All posts by Steven Novella

Founder and currently Executive Editor of Science-Based Medicine Steven Novella, MD is an academic clinical neurologist at the Yale University School of Medicine. He is also the president and co-founder of the New England Skeptical Society, the host and producer of the popular weekly science podcast, The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe, and the author of the NeuroLogicaBlog, a daily blog that covers news and issues in neuroscience, but also general science, scientific skepticism, philosophy of science, critical thinking, and the intersection of science with the media and society. Dr. Novella also contributes every Sunday to The Rogues Gallery, the official blog of the SGU.

Measles Alert

Measles More Deadly than Previously Thought

One of the common tropes of the anti-vaccine movement is that vaccine-preventable diseases are not all that bad. Perhaps the most direct manifestation of this is the self-published children’s book, Melanie’s Marvelous Measles, by Australian author and anti-vaccine activist Stephanie Messenger. Throughout the book Messenger claims that measles is nothing to be frightened of and in fact makes the body stronger. This...

/ November 2, 2016
ccsvi-before-and-after

Update on CCSVI and Multiple Sclerosis

In 2009 CCSVI was proposed by Italian vascular surgeon, Dr. Paolo Zamboni – that multiple sclerosis (MS) is caused by chronic blockage of the veins that drain the brain. Since that time we have seen the evolution of a medical pseudoscience. It has been a fascinating case study in how science sorts out what works and what doesn’t, and how patients, believers,...

/ October 26, 2016
rubens_old_man_elderly-aged

Is Ageing a Disease That Can Be Cured?

There is an ongoing debate that has come to the fore recently about the ultimate limits of human longevity. The ultimate goal of medicine is to optimize health, with the result of maximizing the duration and quality of life. This is accomplished through health promotion, disease prevention, and disease treatment. There is no question that this approach has increased life expectancy, which...

/ October 19, 2016

Researching the Magic of Homeopathy

A Canadian academic, Dr. Mark Loeb, who is a respected infectious disease researcher who knows how to conduct high quality research, wants to study homeopathic nosodes. Nosodes are essentially homeopathic vaccines. Tim Caulfield, a Canadian professor of health law and policy, thinks the study is misguided and unethical. The two are having a respectful public debate about the risks and merits of...

/ October 12, 2016

FDA Warns About Homeopathic Teething Products

The FDA recently put out a consumer warning about homeopathic teething gels and pills. The warning states: The FDA recommends that consumers stop using these products and dispose of any in their possession. The warning is not because all homeopathic products are inherently useless. As we have discussed here often, the basic principles of homeopathy are pure pseudoscience. The practice of diluting...

/ October 5, 2016
UV Blood Irradiation

Ultraviolet Blood Treatment Revisited

If there is one thing this election cycle has demonstrated it’s that, when ideology or emotions are involved, people can be entirely immune to facts. The narrative takes control, reinforced by motivated reasoning and confirmation bias. Even worse, people tend to think they are actually informed, and are confident in their opinions, even when they are grossly misinformed. Regular contributors here frequently...

/ September 28, 2016

FTC Sues Predatory Journal

Because I have a university e-mail address I frequently get spam from journals I have never heard of soliciting submissions, and even offering editorial positions. I have generally ignored them, and it’s probably a good thing. Over the last decade we have seen the rise of open-access science journals. The idea is a good one – journals charge a moderate fee to...

/ September 21, 2016

Sugar Industry Research

A recent New York Times article about how the sugar industry manipulated research starting in 1965 is getting some attention. The article is largely based on a recent JAMA Internal Medicine article that reviews historical documents revealing how the Sugar Research Foundation (SRF) (based largely on revealed internal documents) put their thumb on the scale of diet research starting in 1965 in...

/ September 14, 2016
Stamina-protest

FDA Looks At Dubious Stem Cell Clinics

Using stem cells to treat disease or improve recovery is an exciting area of research. The potential is undeniably great – these are cells that have the potential to differentiate into mature cells of a specific type. They can be used to replace damaged cells or improve the environment for cell function and recovery. Ideally stem cells can be developed from cells...

/ September 7, 2016

No Compromise on Vaccine Refusal

A few years ago some colleagues and I at the Institute for Science in Medicine were debating what our official position should be regarding non-medical vaccine exemptions. We all agreed that the ideal situation would be no non-medical exemptions. There is no legitimate reason for such exemptions and the evidence clearly shows that states who allow non-medical vaccine exemptions have lower vaccination...

/ August 31, 2016