Month: March 2011

Tripterygium_regelii thunder god vine 2

How to Interrogate an Herbal Medicine: Thunder God Vine

Thunder god vine may not be a useful herbal medicine but the compounds isolated from it are fascinating – if not as medicines, then most certainly as laboratory tools. Nature Chemical Biology recently published an article where a research team from Johns Hopkins, the University of Colorado at Boulder, and Drew University in New Jersey, has determined the molecular mechanism of action...

/ March 18, 2011

Dr. Oz and John Edward: Just when I thought Dr. Oz couldn’t go any lower, he proves me wrong

I’ve really come to detest Dr. Mehmet Oz. You remember Dr. Mehmet Oz, don’t you? How can you escape him? He is, after all, Oprah Winfrey’s protege, and of late he’s really been living up (or down) to the example set by his television mentor, who of late apparently thinks nothing of promoting faith healing quack John of God on her show....

/ March 17, 2011

Help – My Doctor is a Crank!

I often receive e-mail from SBM readers (or SGU listeners) who have had the experience of their doctor, nurse, dentist, physical therapist, or other health care provider recommending to them a treatment option that seems dubious, if not outright pseudoscientific. They want advice on what to do.  There are common themes to the e-mails – the writer often feels very uncomfortable in...

/ March 16, 2011

Spreading the Word

Lest some of our readers imagine that the authors of this blog are mere armchair opinion-spouters and keyboard-tappers for one little blog, I’d like to point out some of the other things we do to spread the word about science and reason. Steven Novella’s new course about medical myths for “The Great Courses” of The Teaching Company is a prime example: more about...

/ March 15, 2011
Anthroposophic medicine

A University of Michigan Medical School alumnus confronts anthroposophic medicine at his alma mater

Anthroposophic medicine is the creation of Rudolf Steiner, who also founded Waldorf Schools. It's a form of medicine that is vitalistic and full of quackery. Unfortunately, my medical alma mater, the University of Michigan, has a program in anthroposophic medicine. It's a small program, but that it exists at all is a disturbing reminder how quackery can infiltrate even the best medical...

/ March 14, 2011

Triskaidekaphobia times two.

There is germaphobia, the fear of germs. Or Germans.  One of the two. Oddly, I do not fear most germs, despite my daily reminders as to how destructive these wee beasties can be.   I recognize their limits and my immunologic strengths and know I have more to fear from cars or unsaturated fats than E. coli or influenza. There is also a...

/ March 11, 2011

Is “CAM” Fraud?

During my continuing education about so-called “complementary and alternative” medicine one question presents itself in my mind over and over: Isn’t that fraud? Well, is it?

/ March 10, 2011

The Dark Side of Medical Globalization

You are not going to change what we do, you’re not going to change our determination to make these patients better. I see these patients, I know these patients, I value these patients, I’ve looked after them for years. I’ve seen them after the procedure, the vast majority are improved. The above quote could be a reference to just about any fringe...

/ March 9, 2011
human placenta

Eating Placentas: Cannibalism, Recycling, or Health Food?

After giving birth, most mammals eat the afterbirth, the placenta. Most humans don’t. Several hypotheses have been suggested as to why placentophagy might have had evolutionary survival value, but are there any actual benefits for modern women? Placentophagy has been recommended for various reasons, from nutritional benefit to preventing postpartum depression to “honoring the placenta.” In other cultures, various rituals surround the...

/ March 8, 2011

Ethics in human experimentation in science-based medicine

Science-based medicine depends upon human experimentation. Scientists can do the most fantastic translational research in the world, starting with elegant hypotheses, tested through in vitro and biochemical experiments, after which they are tested in animals. They can understand disease mechanisms to the individual amino acid level in a protein or nucleotide in a DNA molecule. However, without human testing, they will never...

/ March 7, 2011