All posts by Scott Gavura

Skepticamp: Invading the Great White North on October 23

Are you frustrated by the prevalence of pseudoscience in medicine? Are you interested in critical thinking and science? Is SBM your rational refuge?  Want to meet like-minded science advocates? On October 23, 2010 four Skepticamps will take place across Canada. If you enjoy reading this blog, you’ll probably enjoy Skepticamp. Happily, Skepticamp involves no actual camping. It’s a flexibly organized, collaborative conference...

/ October 5, 2010

Chelation: Compounding Pharmacy’s Problems

Chelation is the provision of a substance to increase the body’s excretion of heavy metals. In poisoning situations (lead, aluminum, iron, etc.), chelation is medically necessary, objectively effective, and approved for use. But the same term has a completely different meaning in the alternative medicine universe, where proponents often believe heavy metal toxicity is the “one true cause” of disease, and chelation...

/ September 30, 2010

Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing: Road Map or Tarot Cards?

A topic of growing interest (and concern) at SBM is laboratory and diagnostic test pseudoscience. Bogus tests are everywhere, and Kimball Atwood recently discussed several of them. But over the past several years, diagnostic tests have emerged that appear to be science-based and offer gene-level insights into your health. And these tests don’t even require a physician’s visit – just a swab...

/ September 2, 2010

Supplement Regulation: Be Careful What You Wish For

A recurring theme at SBM is the regulation of supplements, and the impact and consequences of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA). As one of SBM’s international contributors, I thought it might be helpful to look at how the DSHEA stacks up against the equivalent regulations of its neighbor to the north, Canada. Given the multiple calls for overhauls...

/ August 5, 2010

Sunscreen in a Pill?

I’ve previously described the consequences of acute and chronic sun exposure, and the rationale for topical sunscreen products. But wouldn’t it be easier to just take a pill that can boost our skin’s resistance to to the harmful effects of the sun? Is it possible to get all the benefits of sunscreen without the bother of creams, or even clothing?

/ July 8, 2010

The Great Sunscreen Cover Up

If there’s one thing the media love, it’s a “bungling bureaucrats” story. Yep, the FDA, wrapped up with their science dogma, enslaved to Big Pharma, pushing toxic, unnatural chemicals and ignoring safety data. And that’s the story being told about sunscreens: “Study: Many Sunscreens May Be Accelerating Cancer” “Did The FDA Ignore Proof That Sunscreens May Speed Up Cancer?” “FDA Coverup Of...

/ June 10, 2010

Speaking Skeptically About Vitamins

The scientific understanding of vitamins has evolved over time, from the identification of frank deficiencies, to exploring the value of supplements to prevent chronic diseases. Among health professionals, taking a multivitamin “for insurance” has long been considered to be a reasonable strategy. But as more robust evidence has emerged about the benefits and possible harms of vitamins, even that advice is facing...

/ June 9, 2010

What Do You Expect From Your Pharmacy?

What evidence standard should exist for health products sold in pharmacies? That’s today’s bleg, and I’m seeking your input. In most countries, pharmacy is a registered, self-regulated health profession, with a responsibility to optimize the use of drugs. Pharmacist education consists of several years of university-level education and practical training in real-world health care settings. Pharmacists with advanced degrees and post-graduate residencies...

/ June 3, 2010

Upcoming Talk: Why Do We Make Bad Health Care Decisions?

For SBM readers in the Toronto area, I’ll be speaking on Friday, May 28, at the Centre for Inquiry on how science advocates can help support better health decisions: Despite the dramatic improvements in the extent and quality of our lives, largely owing to modern medicine, our current health care system has fostered a backlash, manifested in part by the emergence of...

/ May 21, 2010

Rx, OTC, BTC – Wading into Pharmacy’s Alphabet Soup

Imagine you’re an FDA reviewer looking at a new drug application. Drug A relieves a symptom, but doesn’t cure any disease. It doesn’t conflict with other medications. It’s considered safe in pregnant and breastfeeding women. At normal doses, there are virtually no side effects. There’s one unfortunate problem: If you take ten times the dose, liver damage is very likely and may...

/ May 13, 2010