Category: Basic Science

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
A 3-D image of the ascorbic acid (vitamin C) molecule.

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

Vitamin C is back in the news as a cancer cure. Is it? No, no it is not.

/ 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

Reverse Ageing Hype

There are a number of annoying clichés of science reporting, prime among them being the need to make a connection from any research to a specific application. It must be deeply embedded in the journalism culture, or written in a handbook somewhere. In medicine this means that any study that involves viruses or the immune system’s ability to fight off infection might...

/ January 1, 2014

5 out of 4 Americans Do Not Understand Statistics

Ed: Doctors say he’s got a 50/50 chance at living. Frank: Well there’s only a 10% chance of that Naked Gun There are several motivations for choosing a topic about which to write. One is to educate others about a topic about which I am expert. Another motivation is amusement; some posts I write solely for the glee I experience in deconstructing...

/ December 13, 2013

Chemotherapy doesn’t work? Not so fast… (A lesson from history)

If there’s one medical treatment that proponents of “alternative medicine” love to hate, it’s chemotherapy. Rants against “poisoning” are a regular staple on “alternative health” websites, usually coupled with insinuations or outright accusations that the only reason oncologists administer chemotherapy is because of the “cancer industrial complex” in which big pharma profits massively from selling chemotherapeutic agents and oncologists and hospitals profit...

/ October 28, 2013
Yes, it's true that placebos are just as powerful as homeopathy. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean what believers in integrative medicine think it does.

A Different Perspective: Placebo, SCAM, and Advertising

Summertime, time, time Child, the living’s easy. Fish are jumping out And the handicap, Lord Handicaps high, Lord so high ~ Janis Joplin It is summer. Time for the kids and the outside, not the computer. What follows is a summertime blog entry, for which I admit to feeling guilty for the comparatively little time I have spent on it, but as...

/ August 9, 2013

Human Sex Determination: Psychic Sperm and the Gambler’s Fallacy…..

Carl Sagan supposedly once said that randomness is clumpy. Those three words have become one of my favorite go-to quotes, particularly when teaching residents and medical students who are often overly impressed with improbable runs of similar diagnoses or exam findings. I love this quote because it is so simple and yet reveals so much about our experience with observing the natural...

/ July 19, 2013

Infant and Toddler Swimming Programs: Are They Safe and Effective?

It’s now officially summertime, but people have been hitting the pools and beaches for weeks in many parts of the nation. In fact it has been well into the 90’s for over two month here in Baton Rouge, which is what I blame for the early exit of LSU from the College World Series. Our boys just weren’t used to that cold and dry northern weather....

/ July 5, 2013
GMO

More bad science in the service of anti-GMO activism

I never used to write much about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) before. I still don’t do it that often. For whatever reason, it just hasn’t been on my radar very much. That seems to be changing, however. It’s not because I went seeking this issue out (although I must admit that I first became interested in genetic engineering when I was in...

/ June 17, 2013