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.

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Fun with Spanish Flu Myths

There are many myths about the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918. Some of them are pretty funny.

/ June 20, 2017
Essential oils smell good, but the claims of health benefits are exaggerated.

On Guard,  DōTERRA, Essential Oils, and a Lesson in Reading Research Studies

A study of On Guard™, a mixture of essential oils, showed that it reduced the infectivity of influenza virus in dog kidney cells in the lab; but that's irrelevant to the question of whether the product has any clinical effect in humans.

/ June 13, 2017
Money and pills

When Drugs Cost Too Much

Our ability to develop new drugs is fast outstripping our ability to pay for them; some are exorbitantly expensive and not very effective. Funds are limited, and as a society we need to have a serious discussion about how they are to be allocated.

/ June 6, 2017
Osteoarthritis

New Evidence for Chondroitin

Several previous studies showed chondroitin was ineffective for knee osteoarthritis, but a new study says it is as effective as celecoxib. There are reasons to be skeptical.

/ May 30, 2017
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Confessions of a Quack: Holistic Harry Tells the Inside Story of Alternative Medicine

Confessions of a Quack is fiction, but it provides real insights into the thinking processes and motivations of quacks, alternative medicine providers, and their patients.

/ May 23, 2017
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Acupuncturist Complains About Wikipedia

An acupuncturist complains about Wikipedia, saying it is under the control of self-styled skeptics who bias the content and bully anyone who disagrees. She only demonstrates her own bias; Wikipedia had good reason to ban her from editing.

/ May 16, 2017
protandim

Protandim Update: New Studies and an FDA Warning Letter

Multilevel distributors of the dietary supplement Protandim think that evidence from scientific studies supports their claims for their product. The FDA disagrees.

/ May 9, 2017
Parents usually cherish and protect their children. But sometimes they cause them horrific suffering and let them die.

Medical Neglect of Children

Medical neglect caused horrific suffering for these children, ending in death or permanent impairment. Their parents failed them, but so did society.

/ May 2, 2017
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Gary Taubes and the Case Against Sugar

Gary Taubes writes that sugar is the cause of obesity and most chronic diseases. He makes a good case for the prosecution, but he doesn't convict.

/ April 25, 2017
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Vital Stem: Affordable Stem Cell Treatments for Everyone? Anti-Aging Breakthrough?

Vital Stem is a dietary supplement mixture that supposedly reverses the changes of normal aging by increasing the body's production of stem cells. We can't know if it works, because it hasn't been tested.

/ April 18, 2017