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.

Statin Side Effects Revisited

Patients on statins frequently report muscle pain and other side effects, but controlled studies have shown side effects are not more frequent than with placebo. Why this discrepancy? A new study sheds some light.

/ January 19, 2021

Wim Hof, the Iceman

Wim Hof, the Iceman, is extraordinarily resistant to extreme cold. His Wim Hof Method (WHM) combines breathing exercises, cold exposure, and meditation. Hyperventilation has been shown to reduce the body's response to inflammation, but Hof's extravagant claims of health benefits are not supported by scientific evidence.

/ January 12, 2021

Kambo: Frog Poison for Health?

The Kambo fad: people are applying frog poison to burns created on their skin, making them vomit repeatedly and feel terrible. They think this torture has health benefits. There's no evidence that it does anything but poison them. Could anything be more ridiculous?

/ January 5, 2021

Meet the Psychologists

In this book, you will meet 16 of the most prominent people in psychology in conversational interviews that reveal their thoughts about the current state of psychology and its future. Enlightening and entertaining.

/ December 29, 2020

Salonpas

Salonpas is an over-the-counter topical NSAID used to treat pain. It's probably safe and might be worth trying for minor pain, but the effect is small and the advertising is more hype than substance.

/ December 22, 2020

Melatonin

Melatonin supplements are increasingly popular, but the evidence is weak and mixed.

/ December 15, 2020

Progeria

The first drug to treat Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria, a rare and uniformly fatal rapid aging disease, has been approved by the FDA. It can prolong the life of these children by 2.5 years, but it is very expensive.

/ December 8, 2020

Blue Light

Blue light blocking glasses and other products that block blue light promise to improve eye health along with many other questionable claims. The evidence is lacking.

/ December 1, 2020

Appendicitis: Surgical vs. Medical Treatment

Surgery or antibiotics for appendicitis? This new study can help with the decision.

/ November 24, 2020

When Doctors Refuse to Believe Evidence

Paul Offit's new book covers the evidence for many surgeries, medications, and screening tests that have been proven ineffective and harmful yet are still being used by doctors who refuse to follow the science.

/ November 17, 2020