Month: August 2013

E-cigarettes: The growing popularity of an unregulated drug delivery device

This post is not about vaccines (for a change). However, I deem it appropriate to mention that one of the topics that I blog most frequently about is vaccines and how the antivaccine movement pushes pseudoscience and quackery based on its apparently implacable hatred of vaccines. (You’ll see why very shortly.) It seems almost as long as my interest in the topic...

/ August 19, 2013
thich_quang_duc_self-immolation

Improperly Performed Acupuncture Linked to Spontaneous Human Combustion

Experts in traditional Chinese medicine are warning patients to avoid unlicensed acupuncture practitioners after an apparent case of spontaneous human combustion. Baton Rouge, LA-When investigators climbed from out of the smoldering debris that was the home of Hank Thomas, the looks on their faces told the gathering crowd what these hardened veterans of the Baton Rouge Fire Department couldn’t put into words....

/ August 16, 2013

The facts of the alternative medicine industry

People have been living on earth for about 250,000 years. For the past 5,000 healers have been trying to heal the sick. For all but the past 200, they haven’t been very good at it. – Dr. Paul Offit Twenty years is a long time in medicine. I celebrated my 20th pharmacy class reunion last weekend. Of course reunions are time to...

/ August 15, 2013

Autism and Induced Labor

A recently published epidemiological study in JAMA Pediatrics looked at the association between induction and enhancement of labor and the risk of autism. The researchers found a positive association, especially with males. The study has been variously reported in the popular press with causal interpretations not justified by the data. The study itself is very robust – the authors looked at 625,042...

/ August 14, 2013

Homeopathy First Aid Kits

I don’t know how I missed them, but somehow homeopathic first aid kits had not registered on my radar. They’re readily available. Even Amazon.com sells them, for $54.99. They contain 18 vials of tiny sugar pills, all with potencies of 200C, guaranteed by Avogadro not to contain a single molecule of the active ingredient. (For those of you who may not know,...

/ August 13, 2013

When doctors betray their patients and science-based medicine for money

We spend a lot of time on this blog discussing failures of the medical system. Usually, we such discussions occur in the context of how unscientific practices and even outright quackery have managed to infiltrate what should be science-based medicine (SBM) in the form of so-called “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) or “integrative medicine,” in which the quackery of alternative medicine is...

/ August 12, 2013

New help page for commenting and login issues

Earlier this year, after getting hacked, we made some major changes. It all had to be done, but of course there are some new headaches. We’ve published a new help page explaining the changes, why you do not have to have a Facebook or Twitter account, and why some comments are held for moderation (one normal reason, one buggy reason). Obviously we...

/ August 10, 2013
Yes, it's true that placebos are just as powerful as homeopathy. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean what believers in integrative medicine think it does.

A Different Perspective: Placebo, SCAM, and Advertising

Summertime, time, time Child, the living’s easy. Fish are jumping out And the handicap, Lord Handicaps high, Lord so high ~ Janis Joplin It is summer. Time for the kids and the outside, not the computer. What follows is a summertime blog entry, for which I admit to feeling guilty for the comparatively little time I have spent on it, but as...

/ August 9, 2013
u-s-navy-back-acupuncture

Integrative Medicine Invades the U.S. Military: Part Three

Nobody seems to know exactly how to define “integrative medicine” (“IM”) or to demonstrate what it does that is superior to the “conventional” kind. There is a lot of talk about addressing the “whole person” and not just the disease, patient-centeredness and the like, all of which are already aspects of conventional medicine. But, however defined, the central idea seems to be...

/ August 8, 2013

Irlen Syndrome

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. – George Santayana Science-based medicine is more than a set of methods or certain philosophy of medicine – it is an entire approach to what should be the core questions for any interventionist profession: is it real and does it work? These are often deceptively difficult questions to answer. Fortunately we...

/ August 7, 2013