Category: Basic Science

The drug expiry date: A necessary safety measure, or yet another Big Pharma conspiracy?

Consider this scenario: You’re in good health and take no prescription drugs. You use the following remedies occasionally: Excedrin for the rare migraine Arnica 30CH for bumps and bruises Echinacea capsules, when you feel a cold coming on Today you look in your cupboard, and notice all three products expired last year. Would you still consider taking any of them? Why or...

/ May 10, 2012

Plausibility bias? You say that as though that were a bad thing!

On Friday, you might have noticed that Mark Crislip hinted at a foreshadowing of a blog post to come. This is that blog post. He knew it was coming because when I saw the article that inspired it, I sent an e-mail to my fellow bloggers marking out my territory like a dog peeing on every tree or protecting my newfound topic...

/ May 7, 2012

G-Spot Discovered? Not So Fast!

Is this the G-Spot? The press release proclaims “Study Confirms Anatomic Existence of G-Spot.” The study itself is titled “G-Spot Anatomy: A New Discovery.”  It was just published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine.  The author, Adam Ostrzenski, is an “internationally renowned gynecologic surgeon” with multiple degrees (MD, PhD, Dr Hab) and many peer-reviewed articles listed in PubMed. The G-spot, or Gräfenberg...

/ May 1, 2012

The problem with preclinical research? Or: A former pharma exec discovers the nature of science

If there’s one thing about quacks, it’s that they are profoundly hostile to science. Actually, they have a seriously mixed up view of science in that they hate it because it doesn’t support what they believe. Yet at the same time they very much crave the imprimatur that science provides. When science tells them they are wrong, they therefore often try to...

/ April 23, 2012

Why haven’t we cured cancer yet? (Revisited): Personalized medicine versus evolution

About a year ago, I addressed what might seem to the average reader to be a very simple question: Why haven’t we cured cancer yet? As I pointed out at the time, it’s a question that I sometimes even ask myself, particularly given that cancer has touched my life. Three years ago, my mother-in-law died of a particularly nasty form of breast...

/ April 9, 2012

Drinking from the Fire Hose: Odds and Ends on the Gasping Oppression aka influenza

I spend most of my time taking care of hospitalized patients with acute infections and issues of public health are, outside of infection control, not a high priority. Vaccinations in training were always like clean water and fresh food: their benefit was a given and I never needed to consider the benefits and subtleties of  vaccination. There is just so much time...

/ April 6, 2012

The Species in the Feces: Probiotics and the Microbiome

I do not understand the interest many appear to have in their bowels and the movement there of.  But then, I pay little attention to most of my body functions as long they are functioning within  reasonable parameters, and as I get  older the definition of reasonable is increasingly flexible. The elderly especially seem to obsess about their bowels.  My theory is...

/ March 23, 2012

The Application of Science

It all seemed so easy In 2010 an article was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Preventing Surgical-Site Infections in Nasal Carriers of Staphylococcus aureus .  Patients were screened for Staphylcoccus aureus ( including MRSA, methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and those that were positive underwent a 5 day perioperative decontamination procedure with chlorhexidine baths and an antibiotic, mupirocin, in the...

/ March 9, 2012

Help a reader out: Abstracts that misrepresent the content of the paper

Earlier this week, a reader of ours wrote to Steve and me with a request: First off, I just want to say thank you for everything you gentlemen do. I find that your sites are extremely helpful when trying to figure out what level of information is BS, and what is real. In short, I was wondering if either of you two...

/ March 9, 2012

Is gluten the new Candida?

Much of the therapeutics I was taught as part of my pharmacy degree is now of historical interest only. New evidence emerges, and clinical practice change. New treatments replace old ones – sometimes because they’re demonstrably better, and sometimes because marketing trumps evidence. The same changes occurs in the over-the-counter section of the pharmacy, but it’s here marketing seems to completely dominate....

/ March 1, 2012