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.

How likely is bacon to kill you?

Dietary Associations with Cardiovascular and Diabetic Mortality: “Bacon, soda, and too few nuts”?

A recent study attempted to quantify the association of ten dietary factors with deaths from cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Headlines about the study were misleading.

/ March 21, 2017
The four ages of man aging

Update on Testosterone Supplementation

Testosterone supplementation is a legitimate treatment for properly-diagnosed androgen deficiency, but it is being overprescribed by doctors who make exaggerated claims for it. New evidence clarifies its modest benefits and worrisome risks.

/ March 14, 2017
magnet

Magnets Provide Amusement, But Not Health Benefits

Static magnets have no health benefits, but the advertising can be quite entertaining.

/ March 7, 2017
Great_white_shark_south_africa

Why Do Things That Are Unlikely to Harm Us Get the Most Attention?

We are very bad at assessing risk, often giving the most attention to the things that are least likely to harm us. Geoffrey Kabat's new book teaches us how to think more clearly about scientific studies of environmental health risks.

/ February 28, 2017
Olde tyme brain diagram

Daniel and Tana Amen’s Book The Brain Warrior’s Way: Standard Health Advice Mixed with Misinformation and Fanciful Ideas

Daniel Amen, the media-savvy psychiatrist and promoter of SPECT scans, has teamed-up with his wife Tana to write a self-help book that hopelessly muddles good medical advice with misinformation and speculation.

/ February 21, 2017
Glucopure

Natural Remedies for Diabetes: Plavinol, Glucopure

There is not enough evidence to support using dietary supplements in the treatment of diabetes. There is preliminary evidence that some herbs lower blood sugar by a modest amount, but it would be foolish to think they could replace conventional treatment of diabetes.

/ February 14, 2017
MacularDegenerationFundus

Re-thinking Antioxidant Supplementation for Macular Degeneration

After the AREDS trial, people with moderate to severe age-related macular degeneration were advised to take dietary supplements to slow the progression of the disease. But some experts say the trial actually showed supplements don't work, and might even make some patients worse.

/ February 7, 2017
pink salt

Pink Himalayan Sea Salt: An Update

The claims of health benefits from pink Himalayan sea salt are not supported by a shred of evidence. In fact, its vaunted “84 trace minerals and elements” include several poisons and many radioactive elements.

/ January 31, 2017
Fire

Flame Retardants Have Ignited a Flaming Controversy

Flame retardants are controversial: proponents say they reduce fire damage and save lives; critics say they don't work, are poisoning our environment, and should be banned.

/ January 24, 2017
Bellevue Hospital

Bellevue

Harriet is back! This time, she reviews Bellvue: Three Centuries of Medicine and Mayhem at America’s Most Storied Hospital by Pulitzer-prize-winning history professor David Oshinsky. Bellevue was, and is, a microcosm of American history and politics, as well as the history of modern medicine itself. Highly recommended!

/ January 17, 2017