Year: 2014

Naturopathy vs. Science: Autism

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in. My blogging plan was to take a break from my series of naturopathy versus science posts, where I’ve been contrasting the advice from naturopaths against the scientific evidence. From a blogging perspective, naturopathy is a fascinating subject to scrutinize as there is seemingly no end of conditions for which naturopaths...

/ November 20, 2014

Low Dose Aspirin for Primary Prevention

A new study published in JAMA sheds further light on a controversial question – whether or not to prescribe low-dose aspirin (81-100mg) for the primary prevention of vascular disease (strokes and heart attacks). Primary prevention means preventing a negative medical outcome prior to the onset of disease, in this case preventing the first heart attack or stroke. Secondary prevention refers to treatments...

/ November 19, 2014

Recent Developments and Recurring Dilemmas in Cancer Screening: Colon, Lung, Thyroid

A new stool DNA test was recently approved by the FDA for colon cancer screening. My first reaction was “Yay! I hope it’s good enough to replace all those unpleasant, expensive screening colonoscopies.” But of course, things are never that simple. I wanted to explain the new test for our readers; but before I could start writing, some other issues in cancer...

/ November 18, 2014

Ontario fails to protect the life of a First Nations girl with cancer

A few weeks ago, Steve Novella invited me on his podcast, The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe, to discuss a cancer case that has been in the news for several months now. The case was about an 11-year-old girl with leukemia who is a member of Canada’s largest aboriginal community. Steve wrote about this case nearly a month ago. Basically, the girl’s...

/ November 17, 2014
langer cbs this

Eminent Harvard psychologist, mother of positive psychology, New Age quack?

Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas. – Marie Curie’s advice to journalists Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer was on CBS This Morning News explaining plans for a psychosocial intervention study with women with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. The project would attempt to shrink women’s tumors by shifting their mental perspective back to before they were diagnosed. Seeing her...

/ November 16, 2014

Fear mongering about vaccines as “racist population control” in Kenya

There are many conspiracy theories about vaccines, and they circulate almost continuously. Some are relatively new, but most are at least a few years old. They all tend to fall into several defined types, such as the “CDC whistleblower” story, which posits that the “CDC knew” all these years that vaccines cause autism but covered it up, even going so far as...

/ November 15, 2014

Why Get A Flu Shot?

Actual discussion: Parent “I want #Ebola vaccine for my child” Doc “There isn’t one, but we have #flushot” Parent “We don’t believe in that” So much of what we are for at Science-Based Medicine is reflected in what we oppose: all the pseudo-medical interventions and SCAMs. It is not always a positive message, forever noting why you should not be participating in...

/ November 14, 2014

Political Science: Chronic Lyme Disease

New York may soon join a handful of other states who reject science-based guidelines for the treatment of Lyme disease in favor of ideological guidelines based on the vociferous lobbying of patients and “Lyme literate” health care providers. Ignoring science is an unfortunate but well-known legislative phenomenon. I’ve discussed it a number of times on SBM, in the form of Legislative Alchemy,...

/ November 13, 2014

Stroke Death from Chiropractic Neck Manipulation

Case reports are perhaps the weakest form of medical evidence. They are essentially well-documented anecdotes. They do serve a useful purpose, however: they can illuminate possible correlations, the natural course of illness and treatment, and serve as cautionary tales regarding possible mistakes, risks and complications. I say “possible” because they are useful mainly for generating hypotheses and not testing or confirming hypotheses....

/ November 12, 2014

Oxygen Myths That Refuse to Die

One of my early forays into the world of pseudoscience was an investigation of “Vitamin O” (the O stands for oxygen). The story is hilarious; please click and read; I guarantee you won’t be able to read it without at least a chuckle. Vitamin O is still for sale; it’s even available on Amazon.com. You can read the manufacturer’s ridiculous rationalizations about...

/ November 11, 2014