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.

Siddhartha Mukherjee - PopTech 2010 - Camden, Maine _ Flickr

How Do Doctors Learn to Diagnose, and Can Machines Learn to Do It Too?

Siddhartha Mukherjee weighs in on how doctors arrive at a diagnosis and how computers can assist but not replace them.

/ April 11, 2017
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Treating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Graded Exercise Therapy: How the PACE Trial Got It Wrong

The PACE trial found that cognitive behavioral therapy and graded exercise therapy were effective treatments for chronic fatigue syndrome and could produce recovery in 22% of patients. It seems they got it wrong.

/ April 4, 2017
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Stem Cells for Macular Degeneration: Meticulous Science vs. Unethical Carelessness

Rigorous scientists stabilized a patient’s macular degeneration with a cutting-edge stem cell treatment; less rigorous scientists misapplied stem cell science and left three women blind.

/ March 28, 2017
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
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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
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Magnets Provide Amusement, But Not Health Benefits

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

/ March 7, 2017
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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
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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
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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
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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