, 2008

Another Useless NCCAM-Funded Study

Sometimes I read an article in a medical journal that makes me say, “Well, duh! I could have told you that without a study.” Sometimes I read collected data that make me ask, “So what?” Sometimes I read an article that makes me wonder what kind of pogo stick they used to jump from their data to their conclusions. Sometimes I read...

/ October 28, 2008

Do physicians really believe in placebos?

In a previous post, I argued that placebo is an artifact of certain clinical interactions, rather than a treatment that we can exploit. Apparently, there are a whole lot of doctors out there who don’t agree with me. Or are there? A recent study published in the British Medical Journal is getting a lot of enk (e-ink) in the blogosphere. As a...

/ October 27, 2008

Placebos in the news again

Towards the end of last week, I was contemplating what I would be writing about for Monday. No topic had quite floated my boat, but I hated to dip into the archive of topics I’ve written about before to update a post. After all, I like to be topical whenever possible. Then what to my wondering eyes should appear (yes, I know...

/ October 27, 2008

Is There a Placebo Effect for Animals?

One of the occasional arguments used in support of “alternative” approaches to human medicine is the observation that since “alternative” medicine is used (with anecdotal success) in animals, and animals don’t know anything about the treatment that they’re getting, then they must work a priori.  Of course, the fallacy of such an observation is pretty obvious to anyone with a logical/skeptical frame...

/ October 25, 2008

Another new blogger, or SBM is going to the dogs (well, horses, actually)

We at Science-Based Medicine are pleased to announce the recruitment of yet another blogger to add to the discussion of the scientific basis of medicine. We’re especially pleased because he will help us address questions that we were not particularly well-equipped to address before his joining us. So, please welcome to the SBM fold David Ramey, DVM, who will be discussing science-...

/ October 24, 2008