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.

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
Linda Hazzard (1867-1936)Quack, thief, serial killer

Natural Medicine, Starvation, and Murder: The Story of Linda Hazzard

History is replete with doctors who practiced quackery. Here is the story of one such quack whose fasting therapy resulted in many deaths, a story that is so bizarre and horrific that it's hard to believe it really happened, but it did.

/ December 13, 2016
BrainPlus IQ: If it turns your brain blue, consult a doctor.

BrainPlus IQ: Lying with Advertising

I got an email urging me to check out a wonderful new product that boosts brain performance: it “doubles IQ, skyrockets energy levels, and connects areas of the brain not previously connected.” It is BrainPlus IQ, a dietary supplement that falls into the category of nootropics, substances that enhance cognition and memory. After looking into it, my first thought was that if...

/ November 29, 2016
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The Last Word on Homeopathy

No one will ever need to write about homeopathy again. Edzard Ernst has said it all in his new book Homeopathy: The Undiluted Facts. Far too many trees have died in the service of praising or debunking homeopathy in the two centuries since Hahnemann invented it. The forests can celebrate, because this is the definitive book about homeopathy. It is neither “for”...

/ November 22, 2016
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Precision Medicine and Uncertainty

Precision medicine is a development that promises to tailor treatments to the individual patient based on genetic and other molecular and cellular analyses. In his 2015 State of the Union address, President Obama announced the Precision Medicine Initiative. A website for Precision Medicine claims to offer “perfect care for every individual.” Much of what we read about precision medicine gives the impression...

/ November 15, 2016
Heinrich Himmler, head of the Nazi gestapo. This is how chiropractor Koren sees the CDC.

Chiropractor Claims the CDC Is Trying to Get Nazi-like Unfettered Power in Violation of the Nuremburg Code

An email was recently circulated among chiropractors warning them about a proposed rulemaking by the CDC, saying that it will establish a public health gestapo. It originated from Ted Koren Seminars. A chiropractor who received the email brought it to my attention. He describes Koren as “a chiropractor who is a “leader” in the chiropractic community, lecturer, antivaxxer (he refers to the...

/ November 8, 2016
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Brief Announcement: Dr. Hall To Speak In Australia

Dr. Harriet Hall, AKA The SkepDoc, will be speaking in Melbourne later this month at the Australian Skeptics National Convention.  Hope some of our readers “down under”can attend.

/ November 7, 2016
Corydalis. Better than opium?

Corydalis: An Herbal Medicine for Pain, with Some Thoughts on Drug Development

Ever since William Withering published his classic treatise on Foxglove in 1775, science has been testing herbal medicines and trying to establish a scientific basis for the ones that work. As many as half of today’s prescription drugs were derived from plants. A new study published in Current Biology by Zhang et al. has identified a compound in a traditional herbal remedy...

/ November 1, 2016
Patients should get health information from doctors, not quacks.

Chiropractic Gynecologist Offers Dangerous Treatments and Misinformation

Over a year ago I wrote about escharotic treatments for cervical dysplasia. It is offered not by MD gynecologists but by chiropractors and naturopaths, along with inconsistent and unproven diet recommendations and supplements. A corrosive agent similar to “black salve” is applied repeatedly to the cervix; it works by destroying tissue. There are no controlled studies evaluating it for safety and effectiveness....

/ October 25, 2016

Dr. Richard Rawlins Reveals the Real Secrets of Alternative Medicine

Dr. Richard Rawlins, an orthopedic surgeon in the UK who is also a magician and member of the Magic Circle, has written an exhaustive review of alternative medicine, Real Secrets of Alternative Medicine: An Exposé. “A conversation with Mrs. Smith” A conversation with Mrs. Smith bookends the text. She comes to Dr. Rawlins for hip replacement surgery and asks if there is...

/ October 18, 2016