All posts by Harriet Hall

Harriet Hall, MD also known as The SkepDoc, is a retired family physician who writes about pseudoscience and questionable medical practices. She received her BA and MD from the University of Washington, did her internship in the Air Force (the second female ever to do so),  and was the first female graduate of the Air Force family practice residency at Eglin Air Force Base. During a long career as an Air Force physician, she held various positions from flight surgeon to DBMS (Director of Base Medical Services) and did everything from delivering babies to taking the controls of a B-52. She retired with the rank of Colonel.  In 2008 she published her memoirs, Women Aren't Supposed to Fly.

The Best Science from The New England Journal of Medicine

The editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine has selected a dozen articles published during his tenure that epitomize the best of science-based medicine.

/ May 21, 2019

SmartJane Test of Vaginal Health: Clever Marketing, Questionable Science

uBiome claims that its SmartJane test's proprietary technology empowers customers to assess their own vaginal health. The company is being investigated for fraudulent billing practices, and the rationale for the test makes no sense.

/ May 14, 2019

The Scientific Attitude, Not the Scientific Method, Is the Key

A philosopher of science argues that science is not characterized by a specific scientific method but by the scientific attitude. Scientists value empirical evidence and follow the evidence wherever it leads. They are open to changing their mind rather than stubbornly clinging to an ideological belief system.

/ May 7, 2019

Pseudoscience in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy

This new book addresses the neglected field of research on child and adolescent psychotherapy and does an excellent job of distinguishing treatments that have been proven to work from treatments that are based on pseudoscience.

/ April 30, 2019

Chiropractor Treating Concussions for Earlier Return to Play

A chiropractor is using questionable diagnostic and therapeutic measures to return athletes to play sooner after a concussion. Not a good idea.

/ April 23, 2019

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Rituximab

IV rituximab has been used to treat chronic fatigue syndrome. A large, well-designed new study shows it doesn't work.

/ April 16, 2019

Medical Apartheid

Harriet Washington's book tells the dark history of medical experimentation on black Americans. It also reveals broader problems of inequality, poor science, and human failures.

/ April 9, 2019

Great Courses: Skeptic’s Guide to Health, Medicine, and the Media

Dr. Roy Benaroch's course offers a toolkit of six questions we can use to evaluate the truth behind the often misleading media reports on health topics. It is a valuable companion to the Science-Based Medicine blog.

/ April 2, 2019

An HBO Documentary about the Theranos Fraud Raises Concerns

Elizabeth Holmes founded Theranos to develop a device that could do 200 tests on a single drop of blood in a minute. She lied; it failed; she is being tried for fraud and conspiracy. The HBO documentary The Inventor tells the story but has some flaws. We can learn lessons from what happened.

/ March 26, 2019

For Discussion: Should I Only Write About Fake Stuff If It Is Well-Known?

Does writing about questionable topics that are not well-known do more harm or good? There are arguments on both sides.

/ March 19, 2019