Month: February 2010

Changing Climate, Changing Infections

I will state my bias up front.  I am convinced by the preponderance of data in favor of man made global warming.  At the most simplistic level, I can’t see how converting humongous tons of fossil fuel into C02 and dumping it into the the atmosphere cannot have effects on the climate.  To my mind its like determining vaccine efficacy or evolution....

/ February 26, 2010

Why You Can’t Depend On The Press For Science Reporting

I admit that the title of this post is a little inflammatory, but it’s frustrating when reporters call for input and then proceed to write unbalanced accounts of pseudoscientific practices. A case in point – my last post described a conversation I had with a reporter about energy medicine. My interviewee was very nice and seemed to “track” with me on what...

/ February 25, 2010

Dr. Amy Tuteur has decided to leave Science-Based Medicine

The editors and crew at SBM have an announcement that needs to be made. This morning, Dr. Amy Tuteur tendered her resignation and will therefore no longer be a blogger at SBM. Some of you might already be aware of this development because Dr. Tuteur has already announced her decision on her own blog. That is why we considered it important to...

/ February 24, 2010
homeopathy in the UK flag

Homeopathy Gets a Reality Check in the UK

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee (STC) has released a report, Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy, in which they recommend that the NHS stop funding homeopathy. The report is a rare commodity – a thoroughly science-based political document. The committee went beyond simply stating that homeopathy does not work, and revealed impressive insight into the ethical, practical, and scientific problems caused...

/ February 24, 2010
Mouse-eating

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Retroviruses: Jumping the Gun

When I first heard that a retrovirus had been identified as a possible cause of chronic fatigue syndrome, I withheld judgment and awaited further developments. When I heard that two subsequent studies had failed to replicate the findings of the first, I assumed that the first had been a false alarm and would be disregarded. Not so.  It’s a classic case of...

/ February 23, 2010

The fall of Andrew Wakefield

I must admit, I never saw it coming. At least, I never saw it coming this fast and this dramatically. After all, this is a saga that has been going on for twelve solid years now, and it’s an investigation that has been going on at least since 2004. Yes, I’m referring to that (possibly former) hero of the anti-vaccine movement, the...

/ February 22, 2010
Rob Houben

Rom Houben: Not communicating through facilitated communication

Rob Houben, injured by a car crash over two decades ago, was claimed to be conscious but paralyzed rather than in a persistent vegetative state, and the discredited pseudoscience of facilitated communication was claimed to give him a voice. To the lack of surprise of skeptics everywhere, these claims were not true.

/ February 20, 2010

Autism Onset and the Vaccine Schedule – Revisited

This week on Science-Based Medicine I wrote an article about a new study looking at the onset of autism symptoms, showing that most children who will later be diagnosed with autism will show clear signs of autism at 12 months of age, but not 6 months. This is an interesting study that sheds light on the natural course of autism. I also...

/ February 19, 2010

Longing for a past that never existed

There once was a time when all food was organic and no pesticides were used. Health problems were treated with folk wisdom and natural remedies. There was no obesity, and people got lots of exercise. And in that time gone by, the average life expectancy was … 35! That’s right. For most of human existence, according to fossil and anthropological data, the...

/ February 18, 2010

The Early Course of Autism

Understanding the natural history of a disease is an important framework to have. It not only is critical for prognosis, but also informs us about diagnostic and screening strategies, is important to assessing interventions, and provides clues to causation. There has been much debate about the early course of autism, specifically the earliest age at which autism may be detected. At present...

/ February 17, 2010