Month: July 2016

A typical VA Medical Center

“Complementary and Integrative Health” at the VA: Integrating pseudoscience into the care of veterans

In return for their service to our country, veterans deserve the best science-based medical care that we as a nation can provide. Unfortunately, the VA is integrating quackery into its medical care even more enthusiastically than medical academia.

/ July 18, 2016

Robotically-Assisted Acupuncture Brings Ancient Healing Technique Into the 21st Century

Developed over many thousands of years (or maybe a little less), what has come to be known as traditional Chinese acupuncture has proven capable of curing or at least ameliorating the symptoms of a variety of medical conditions. But one of its greatest strengths, the intimate connection between the practitioner and the acupuncture needle, is also one of its most significant weaknesses....

/ July 15, 2016
A new study examined 26 Traditional Chinese Medicine products and determined that 90 per cent were unfit human consumption.

Should you try a “natural alternative” before medication?

The idea of taking medication can be frightening. And as consumers and patients that want to make our own informed health decisions, it’s understandable and even appropriate to question our physicians when they recommend drug treatments. We need to understand the rationale for any medication that’s recommended or prescribed, the benefits of therapy, the side effects, and if there are any other...

/ July 14, 2016

Thinking With Your Emotions About Medicine

The mental pathway of least resistance, what psychologists often refer to as the “default mode” of human thought, is to go with our “gut feelings.” We evolved emotions, heuristics, and cognitive biases partly so that we could make quick judgments that are good enough and err on the side of survival. This can be adaptive – if we smell something rotten we...

/ July 13, 2016
Diatomaceous_earth_(251_10)_Diatomaceous_earth

Diatomaceous Earth? No Thank You!

Diatoms are unicellular algae, one of the two major classes of the phytoplankton that constitute the bottom of the food chain in oceans and freshwater. Diatomaceous earth is a soft, siliceous sedimentary rock containing the fossilized skeletal remains of diatoms. It has been used as a bug killer: it is hypothesized that the sharp particles physically cut up the insects and also...

/ July 12, 2016
VAXXED

Reviewing Andrew Wakefield’s VAXXED: Antivaccine propaganda at its most pernicious

Antivaccine "hero" Andrew Wakefield has recruited Del Bigtree to help him make a movie about the "CDC whistleblower" manufactroversy and anti vaccine conspiracy theories in general. The results are so ham-fisted that they would make Reni Liefenstahl shout, "Zu viel!" ("Too much!")

/ July 11, 2016
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The New Chiropractic. And I thought SBM had an uphill battle.

Over at the Society for Science-Based Medicine we have Sisyphus as the logo on the website. Sisyphus, as you may know, is the Greek who had to push a boulder up a hill every day, the archetypal metaphor for futile labor. It was meant to be a bit tongue in cheek, but only a bit. As quackademia proudly expands I sometime feel...

/ July 8, 2016
herbs-nd1

FDA efforts to improve compounded drug safety upsets naturopaths

Favorite naturopathic treatments comprise pumping patients full of dubious mixtures by injection, including IV drips. Naturopaths also employ topicals (salves, ointments and creams), rectal, and vaginal suppositories, and oral medications, such as bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, all made from “natural” substances. According to the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) these nutritional, herbal and homeopathic remedies are compounded to meet unique patient...

/ July 7, 2016
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New Study Questions fMRI Validity

One way to describe our overall editorial stance at SBM is that we are criticizing medical science in a constructive way because we would like to see higher standards more generally applied. Science is complex, medical science especially so because it deals with people who are complex and unique. Getting it right is hard and so we need to take a very...

/ July 6, 2016
If vegans really followed these guidelines, they could get adequate nutrition; but all too often they don’t.

Vegan Betrayal: The Myths vs. the Realities of a Plants-Only Diet

NOTE: The original version of this book review was criticized for not making it clear when I was simply reporting the book’s content and when I was expressing support for one of its arguments. I have revised it to make it more clear. The additions are marked by brackets. Vegetarians come in several flavors. Ovo-vegetarians eat eggs, lacto-vegetarians eat dairy products but...

/ July 5, 2016