Month: January 2011

Breast implants and anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL): Is there a link?

I must admit that I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with breast implants. On the one hand, as a breast cancer surgeon, I see them as a major benefit to my patients who are unfortunate enough to require mastectomy in order to control their disease. The armamentarium of techniques for reconstructing breasts after mastectomy generally falls into one of two...

/ January 31, 2011

It is all about me.

I was interviewed for Birmingham Skeptics and you can hear the result at http://brumskeptics.blogspot.com/2011/01/podcast-posting-interview-with-mark.html. It is bad enough listening to myself as I correct my podcasts, so I have no idea how good the interview is; it was fun at the time.   And the picture makes me look fatter than I am. Oh well.

/ January 28, 2011

Rambling Musings on Using the Medical Literature

For those who are new to the blog, I am nobody from nowhere. I am a clinician, taking care of patients with infectious diseases at several hospitals in the Portland area. I am not part of an academic center (although we are affiliated with OHSU and have a medicine residency program). I have not done any research since I was a fellow,...

/ January 28, 2011

The English government cracks down on alternative pet remedies

One cannot play charades forever. European veterinary groups have long been more skeptical about “alternative” veterinary practices than their American counterparts. For example, the European Board of Veterinary Specialties refuses to grant continuing education credits for non-scientific endeavors attempting to masquerade as a way to improve one’s clinical knowledge, and the practice of veterinary homeopathy is forbidden in Sweden. Now comes good...

/ January 27, 2011
Crestor_Tablets_(rosuvastatin)

Statins – The Cochrane Review

A recent Cochrane review of the use of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs in primary prevention has sparked some controversy.  The controversy is not so much over what the data says, but in what conclusions to draw from the data. Statin drugs have been surrounded by controversy for a number of reasons. On the one hand they demonstrably lower cholesterol, and the evidence has...

/ January 26, 2011

One Hump or Two? Camel’s Milk as a New Alternative Medicine

I wasn’t really surprised to learn that camel milk is being promoted as a medicine. I long ago realized that the human power of belief is inexhaustible. The news did make me laugh, probably because camels are rather funny-looking animals, because I am easily amused, because it reminded me of some of my favorite camel jokes, and because it wouldn’t do any...

/ January 25, 2011

Molecular breast imaging (MBI): A promising technology oversold in a TED Talk?

Occasionally, there are topics that our readers want — nay, demand — that I cover. This next topic, it turns out, is one of them. It’s a link to a TED Talk. I’m guessing that most of our readers have either viewed (or at least heard of) TED talks. Typically, they are 20-minute talks, with few or no slides, by various experts...

/ January 24, 2011

Old drugs, new tricks

What does honey bee colony collapse disorder have to do with a potential new cancer treatment? They both relate – in a convoluted manner – to an old antibacterial drug called nitroxoline. True to my devotion as a natural product pharmacologist, I’m proud to say that new life would not have come to nitroxoline had not a fungal natural product called fumagillin...

/ January 21, 2011

The risks of CAM: How much do we know?

Working in pharmacies where supplements are sold alongside traditional (over-the-counter) medications, I’m regularly astonished at the different perceptions consumers can have about the relative efficacy and safety of different types of products. Once, speaking with a customer about a medical condition she wanted to treat, I indicated that there were no effective non-prescription therapies — she needed to see a physician for...

/ January 20, 2011

For shame, Dr. Oz, for promoting Joseph Mercola on your show!

I’ve been highly critical of Dr. Mehmet Oz, Vice Chair of the Department of Surgery at Columbia University and medical director of the Integrative Medicine Program (i.e., Columbia’s quackademic medicine) program at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Those are his academic titles. More important, in terms of his promotion of pseudoscience, is his role as daytime medical show host. Dr. Oz’s television show, called,...

/ January 19, 2011