Month: September 2009

Swine Flu Vaccine Fearmongering

Fear is a curious thing. It often bears no relation to the actual risk of what we fear. When swine flu first broke out in Mexico, people were understandably afraid. Travel was restricted, schools were closed, and so many people...

/ September 8, 2009

Before you trust that blog…

Doug Bremner has a blog. That blog stinks. Bremner is an apparently well-regarded psychiatrist, and takes a refreshing look at the influence of industry not just on pharmaceuticals but on the conduct of science itself. His outspoken views have led...

/ September 7, 2009

“Oh, come on, Superman!”: Bill Maher versus “Western medicine”

I realize that I’ve spent a fair amount of verbiage (to put it mildly) expressing my frustration with celebrities whose support for pseudoscience and even outright quackery endanger public health. The two most frequent targets of the wrath, sarcasm, frustration,...

/ September 7, 2009

Placebo is not what you think it is

If I read one more crappy article about placebos, something’s gotta give, and it’s gonna be my head or my desk. Wired magazine has a new article entitled, “Placebos Are Getting More Effective. Drugmakers Are Desperate to Know Why.” Frequent...

/ September 4, 2009

An Influenza Primer

The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology recently submitted its report to the president in which they stated that this influenza season might kill 30-90,000 people in the US.  This forecast of the upcoming season caught the media’s...

/ September 4, 2009

Sectarian Insertions

I will write occasional posts instead of being on a regular schedule.  The reasons: There are more contributors than positions. Newer people to the field have more ambition and belly fire.  I have a number of projects and papers to...

/ September 3, 2009

Book Review: Don’t Be Such A Scientist

Preamble I’ll never forget the day when I argued for protecting parents against misleading and false information about the treatment of autism. I was working at a large consumer health organization whose mission was to “empower patients with accurate information”...

/ September 3, 2009

IVF and CAM Use

Perhaps the biggest hurdle to broader acceptance of the need for a consistent scientific basis for medical interventions is the attitude that worthless treatments are harmless. I often have the experience, after reviewing the evidence showing lack of efficacy for...

/ September 2, 2009

“The Disappearing Male” – A Pinch of Science, a Pound of Speculation

A documentary film entitled “The Disappearing Male” was first shown on CBC in June, 2009. It can be viewed online here. Some of its rhetoric is reminiscent of Chicken Little: “Where have all the boys gone?” “Millions of males are...

/ September 1, 2009