Category: Basic Science

Why People Continue to use SCAMs

I remain curious as to why people use, and continue to use, useless pseudo-medicines. I read the literature, but I find the papers unsatisfactory. They seem incomplete, and I suspect there are as many reasons people choose a pseudo-medicine as those use them. There are numerous surveys on what SCAMs people use. Designing and offering these surveys to every possible medical condition...

/ July 25, 2014
Head in Hands

Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine research conference disappoints even NCCAM

In May, the International Research Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health (IRCIMH) conference was held in Miami. In the words of its website, the conference was “convened by” the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine (CAHCIM), “in association with” the International Society for Complementary Medicine Research. As CAHCIM chirped in this tweet: “Three days, 22 countries, 100 academic medical institutions,...

/ July 10, 2014

Ketogenic diet does not “beat chemo for almost all cancers”

One of the difficult things about science-based medicine is determining what is and isn’t quackery. While it is quite obvious that modalities such as homeopathy, acupuncture, reflexology, craniosacral therapy, Hulda Clark’s “zapper,” the Gerson therapy and Gonzalez protocol for cancer, and reiki (not to mention every other “energy healing” therapy) are the rankest quackery, there are lots of treatments that are harder...

/ June 23, 2014

Precision Medicine: The Coolest Part of Medicine

One size rarely fits all. Most medical knowledge is derived from studying groups of subjects, subjects who may be different in some way from the individual who walks into the doctor’s office. Basing medicine only on randomized controlled studies can lead to over-simplified “cookbook” medicine. A good clinician interprets study results and puts them into context, considering the whole patient and using...

/ May 20, 2014

More Dialogs

There is no alternative medicine. There is only scientifically proven, evidence-based medicine supported by solid data or unproven medicine, for which scientific evidence is lacking. JAMA Just just because there are flaws in aircraft design that doesn’t mean flying carpets exist. Ben Goldacre Wiser heads than I have commented on “Invitation to a Dialogue: Alternative Therapies” in The New York Times. So...

/ May 16, 2014

Cochrane Reviews: The Food Babe of Medicine?

There are two topics about which I know a fair amount. The first is Infectious Disease. I am expert in ID, Board Certified and certified bored, by the ABIM. The other, although to a lesser extent, is SCAMs. When I read the literature on these topics, I do so with extensive knowledge and, in the case of ID, 30 years of clinical...

/ May 2, 2014

Gluten-free skin and beauty products: Extracting cash from the gullible

Even though yesterday was Easter, and, as unreligious as I am, I was still thinking of taking it easy, there was one target that popped up that I just couldn’t resist. My wife and I were sitting around yesterday reading the Sunday papers and perusing the Internet (as is frequently our wont on Sunday mornings), when I heard a contemptuous harrumph coming...

/ April 21, 2014
Laetrile

Eric Merola and Ralph Moss try to exhume the rotting corpse of Laetrile in a new movie

Note: Some of you have probably seen a different version of this post fairly recently. I have a grant deadline this week and just didn’t have time to come up with fresh material up to the standards of SBM. This left me with two choices: Post a “rerun” of an old post, or recycle something. I decided to recycle something for reasons...

/ February 24, 2014

The return of the revenge of high dose vitamin C for cancer

Somehow, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore—except that we are, as you will soon see. Because I’m the resident cancer specialist on this blog, it usually falls on me to discuss the various bits of science, pseudoscience, and quackery that come up around the vast collection of diseases known collectively as “cancer.” I don’t mind, any more than my esteemed...

/ February 10, 2014

Animal rights activism: Petitions aren’t science

I had originally planned on writing about a different topic today, but, as is so often the case in blogging, something came up that caught my attention, much as the errant thought of a squirrel distracts Dug the Dog. It’s no big deal. My original topic is not time-sensitive, and I’ll get to it next week (that is, unless something like this...

/ February 3, 2014