Year: 2009

The Mammogram Post-Mortem

The Mammogram Post Mortem Steve Novella whimsically opined on a recent phone call that irrationality must convey a survival advantage for humans. I’m afraid he has a point. It’s much easier to scare people than to reassure them, and we have a difficult time with objectivity in the face of a good story. In fact, our brains seem to be hard wired...

/ December 10, 2009

Midwives and the assault on scientific evidence

The new mantra of midwives and their advocates is “evidence based practice.” Lamaze, the childbirth education organization has changed the name of their blog to “Science and Sensibility” emphasizing the importance of science and promising: Lamaze education and practices are based on the best, most current medical evidence available, and can help reduce the overuse of unnecessary interventions while improving overall outcomes...

/ December 10, 2009

Evidence in Medicine: Experimental Studies

Several weeks ago I wrote the first in a brief series of posts discussing the different types of evidence used in medicine. In that post I discussed the role of correlation in determining cause and effect. In this post I will discuss the basic features of an experimental study, which can sere as a check-list in evaluating the quality of a clinical...

/ December 9, 2009

Acupuncture for Chronic Prostatitis/Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome

Chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS) is a somewhat nebulous diagnosis with unknown etiology and no effective treatment. To make the diagnosis, bacterial infection must be excluded and the symptoms must last at least 3 months. Symptoms include pain in various locations (between rectum and testicle, in the testicles, at the tip of the penis, in the lower back, in the abdomen...

/ December 8, 2009
endocrine disruptors

Endocrine disruptors—the one true cause?

A common theme in alternative medicine is the “One True Cause of All Disease”. Aside from the pitiable naivete, it’s implausible that “acidic diet”, liver flukes, colonic debris, the Lyme spirochete, or any other problem—real or imagined—can cause “all disease” (in addition to the fact that most of these ideas are intrinsically mutually exclusive). One of the popular new ideas in this...

/ December 7, 2009
Vaccine

Yet another nail in the coffin of the myth that the MMR vaccine causes autism

Another study, another refutation of the myth that the MMR vaccine causes autism. The same as it ever was. Antivaccine activists won't listen. Also the same as it ever was.

/ December 7, 2009

Lose those holiday pounds

Lose weight without diet or exercise? I guess that leaves cancer. –David Letterman. It is the day after Thanksgiving, and I have probably eaten enough calories to support the average family for at least three days. I am hesitant to comment on what my actual weight may be, but others have not been so reticent about discussing my appearance over at RDCT....

/ December 4, 2009

A critique of the leading study of American homebirth

Its authors boast that it is one of the ten most downloaded papers from the British Medical Journal (BMJ). That makes it even more unfortunate that the conclusions of the paper are directly at odds with the findings of the paper. Outcomes of planned home births with certified professional midwives: large prospective study in North America by Kenneth Johnson and Bettye Ann...

/ December 3, 2009

A temporary reprieve from legislative madness

While doctor visits for influenza-like illnesses seem to be trending downward again, and “swine flu” is becoming old news, I’d like to draw attention to an H1N1 story that has received very little coverage by the mainstream media. Doctors in several states can now protect their most vulnerable patients from the H1N1 virus without worrying about breaking the law. In order to save lives, several states...

/ December 2, 2009

Early Intervention for Autism

Many parents of children with autism have expressed to me their dismay that the anti-vaccine lobby is sucking all the oxygen out of the room for autism awareness. They feel that just being a parent of a child with autism makes others assume that they are anti-vaccine. They also worry that resources and attention are being diverted from promising legitimate research because...

/ December 2, 2009