Month: May 2016

Therapeutic Touch Pseudoscience: The Tooth Fairy Strikes Again

A study out of Iran titled “Therapeutic touch for nausea in breast cancer patients receiving chemotherapy: Composing a treatment” was recently published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. It is a great example of the Tooth Fairy science that permeates much of the research in complementary and alternative medicine. In Tooth Fairy science, researchers attempt to study a phenomenon without...

/ May 31, 2016

No, a rat study with marginal results does not prove that cell phones cause cancer, no matter what Mother Jones and Consumer Reports say

There are certain myths that are frustratingly resistant to evidence, science, and reason. Some of these are basically medical conspiracy theories, where someone (industry and/or big pharma and/or physicians and/or the government) has slam-dunk evidence for harm but conspires to keep it from you, the people. For example, despite decades worth of negative studies, the belief that vaccines are harmful, causing conditions...

/ May 30, 2016
Pictured: The difference between the acupunctures and dry needling.

Dry Needling

War, huh, yeah What is it good for Absolutely nothing Uh-huh huh War, huh, yeah What is it good for Absolutely nothing Say it again, y’all War, huh, What is it good for Absolutely nothing Listen to me Ohhh, war, I despise Cause it means destruction Of innocent lives War means tears To thousands of mothers eyes When their sons go to...

/ May 27, 2016

Supplements, Lies, and a Lengthy Transcript

On October 21, 1993, there was a hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee for Labor and Human Resources, with the long-winded title: Examining How the Federal Government Should Regulate the Marketing and Use of Dietary Supplements and Related Measures, Including S. 784, To Strengthen Federal Standards with Respect To Dietary Supplements. S. 784, sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch, would eventually be enacted...

/ May 26, 2016

Pushback on Chiropractic

From time to time we respond directly to reader comments or e-mails in an article, when it seems that doing so would be a useful teachable moment. One of the strengths of social media is that it is interactive, which can be didactic. I feel it is very important to respond to what people actual believe and say, because otherwise we may...

/ May 25, 2016

Uncertainty in Medicine

Medicine is an uncertain business. It is an applied science, applying the results of basic science knowledge and clinical studies to patients who are individuals with differing heredity, environment, and history. It is commonly assumed that modern science-based doctors know what they are doing, but quite often they don’t know for certain. Different doctors interpret the same evidence differently; there is uncertainty...

/ May 24, 2016
Tai Chi Class

Tai Chi versus physical therapy for osteoarthritis of the knee: How CAM “rebranding” works

“Complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM), now more frequently referred to as “integrative medicine” by its proponents, consists of a hodge-podge of largely unrelated treatments that range from seemingly reasonable (e.g., diet and exercise) to pure quackery (e.g., acupuncture, reiki and other “energy medicine”) that CAM proponents are trying furiously to “integrate” as coequals into science-based medicine. They do this because they have...

/ May 23, 2016

CAM use and chemotherapy: A negative correlation

So-called “alternative” medicine is made up of a hodge-podge of health care practices and treatments based on beliefs that are unscientific, pre-scientific, and pseudoscientific. These modalities include practices as diverse as homeopathy, traditional Chinese medicine, reflexology, reiki and other forms of “energy medicine” based on vitalism, chiropractic, and naturopathy, and that’s a short list of the quackery that falls under the rubric...

/ May 22, 2016

Change.org Petition: “Naturopaths are not physicians: stop legitimizing pseudoscience”

Britt Hermes, a graduate of the naturopathic college at the alternative medicine-focused Bastyr University, renounced her practice as a naturopathic doctor when she could no longer tolerate the pseudoscience and patient harm that characterizes naturopathy. On this blog and her own, Naturopathic Diaries, she has chronicled the insufficient education and training students receive before being allowed to practice as naturopathic doctors, deficiencies...

/ May 22, 2016

Australian Chiropractor Ian Rossborough Promises to Stop Treating Children…for Twenty Days

Before I begin this brief update to my recent post on Australian baby chiropractor Ian Rossborough’s “crack heard round the world,” I want to give a quick thanks to Jann Bellamy for organizing our day of Science-Based Medicine at NECSS last week. It was an amazing experience sharing the stage with the SBM crew for my first public presentation, and finally getting...

/ May 20, 2016