Month: August 2009

If you’re sick, even the ridiculous can seem sublime

Let’s say you have cancer. And let’s say you’re really, really sick of having cancer. And let’s say that you’re also pretty tired of scans, chemo, radiation, hair loss, nausea. And let’s say you’re not really sick and tired of...

/ August 31, 2009

“There must be a reason,” or how we support our own false beliefs

For a change of pace, I want to step back from medicine for this post, although, as you will see (I hope), the study I’m going to discuss has a great deal of relevance to the topics covered regularly on...

/ August 31, 2009

Oriental Medicine or Medical Orientalism?

The following is the second adapted excerpt of an upcoming article called “The Untold Story of Acupuncture.” It is scheduled to be published in December 2009 in Focus in Alternative and Complementary Therapies (FACT), a review journal that presents the...

/ August 28, 2009

Neck Manipulation: Risk vs. Benefit

While manipulation of any kind has the potential to cause injury, stroke caused by neck manipulation is of greatest concern. Risk must always be weighed against benefit when upper neck manipulation is considered. Risk of stroke caused by neck manipulation...

/ August 27, 2009

SBM in primary practice: one student’s experience

EDITOR’S NOTE: Dr. Jones is off this week; fortunately, we have this guest post by Tim Kreider, our science-based medical student. Enjoy! My first clerkship of my third year of medical school was Family Medicine, and I had a great...

/ August 27, 2009

Off-Label Use of Prescription Drugs

A recent survey of 599 primary care physicians and 600 psychiatrists found that: The adjusted response rate was 47%, respondents were similar to non-respondents, and physicians commonly prescribed the drugs examined. The average respondent accurately identified the FDA-approval status of...

/ August 26, 2009

James Reston’s Tooth of Gold

One of the fathers of critical thinking and skeptical inquiry, the French philosopher Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle (1657–1757) recounts in 1687 in his Histoire des oracles–a debunking book on popular beliefs, myths and superstitions that caused tremendous stir in...

/ August 25, 2009

Protandim: Another Kind of Antioxidant

Four years ago I received an e-mail inquiry about Protandim. I had never heard of it; but I looked it up and wrote a quick, informal, somewhat snarky answer that got posted on the Internet. It got a lot of...

/ August 25, 2009

The perils and pitfalls of doing a “vaccinated versus unvaccinated” study

The anti-vaccine movement is nothing if not plastic. It “evolves” very rapidly in response to selective pressures applied to it in the form of science refuting its key beliefs. For instance, when multiple studies looking at the MMR vaccine and...

/ August 24, 2009

Science versus pseudoscience

I know this one’s been floating around the blogosphere for a while, but it finally made its way to me at a time when I needed something lighthearted and amusing (warning: some profanity and at least one use of the...

/ August 23, 2009