Month: October 2010

High Dose Flu Vaccine for the Elderly

Dr. Novella  has recently written about this year’s seasonal flu vaccine and Dr. Crislip has reviewed the evidence for flu vaccine efficacy. There’s one little wrinkle that they didn’t address — one that I’m more attuned to because I’m older than they are.  I got my Medicare card last summer, so I am now officially one of the elderly. A recent review...

/ October 19, 2010

Joe Mercola and Barbara Loe Fisher declare November 1-6, 2010 “Vaccine Awareness Week”? Not so fast!

As I pointed out earlier, a rare thing happened this week, namely I don’t have a full post ready for Science-Based Medicine because I’m at the Lorne Trottier Symposium. Not only have the organizers have packed my day with skeptical and science goodness, but I only have Internet access when I’m back at the hotel, which isn’t very often. I suppose I...

/ October 18, 2010

Acupuncture and history: The “ancient” therapy that’s been around for several decades

Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it – A. Hitler It seems that just about every article about acupuncture makes some reference to it having been used in China for thousands of years. The obvious reason for such a statement is to make the implication that since it’s been around for so long,...

/ October 18, 2010
Gorski Goldacre Lorne Trottier Symposium

At the Lorne Trottier Symposium…

In lieu of a proper post, please instead accept this announcement of my appearance at the 2010 Lorne Trottier Public Science Symposium in Montreal!

/ October 18, 2010

Uff Da! The Mayo Clinic Shills for Snake Oil

A couple of weeks ago, in a review of the Mayo Clinic Book of Home Remedies, Harriet Hall expressed relief that she hadn’t found any “questionable recommendations for complementary & alternative medicine (CAM) treatments” in that book: Since “quackademic” medicine is infiltrating our best institutions and organizations, I wasn’t sure I could trust even the prestigious Mayo Clinic. The Home Remedies book...

/ October 15, 2010

The Cargo Cult of Acupuncture

Bloodletting, of course, was a major aim of early vessel therapy and is frequently described in the Su wen.1 Paul U Unschuld “Cargo cult” is a metaphor that describes the act of imitating an activity or a practice without any insight into the underlying principles. In the literal sense, it refers to a magico-religious practice observed in tribal societies, where the members...

/ October 14, 2010

What’s The Harm?

Any promoter of science-based medicine often faces the question – what’s the harm? What is the harm if people try treatment modalities that are not based upon good science, that are anecdotal, or provide only a placebo benefit? There are generally two premises to this question. The first is that most “alternative” placebo interventions are directly harmless. The second is that direct...

/ October 13, 2010

Science and Morality

I have frequently said that science can only provide data to inform our decisions but can’t tell us what we “should” do; that it can determine facts but not values. I stand corrected. A persuasive new book by Sam Harris, The Moral Landscape,  has convinced me that science can and should determine what is moral. In fact, it is a more reliable...

/ October 12, 2010

Oprah’s buddy Dr. Christiane Northrup and breast thermography: The opportunistic promotion of quackery

As many readers know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. What that generally means at our cancer center and in the rest of the “real world” is that, during the month of October, extra effort is made to try to raise awareness of breast cancer, to raise money for research, and promote screening for cancer. Unfortunately, what Breast Cancer Awareness Month means...

/ October 11, 2010

Reflexology. Insert Nancy Sinatra Reference Here.

In the last post on acupuncture, I noted that the University of Maryland offered reflexology along with other supplements, and complementary and alternative medicine (SCAMs). I was uncertain as to the particulars of this SCAM, and this post is a result of those investigations. Although messy in reality, science is a tool that gives us an idea as to how the real...

/ October 8, 2010