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.

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 The article is largely based on a recent JAMA Internal Medicine article that reviews historical documents revealing how the Sugar Research Foundation (SRF) (based largely on revealed internal documents) put their thumb on the scale of diet research starting in 1965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
SB277 protest

No Compromise on Vaccine Refusal

A new position paper released by the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests taking a hard stance against nonmedical exemptions to immunization. I agree, and the evidence suggests such a stance would increase vaccination rates and reduce the outbreaks of diseases.

/ August 31, 2016

Patient Groups and Pseudoscience

The biggest challenge we face promoting high standards of science in medicine is not making our case to the community. Our case is rock solid, in my opinion, and backed by evidence and logic. There is no question, for example, that homeopathy is 100% bogus and should not be part of modern medicine. Our challenge is that there are literally billions of...

/ August 24, 2016

Deconstructing Homeopathy Propaganda

The definition of “propaganda,” like so many things, is a bit fuzzy. The dictionary definition is: “information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.” There is no sharp demarcation line, however. Speech occurs on a spectrum from obsessively objective, fair, balanced, and scholarly at one end, to deliberately deceptive...

/ August 17, 2016

Cupping – Olympic Pseudoscience

Four years ago, while watching the 2012 Olympic Games, I noticed a lot of athletes wearing colored strips in various patterns on their body. I discovered that these strips were called kinesiotape, and they were used to enhance performance, reduce injury, and help muscles recover more quickly. I also discovered that these claims for kinesiotape were complete nonsense. This year at the...

/ August 10, 2016
parabiosis_nature

Parabiosis – The Next Snakeoil

The pattern has repeated so many times that it is truly predictable. Scientists turn their eyes to one type of treatment that has theoretical potential. However, proper research from theory to proven treatment can take 10-20 years, if all goes well. Most such treatments will not work out – they will fail somewhere along the way from the petri dish to the...

/ August 3, 2016

The Public’s Love-Hate Relationship with Technology

There are many complex factors driving up the cost of healthcare, but one major factor is increasing medical technology. Often new expensive technologies provide incremental, or even questionable, additional benefits but can dramatically increase the cost of health care. This is especially true of in-hospital treatments. There are also, of course, medical technologies that provide significant benefits, and others that improve our...

/ July 27, 2016