Month: January 2013

The Dr. Oz Red Palm Oil (non-) Miracle

If there is an antithesis to the principles of science-based medicine, it’s probably the Dr. Oz show. In this daytime television parallel universe, anecdotes are evidence. There are no incremental advances in knowledge — only medical miracles. And every episode neatly offers up three or four takeaway health nuggets that, more often than not, seem to leave the audience more ill-informed about...

/ January 10, 2013

Alternative Arthritis Treatments

A recent report commissioned by Arthritis Research UK reviewed 25 so-called “alternative” therapies for arthritis. They found, not surprisingly that there is little evidence to support most the studied treatments. “There’s either no evidence that they’re effective or there’s some evidence that they are not effective. Says lead author, Dr Gareth Jones.  It is important to note that we are not just talking...

/ January 9, 2013

Rituximab for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Jumping the Gun

Now that the XMRV myth has been put to rest,  patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) are no longer jumping the gun to demand anti-retroviral treatments. But they are jumping the gun in new ways, based on very preliminary data coming out of Norway. A correspondent in Norway wrote to tell me patients from Norway with myalgic encephalitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) are travelling...

/ January 8, 2013

Everything we eat causes cancer…sort of

Red meat causes cancer. No, processed meat causes cancer. OK, it’s both red meat and processed meat. Wait, genetically modified grain causes cancer (well, not really). No, aspartame causes cancer. No, this food coloring or that one causes cancer. Clearly, everything you eat causes cancer! That means you can avoid cancer by avoiding processed meats, red meat, GMO-associated food (no, probably not),...

/ January 7, 2013
Green coffee beans, the subject of a "clinical trial" conducted by Dr. Mehmet Oz.

The Great and Powerful Oz versus science and research ethics

Dr. Mehmet Oz conducted a (poor-quality) clinical trial of green coffee beans for weight loss. Somehow between taping his show and being a doctor, he forgot to get institutional review board approval for ethics. Oops!

/ January 4, 2013

Dr. Oz Doubles Down on Green Coffee Bean with a Made-for-TV Clinical Trial

“One of the most important discoveries I believe we’ve made that will help you burn fat – green coffee bean extract” – Dr. Oz, September 10, 2012, Episode “The Fat Burner that Works” Dr. Mehmet Oz may be biggest purveyor of health pseudoscience on television today. How he came to earn this title is a bit baffling, if you look at his...

/ January 3, 2013

Nutrigenomics – Not Ready for Prime Time

Quackery in medicine takes many forms – use of bad science (pseudoscience), fraud, and reliance on mysticism are a few examples. Perhaps the most insidious form of dubious practice, however, is to use genuine and promising medical science to promote treatments that are simply not at the point of clinical application. New treatments, and especially new approaches to treatment, in medicine often...

/ January 2, 2013

What’s past is prologue

Today marks the five year anniversary of the blog. I was not part of the initial stable of writers, my first entry published Jan 31. As I remember it shortly thereafter they browbeat me into writing twice a month. I had a lot of hesitancy participating as I was uncertain I could keep up with the twice monthly writing requirements. I am...

/ January 1, 2013

Beyond Informed Consent: Shared Decision-Making

Happy New Year to all our readers! Today marks the completion of 5 years of SBM and the beginning of year 6. My contributions, at one a week, have now reached a total of 260. My first post on this blog, 5 years ago, was a review of an important book about science and alternative medicine, Snake Oil Science. This year I’d like...

/ January 1, 2013