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.

The Sweetener Wars – HFCS Strikes Back

The health conscious and trendy public are a bit obsessed with the food they consume. This can be a good thing, to the extent that it results in a more healthful diet, but unfortunately those interested in improving their diet must wade through a great deal of misinformation before getting to accurate and helpful information. For example, I recently gave a lecture...

/ September 19, 2012
Acupuncture-korean

An Acupuncture Meta-Analysis

A recent meta-analysis of acupuncture studies for chronic pain by Vickers et al is getting a great deal of press. The authors’ conclusions are: Acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic pain and is therefore a reasonable referral option. Significant differences between true and sham acupuncture indicate that acupuncture is more than a placebo. However, these differences are relatively modest, suggesting...

/ September 12, 2012

No Health Benefits from Organic Food

A recent review of 240 studies has concluded that:  The published literature lacks strong evidence that organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventional foods. Consumption of organic foods may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Organic produce has become increasingly popular in recent years. There are several reasons that consumers might prefer organic produce, including the belief that organic...

/ September 5, 2012

The Power of Replication – Bems Psi Research

I love reading quotes by the likes of Karl Popper in the scientific literature. A recent replication of Bem’s infamous psi research, Feeling the Future, gives us this quote: Popper (1959/2002) defined a scientifically true effect as that “which can be regularly reproduced by anyone who carries out the appropriate experiment in the way prescribed.” The paper is the latest replication of Daryl Bem’s...

/ August 29, 2012

Homeopathy’s Recent Woes

Be careful what you wish for. In the last few decades purveyors of dubious medical treatments and products have been trying to go mainstream, and they have had some unfortunate success. They asked for serious scientific investigation into their claims – and they got it. They asked to be treated like real medicine (but not really, they only want the trappings of...

/ August 22, 2012

Eggs and Atherosclerosis

The headline of a recent Los Angeles Times article is, “No yolk: eating the whole egg as dangerous as smoking?” The question mark is meant to convey uncertainty or surprise, or perhaps both. The article represents much of what is wrong with science and health reporting by mainstream media. The news report is based upon an article published in Atherosclerosis – Egg...

/ August 15, 2012
Berries

Are Berries the New Snake Oil?

Are berries a superfood? No, they're just good for you, like all fruit.

/ August 8, 2012
Harvard University crest

Antifluoridation Bad Science

A new review of research out of Harvard University suggests fluoridating drinking water above the EPA limit is a bad idea - which we already knew.

/ August 1, 2012

Olympic Pseudoscience

The Summer Olympics are coming up, which means that, in addition to world-class athletic performance, the public will be exposed to a variety of sports-related pseudoscience. This is not unique to the Olympics, of course. The world of sports competition is rife with pseudoscience, false claims, dubious products, superstitions, and magical charms. The most egregious example of this recently has been the...

/ July 25, 2012

Holding the Polio Vaccine Hostage

Since the development of the vaccine, perhaps the most effective public health measure we have yet devised, only one human disease has been completely eradicated from the world – smallpox. The last case was reported in Somalia in 1977. Eradication was the result of a deliberate and intense campaign, requiring almost complete vaccination of the population, especially in certain population dense areas....

/ July 18, 2012