Month: October 2008

51 “Facts” About Homeopathy

Fact 28 - Unlike orthodox medicine where two thirds of all conventional hospital admissions are due to the side-effects of pharmaceutical medicines, the bill for negligence claims soaring into billions, one U.K. leading insurance company reported only 'a couple' of claims against homeopaths in a ten year period! ... -------------- 1) Note: I said different, not better, he says in a feeble...

/ October 24, 2008

When Further Research Is NOT Warranted: The “Wisdom of Crowds” Fallacy

Most scientific research studies have at least one thing in common: the conclusion section ends with, “further research is warranted.” I’d say it’s about as common as the “talk to your doctor” disclaimer in TV ads for pharmaceutical products. And in a way, they both serve the same purpose. They’re a “CYA” move. What does “further research is warranted” mean in plain...

/ October 23, 2008

Interpreting the Medical Literature

The science in science-based medicine includes all of science, but relies most heavily on the biomedical literature – published studies that collectively represent our scientific medical knowledge. The scientific basis of medicine is only as good as this body of knowledge and the manner in which it is interpreted and put into practice. We often discuss on this blog how to evaluate...

/ October 22, 2008
Acupuncture

Puncturing the Acupuncture Myth

Note: This is slightly revised from an article I originally wrote as a “SkepDoc” column for Skeptic magazine. It was pre-released online in eSkeptic and it has already generated a lot of comments, including “a truly amazing piece of peurile pseudo-intellectualism,” “an ad hominem attack on one form of alternative medicine so beset by poor thinking that one must come to the...

/ October 21, 2008

When compassion is outshined by ignorance

In a media-saturated society, public figures have a disproportionate influence on people’s understanding of science and medicine. Most patients see their doctor no more than a couple of times a year, but they watch TV, go online, or read a paper daily. In our newspapers and in our news rooms, dedicated science reporters are becoming vanishingly rare.   A wide range of...

/ October 20, 2008

Dr. Jay Gordon and me: Random encounters with an apologist for the antivaccine movement

Although he doesn’t detest me nearly as much as antivaccine honcho and founder of Generation Rescue J. B. Handley does, Santa Monica celebrity pediatrician Dr. Jay Gordon doesn’t like me very much at all. Actually, I’m not sure whether that’s entirely true or not, but Dr. Gordon sure doesn’t like it when I criticize him for his antivaccine rhetoric. He affects an...

/ October 20, 2008

A New Twist for Autism: A Bogus “Biomedical” Board

Here’s a short addition to the topic of Pseudomedical Pseudoprofessional Organizations (PPOs).† New pseudo-board-certification schemes pop up like mushrooms after a spring rain, but just last week there was an announcement of one with a difference: The American Medical Autism Board AMAB offers the first of its kind board/diplomate certification program for medical doctors specializing in biomedical treatment of autism and related disorders. These...

/ October 17, 2008

The Pseudomedical Pseudoprofessional Organization (PPO*)

(*Not to be confused with “Preferred Provider Organization,” which shares the acronym) This is part of an ongoing series† discussing pitfalls of regulating physicians, but I’ve decided, in the interest of flexibility, to vary the title. A couple of weeks ago I gave some examples of how individual physicians practicing substandard, implausible medicine manage to avoid or delay being disciplined by state medical boards. I...

/ October 17, 2008

Getting It On with Homeopathy

I have more thoughts on the homeopathy matter than fit in follow-up notes, so here goes. First, David Gorski recalls the 1994 Pediatrics report on childhood diarrhea treated with tailored homeopathic remedies for each patient. There is more to the story than has been written. I am certain much of this will get back to the authors, but others may benefit from...

/ October 16, 2008

Disintegrating Integrative Medicine: Lessons From Baking

Suppose I were to bake you a cake and my ingredient list included the following: Eggs Milk Butter Sand Flour Baking Powder Vanilla Melamine Sugar Chocolate icing What is the problem with the ingredient list? It has integrated inedible and poisonous items into the very fine basic ingredients that make a good cake. This is the exact same problem that the medical...

/ October 16, 2008