Month: May 2012

The regulation of nonsense

 The most meticulous regulation of nonsense must still result in nonsense. — Edzard Ernst, M.D., PhD., professor, Complementary Medicine, Peninsula Medical School, University of Exeter, UK One necessity of licensing so-called “complementary and alternative,” or “CAM,” practitioners is to spell out exactly what is encompassed in the CAM scope of practice. This is unfortunate for the practitioners because it forces an exposé...

/ May 17, 2012

Prince Charles Alternative Medicine Charity Closes

The Princes Foundation for Integrated Health closed shop in 2010. Now the company that ran the foundation has officially closed. The foundation was a vanity project by Prince Charles, who had a soft spot for so-called alternative medicine and natural therapies. The foundation was established in 1993 and in the last 19 years has misinformed the public about CAM therapies, promoted nonsense like...

/ May 16, 2012

RISUG: Birth Control for Men

According to an enthusiastic article on the Internet, “The Best Birth Control In the World Is For Men.” It’s called RISUG: Reversible Inhibition of Sperm Under Guidance. It involves a minor surgical procedure in which the vas deferens is exposed and pulled outside the scrotum by the same techniques used for a vasectomy. A copolymer, powdered styrene maleic anhydride (SMA, for which...

/ May 15, 2012

Another cancer tragedy in the making

I despise cancer quacks. I know, I know. My saying that is probably akin to saying that the sun rises in the east, water is wet, and Donald Trump’s hair resembles nothing in nature. You know, brain-meltingly obvious statements. It’s true, though. I despise cancer quacks. It doesn’t much matter to me whether the quack is a true believer or a calculating...

/ May 14, 2012
Dental x-ray teeth

Dental X-rays and Brain Tumors — Oh My!

Fear sells, and the media loves it. If it’s scary, no matter how tenuous the link or inconclusive the study, you are going to see it on the news. How many times over the years have you heard that your cell phone might give you brain cancer, even though it never turns out to be true? Once such a claim is made,...

/ May 11, 2012

Announcement: New Edition of Consumer Health

For decades Consumer Health: A Guide to Intelligent Decisions was the only textbook available for college classes on the subject, and it is still the best: the most comprehensive and the most reliable. It was first published in 1976, and it has clearly had staying power. An updated 9th edition has just been released. The authors have changed over the years: this...

/ May 11, 2012

The drug expiry date: A necessary safety measure, or yet another Big Pharma conspiracy?

Consider this scenario: You’re in good health and take no prescription drugs. You use the following remedies occasionally: Excedrin for the rare migraine Arnica 30CH for bumps and bruises Echinacea capsules, when you feel a cold coming on Today you look in your cupboard, and notice all three products expired last year. Would you still consider taking any of them? Why or...

/ May 10, 2012

Pseudoscience is not Cost Effective

Industrialized nations are in the middle of a health care crisis (some more than others), or at least a dilemma. As our medical technology advances, people are living longer, they are living with chronic diseases, and they are consuming more health care. The cost of this health care is rising faster than economic growth, so it is becoming a greater and greater...

/ May 9, 2012

Homeopathy and Nanoparticles

I had never heard of Dr. Shantaram Kane, a chemical engineer in Mumbai, India. I don’t know how he heard of me, but he apparently knows I am critical of homeopathy. He e-mailed me out of the blue to tell me about a study he had published in 2010 in the journal Homeopathy: “Extreme homeopathic dilutions retain starting materials: A nanoparticulate perspective.”...

/ May 8, 2012

Plausibility bias? You say that as though that were a bad thing!

On Friday, you might have noticed that Mark Crislip hinted at a foreshadowing of a blog post to come. This is that blog post. He knew it was coming because when I saw the article that inspired it, I sent an e-mail to my fellow bloggers marking out my territory like a dog peeing on every tree or protecting my newfound topic...

/ May 7, 2012