All posts by Harriet Hall

An Alternative to Appendectomy: Antibiotics

My title doesn’t refer to alternative medicine, it refers to an alternative within medicine: treating appendicitis with antibiotics instead of surgery. You may be surprised to learn that patients with appendicitis don’t always automatically need an appendectomy. A recent randomized...

/ August 18, 2015

Monkeys, Myths, and Molecules: A Chemist Separates Fact from Fiction

“Dr. Joe” (from the title of his radio show) has done it again. He keeps putting out books faster than I can take them in; this one is titled Monkeys, Myths, and Molecules. It is packed with pithy analyses of...

/ August 11, 2015

Is Homeopathy Unethical?

“A gentle ethical defence of homeopathy” by Levy et al. was recently published in an ethics journal. A full-text preprint is available online. They say: Utilitarian critiques of homeopathy that are founded on unsophisticated notions of evidence, that adopt narrow...

/ August 4, 2015

ASEA, ORMUS, and Alchemy

I got an e-mail from a woman who had read my article on ASEA, a multilevel marketing diet supplement that I characterized as an expensive way to buy water.  She had not tried ASEA products but was applying for a...

/ July 28, 2015

“Hands On Learning Solutions”: Untested Solutions for Problems That May Not Even Exist

Hands On Learning Solutions, a business in Gig Harbor, Washington, evaluates and treats children for learning disabilities and claims to identify the underlying causes and help eliminate the symptoms. Much of what they do is questionable, and at least one...

/ July 21, 2015

How To Listen to Chi

You will need flat shoes and a bottle of vitamins, herbal formula, or prescription medicine. Step 1: Hold the bottle with both hands, touching your chest Step 2: Stand up straight and get your balance Step 3: Close your eyes...

/ July 14, 2015

Cryotherapy: A Layman’s Attempt to Understand the Science

NOTE: I get a lot of emails asking me whether treatment X is evidence-based or a scam. This one was different. Zachary Hoffman had done his homework and had already answered the question for himself (at least, as well as...

/ July 11, 2015

Update on Cholesterol and Statins

  The consensus of mainstream medicine is that a high blood level of LDL cholesterol is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and that lowering high levels can help with prevention and treatment. Statins have been proven effective for...

/ July 7, 2015

Answering Cancer Quackery: The Sophisticated Approach to True Believers

I got an e-mail with a link to a video featuring “Dr.” Leonard Coldwell, a naturopath who has been characterized on RationalWiki as a scammer and all-round mountebank. Here are just a few examples of his claims in that video:...

/ June 30, 2015

Functional Disc Rehydration for Chronic Back Pain

A chiropractor in Illinois named Jeff Winternheimer claims to have discovered an effective way to heal herniated discs by rehydrating them. He calls it Functional Disc Rehydration and he offers it through a network of four offices in the Chicago...

/ June 23, 2015