Month: January 2009

What will January 20th do for science-based medicine?

Make no little plans; they have no power to stir men’s blood. —Daniel Burnham Politics is deadly to science-based medicine, and while I don’t often go for politics, the last eight years have seen subtle and not-so subtle predations on the practice of medicine. Will the new administration be able to promote the kind of change we need? Let’s review some of...

/ January 20, 2009

Science-based Longevity Medicine

Much nonsense has been written in the guise of longevity medicine. In Fantastic Voyage, Ray Kurzweil explains why he takes 250 pills every day and spends one day a week at a clinic getting IV vitamins, chelation, and acupuncture. He is convinced this regimen will keep him alive long enough for science to figure out how to keep him alive forever. In...

/ January 20, 2009

Natural versus “natural” in CAMworld

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master— that’s all.” From: Through the Looking Glass, and What...

/ January 19, 2009

Guest Book Review of “Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Ethics, the Patient, and the Physician”

The following book review was written not by your poster (although I’ve added the hyperlinks), but by his friend Cees Renckens, who is a gynecologist in the Netherlands and the chairman of the Dutch Society against Quackery. A short bio of Dr. Renckens, including references to several articles in English, follows the review. Most impressive to me is that he is, as far as I...

/ January 18, 2009

Let President-Elect Obama know that NCCAM should be defunded!

As you may or may not know, Change.gov is being used by Obama’s team to solicit policy ideas. Americans submit ideas, along with supporting rationale, and people “vote up” or vote down” the proposals. “Up” votes increase the score of the proposals, and “down” votes decrease the score. It is described thusly on the Change.gov website: Share your ideas on any issue...

/ January 17, 2009
Dirty hands

Probiotics

The Wall Street Journal has an assessment of probiotics in the Jan 13, 2009 issue entitled “Bug Crazy: Assessing the Benefits of Probiotics.” For some reason when I wander around the hospital on rounds people show me articles such as this and ask, so whatcha think about this? Probiotics are interesting. They are live bacteria given to treat and prevent diseases. It...

/ January 16, 2009

How Is Alternative Medicine Like Earmark Spending?

I recently watched a special news report about John McCain leading the charge towards making legislative earmarks illegal. The Economist defines earmarks this way: Earmarks, for the uninitiated, are spending projects that are directly requested by individual members of Congress and are not subject to competitive bidding. Most Americans are rightly upset about the practice of slipping pet projects into larger, well-vetted,...

/ January 15, 2009

The Alleged Autism Epidemic

It is without controversy that the number of autism diagnoses being made is on the rise. In 1991 there were about 6 cases per 10,000 births, and in 2001 there were about 42. This number continues to rise at about the same rate. The cause of this rise, however, is very controversial. There are basically two schools of thought: 1 – that...

/ January 14, 2009

Playing by the Rules

I recently read Flock of Dodos (no relation to the movie of the same name). It’s a hilarious no-holds-barred send-up of the lies and poor reasoning of the intelligent design movement. I was particularly struck by a quotation from William Dembski’s Intelligent Design. We are dealing here with something more than a straightforward determination of scientific facts or confirmation of scientific theories....

/ January 13, 2009
Rustum Roy, Deepak Chopra, and Andrew Weil, the unholy trinity of CAM

Chopra and Weil and Roy, oh my! Or: The Wall Street Journal, coopted.

When the unholy Trinity of Woo attacks! Deepak Chopra, Andrew Weil, and Rustum Roy join forces to fool the Wall Street Journal.

/ January 12, 2009