Month: December 2009

Oppose “Big Floss”; practice alternative dentistry

We survived almost all of human history without it. Yet in the last 100 years people have allowed themselves to be hoodwinked by a huge corporate conspiracy into believing that we “need” their products. They cite studies and claim we don’t understand science; they ignore ancient folk wisdom and have no respect for our intuition. They peddle their products without regard to...

/ December 31, 2009

Ginkgo biloba – No Effect

Another one bites the dust. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is generally a waste of taxpayer money, but they have sponsored several well-designed large trials of popular herbal supplements. And one by one these studies have shown these popular products, such as echinacea for the common cold, to be ineffective. To add to the list, published in JAMA...

/ December 30, 2009

The Graston Technique – Inducing Microtrauma with Instruments

The Graston Technique® is a modification of traditional hands-on soft tissue mobilization that uses specifically designed instruments to allow the therapist to introduce a controlled amount of microtrauma into an area of excessive scar and/or soft tissue fibrosis. The hope is that this will invoke an inflammatory response that will augment the healing process. It is also intended to reduce the stress...

/ December 29, 2009
Pills

The “pharma shill” gambit

It's the oldest, laziest trope used by quacks and those who love them. Facing science-based criticism? Obviously, then, your critic must be in the pocket of big pharma! I present...the Pharma Shill Gambit.

/ December 28, 2009

Buteyko Breathing Technique – Nothing to Hyperventilate About

A reader recently sent in a link to a New York Times article that discussed an alternative breathing technique developed in Russia for the treatment of asthma called the Buteyko Method, or the Buteyko Breathing Technique (BBT), and asked for an evaluation of the claims on SBM.  This post will attempt to be a reasonably comprehensive evaluation of Buteyko and his therapy...

/ December 25, 2009

2009’s Top 5 Threats To Science In Medicine

As 2009 comes to an end, it seems that everyone is creating year-in-review lists. I thought I’d jump on the list band wagon and offer my purely subjective top 5 threats to rational thought in healthcare and medicine. Of course, it strikes me as rather ironic that we’re having this discussion – who knew that medicine could be divorced from science in...

/ December 24, 2009
toxicsoup2

“Toxins”: the new evil humours

They say that everything old is new again and that is certainly true in the world of “alternative” health. One of the axiomatic premises of contemporary “alternative” health puts its believers behind the times … by approximately 500 years. A fundamental premise held by believers in “alternative” health is that we are swimming in a world of “toxins” and those “toxins” are...

/ December 24, 2009

Lithium for ALS – Angioplasty for MS

Peter Lipson reported Monday about new research suggesting that multiple sclerosis may be caused by venous blockage. He correctly characterized some of the hype surrounding this story as “irrational exuberance.” This is a phenomenon all too common in the media – taking the preliminary research of an individual or group (always presented as a maverick) and declaring it a “stunning breakthrough,” combined...

/ December 23, 2009

Medical Fun with Christmas Carols

Warning: If you are offended by humor that depends on psychiatric and medical diagnoses, read no further. Disclaimer: Before anyone complains (and in this age of exaggerated political correctness, someone surely will), let me make it clear that I mean no disrespect to people suffering from the illnesses mentioned below. I have the greatest empathy for sick people, and I have encountered...

/ December 22, 2009

Multiple Sclerosis and Irrational Exuberance

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is fascinating illness that can range from mild annoyance to debilitating nightmare. The frightening nature and unclear cause of the disease makes it a magnet for questionable medical therapies (i.e. quackery). A piece published last week in (surprise!) The Huffington Post helps fuel the fires of suspicion and paranoia while failing to shed any light on the future of...

/ December 21, 2009