Month: September 2009

Kevin Trudeau’s Legal Trouble

Kevin Trudeau has made millions of dollars selling dubious medical products. He started his snake-oil salesman career selling coral calcium through infomercials. Trudeau claimed that this magical form of calcium could cure cancer and whatever ails you. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigated Trudeau, who was making millions off his claims, and found that he was being, let us say, less than...

/ September 16, 2009

AFP Promotes Acupuncture

I subscribe to American Family Physician, the peer-reviewed journal of the American Academy of Family Physicians. It emphasizes evidence-based medicine and most articles include a table showing strength of evidence ratings for key recommendations for practice. Lately, its scientific rigor has been slipping. I have complained to the editor about several articles whose recommendations were not based on the best science, and...

/ September 15, 2009

Tom Harkin, NCCAM, health care reform, and a cancer treatment that is worse than useless

PRELUDE: SOME BAD NEWS FOR ADVOCATES OF SCIENCE-BASED MEDICINE It was a bad week for science-based medicine. It was a good week (sort of) for science-based medcine. First the bad. There has been a development that anyone who supports science in medicine and opposes quackery will likely find disturbing. Do you remember Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA)? We’ve written about him extensively over...

/ September 14, 2009

Applying Rigorous Science to Messy Medicine

The PowerPoint presentation that I gave at the Skeptic’s Toolbox workshop at the University of Oregon on August 7, 2009 is up on their website with the complete text of what I said. The theme of the workshop was scientific method. The title of my talk is “Tooth Fairy Science and Other Pitfalls: Applying Rigorous Science to Messy Medicine.” Click here for...

/ September 13, 2009

An open letter to Dr. J. Douglas Bremner

Peter Lipson wrote a post last week entitled Before You Trust That Blog…, which was a criticism of Dr. J. Douglas Bremner’s blog Before You Take That Pill. Dr. Bremner was not pleased, and posted a rebuttal entitled Response to Peter Lipson MD of “Science” Based Blogs, My Blog Does Not Suck, Yours Does. Given the kerfuffle and my role as managing...

/ September 12, 2009

“Gonzalez Regimen” for Cancer of the Pancreas: Even Worse than We Thought (Part I: Results)

Review One of the more bizarre and unpleasant “CAM” claims, but one taken very seriously at the NIH, at Columbia University, and on Capitol Hill, is the cancer “detoxification” regimen advocated by Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez: Patients receive pancreatic enzymes orally every 4 hours and at meals daily on days 1-16, followed by 5 days of rest. Patients receive magnesium citrate and Papaya...

/ September 11, 2009

More Flu Woo For You, Boo Boo

In which we try to be smarter than the average bear. Flu season is upon us (it kind of never left us this year), and there is a new strain of flu, the H1N1, aka Swine flu that adds a wrinkle or two to the usual potential for influenza related morbidity and mortality. And with the new flu is the new woo....

/ September 11, 2009
california-state-seal

The Golden State of Pseudo-Science

The state of California (CA) which is home to the most advanced education and research in biomedical sciences, computational biology, genomics and proteomics, etc, is also home to 19 institutions that have state-approved training programs in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a pseudo-medicine that is based on ideas and practices sourced by ancient cosmology, mythology, astrology, and a range of other pre-scientific beliefs that...

/ September 10, 2009

Integrative Obfuscation

The marketing of so-called CAM or integrative medicine continues. These terms are just that – marketing. They are otherwise vacuous, even deceptive, and meant only to conceal the naked fact that most medical interventions that hide under the CAM/integrative umbrella lack plausibility or credible evidence that they actually work. Medicine that works is simply “medicine” – everything else needs marketing. Last week...

/ September 9, 2009

The price of cancer quackery

I don’t have much to add to this one, as it’s a tragic tale. Shadowfax, a blogging ER doc, relates to us what happens when cancer patients rely on quackery like the Gerson protocol instead of scientific medicine: This was a young woman, barely out of her teens, who presented with a tumor in her distal femur, by the knee. This was...

/ September 8, 2009