Category: Basic Science

Parkinson’s Disease: A Detective Story

I didn’t intend to review Jon Palfreman’s book Brain Storms: The Race to Unlock the Mysteries of Parkinson’s Disease, but after reading it I decided it was too good not to share. Palfreman is an award-winning science journalist who has Parkinson’s himself. He has done a bang-up job of describing Parkinson’s disease, its impact on patients, and how science is working to...

/ September 20, 2016
C. elegans

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease Speculcation

My wife and I are entering an age where our aches and pains are becoming a major ongoing topic of conversations. The pain of raising kids has transitioned into the pains of growing older. These aches and pains are, in the scheme of things, minor and intermittent. At work I get to see real suffering and it keeps my own in perspective....

/ September 16, 2016
The moon

The Cancer Moonshot: Hype versus reality

The Cancer Moonshot has been promoted as a strategy to break the logjam that seems to be holding up new, much more effective treatments for cancer. The key word is "seems," because in reality the Cancer Moonshot is more hype than promise.

/ September 12, 2016
3-BP: A "safe" and "nontoxic" cancer cure targeting the Warburg effect that quite possibly killed three cancer patients in Germany.

3-Bromopyruvate: The latest cancer cure “they” don’t want you to know about

Why is it that whenever naturopaths and other quacks embrace a new "cancer cure," somehow "they" (whoever "they" are) don't want you to know about it? In this case, it's 3-BP, an actual experimental drug that shows some promise but is by no means ready for prime time (or FDA approval) yet.

/ August 15, 2016
Mass spectrometer

Deconstructing the Conspiracy of Deliberate Poisoning of US Municipal Water

Heavy metals here, there, everywhere… One of the key narratives among the supporters and practitioners of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), particularly those with a conspiratorial world-view, is the claim that vast portions of the US general populous is being deliberately poisoned by certain corporations, special-interest groups, invested individuals, and the US government. Some of these supporters and practitioners go as far...

/ July 31, 2016

Acupuncture and Endorphins: Not all that Impressive

I was reading, and deconstructing, a particularly awful bit of advice for acupuncture by Consumer Reports. It was the same old same old, but it was the source that made it particularly awful. I expect more from Consumer Reports than the uncritical regurgitation of the standard mythical acupuncture narrative. The report included the quote One possible reason for the benefits of acupuncture:...

/ July 22, 2016

The Gene: An Intimate History

Six years ago I reviewed Siddhartha Mukherjee’s book The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. It was hands-down one of the best books I have ever read on a medical topic. Now he’s done it again. His new book is titled The Gene: An Intimate History. Mukherjee is a superb writer. Much of what I said about his first book...

/ July 19, 2016
Is this a PVS structure or something else?

The Primo Vascular System: The N-rays of Acupuncture?

Acupuncture meridians and acupoints are imaginary until proven otherwise. Anatomists have never been able to detect them by microscopy or autopsy, and they are not mentioned in anatomy textbooks. For decades, acupuncturists have been trying to prove that their pre-scientific belief system is grounded in scientific reality. Now they are telling us that acupuncture meridians and acupoints have been discovered in the...

/ June 7, 2016
Cancer cell immunofluorescence

Is there a reproducibility “crisis” in biomedical science? No, but there is a reproducibility problem

Reproducibility is the key to scientific advancement. It has been claimed that we suffer from a "reproducibility crisis," but in reality it is a chronic problem in reproducibility. Here we will look at the scope of the problem and strategies to address it.

/ June 6, 2016
Integrative medicine

“Integrative” medicine versus “alternative” medicine

I’ve written a lot about the language issue with respect to alternative medicine. As I like to put it (at least in shortened form), first there was quackery. Quacks did not like that name at all, and thus was born alternative medicine. And the quacks did think it good—for a while. There was a problem, however. “Alternative” medicine implied (correctly, of course)...

/ May 15, 2016