Month: May 2014

More Dialogs

There is no alternative medicine. There is only scientifically proven, evidence-based medicine supported by solid data or unproven medicine, for which scientific evidence is lacking. JAMA Just just because there are flaws in aircraft design that doesn’t mean flying carpets exist. Ben Goldacre Wiser heads than I have commented on “Invitation to a Dialogue: Alternative Therapies” in The New York Times. So...

/ May 16, 2014

Legislative Alchemy 2014 (so far)

Legislative Alchemy is the process by which credulous state legislators turn practitioners of pseudoscience into state-licensed health care professionals. In addition to unleashing quackery such as homeopathy, colonic irrigation, moxibustion, reiki, cranial sacral therapy and the detection and correction of subluxations on the public, these practice acts typically give chiropractors, naturopaths and acupuncturists the freedom of being governed by their own regulatory...

/ May 15, 2014

Dialogue on “Alternative Therapies”

A recent opinion piece in The New York Times is an invitation to a dialogue on so-called alternative therapies, written by James Gordon. Gordon directs the Center for Mind-Body Medicine and was chairman of the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy appointed by President Bill Clinton. The piece, unfortunately, represents many of the common misconceptions about mainstream medicine and...

/ May 14, 2014
Obesity5

Gary Taubes and the Cause of Obesity

Gary Taubes has written two books explaining why people get fat and why a low-carb diet is the solution to preventing and treating obesity. He didn’t like what I had to say about his books on this blog back in 2011. I was not the only one to criticize. Another reviewer accused him of “abandon[ing] journalistic and scientific integrity in place of...

/ May 13, 2014

A formal request for retraction of a Cancer article

I am formally requesting that Cancer retract an article claiming that psychotherapy delays recurrence and extends survival time for breast cancer patients. Regardless of whether I succeed in getting a retraction, I hope I will prompt other efforts to retract such articles. My letter appears later in this post. In seeking retraction, I cite the standards of the Committee on Publication Ethics...

/ May 12, 2014

Separating Fact from Fiction in the Not-So-Normal Newborn Nursery: Newborn Jaundice

By far the most common medical problem in newborn infants is jaundice, typically appreciated as a yellowish discoloration of the skin caused by increased blood levels of a pigment called bilirubin. In my role as a newborn hospitalist, I manage jaundice every day. If I am not treating jaundice, in every single baby I see I am at least determining the risk...

/ May 9, 2014

We’re a drug-taking, supplement-taking nation. So how do we do so safely?

Do you take a vitamin or dietary supplement? It’s increasingly likely that you do, as over half of all American adults took some sort of supplement over the past 30 days. Now there’s evidence to suggest that about one-third of all Americans are taking supplements and prescription drug at the same time, which is renewing questions about risks and benefits. The same...

/ May 8, 2014

CureCrowd – Crowdsourcing Science

A new website came to my attention that promises to “Discover what truly works.” The idea is to essentially crowdsource anecdotal reports about what treatments work for specific conditions. This is an interesting idea, that can harness the power of information flow over the internet to do what is essentially an observational, uncontrolled, and unscientific study about treatment effects. At its best,...

/ May 7, 2014

Lice

If you have children, there’s a good chance you’ve had experience with head lice. Head lice affects as many as 12 million people in the US each year, mostly children. Compared to other health conditions, it is a trivial problem; but it is common and annoying. It can cause itching, notes sent home from school, and often a strong “yuck” reaction. Fortunately,...

/ May 6, 2014

The false dilemma of David Katz: Abandon patients or abandon science

Dr. David L. Katz is apparently unhappy with me. You remember Dr. Katz, don’t you? If you don’t, I’ll remind you momentarily. If you do, you won’t be surprised. Let me explain a bit first how Dr. Katz recently became aware of me again. Last week, I posted a short (for me) piece about something that disturbed both Steve Novella and myself,...

/ May 5, 2014