Category: Clinical Trials

Alternative medicine kills cancer patients

By definition, alternative medicine has not been shown to be effective or has been shown to be ineffective. Thus, alternative medicine is ineffective against cancer and can best be represented as either no treatment at all or potentially harmful treatment. It is thus not surprising that cancer patients who choose alternative medicine have a higher risk of dying from their cancer. A...

/ August 14, 2017

AllerVarx: A Questionable Remedy for Allergic Rhinitis

AllerVarx, a new dietary supplement, claims to relieve nasal allergy symptoms, but the only "evidence" is a single disreputable clinical trial with no control group. There is no reason to try this unproven remedy when there are so many effective remedies offered by mainstream medicine.

/ July 25, 2017

Does chemotherapy cause cancer to spread?

Earlier this month, a study was published in Science Translational Medicine that showed how chemotherapy before surgery can stimulate breast cancer invasiveness and invasion under certain circumstances. Not surprisingly, alternative cancer cure mavens everywhere are spinning the study as "proof" that chemotherapy has no benefit and causes only harm (and so you should buy their nostrums instead). Unsurprisingly, the actual results are...

/ July 17, 2017

Emergency acupuncture!

For whatever reason, acupuncturists and acupuncture believers think that acupuncture can be useful in emergency situations, be they in the field ("battlefield acupuncture," anyone?) or in the ER. They even do studies purporting to show that. This is yet another of such a clinical trial, albeit larger than usual. Guess what? It doesn't really show what it's advertised to show. I explain...

/ July 3, 2017

Can mind-body practices “reprogram” our DNA?

A recent systematic review has been touted as demonstrating that "mind-body" practices like yoga can reprogram our DNA. There are several reasons to doubt these claims, not the least of which is the history of bias in past studies on this topic.

/ June 26, 2017

Medical marijuana as the new herbalism, part 5: Turning herbalism into science-based medicine

There’s a new clinical trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine showing a beneficial effect due to cannabidiol, a chemical isolated from marijuana, on drug-resistant seizures due to Dravet syndrome. Although there are a fair number of caveats, this is how you begin to turn the herbalism that characterizes medical marijuana advocacy into science-based medicine.

/ May 29, 2017

Quackery infiltrates The BMJ

As quackery in the form of "integrative medicine" has increasingly been "integrated" into medicine, medical journals are starting to notice and succumb to the temptation to decrease their skepticism. The BMJ, unfortunately, is the latest to do so. It won't be the last.

/ May 22, 2017

Two (now retracted) studies purporting to show that vaccinated children are sicker than unvaccinated children show nothing of the sort

Antivaccine websites have been touting two recently published studies as strong evidence that vaccinated children are less healthy than unvaccinated children. The studies are so flawed that they show nothing of the sort. Even more hilariously, the bottom-feeding predatory open access journal that published them appears to have retracted them.

/ May 11, 2017
Acupuncture

Cries the acupuncturist, “Medicine is biased against us, and there’s a double standard!”

A recent article in Popular Science argues that medicine has a bias against acupuncture, holding it to a higher standard of evidence than conventional medical interventions. Even if there is a double standard, the answer is not to recommend acupuncture, but rather to stop recommending medical procedures that don't work.

/ May 8, 2017

Corrigendum. The Week in Review for 05/07/2017.

Death from alternative medicine impersonators. An acupuncture study done so acupuncturists can get insurance money? A chiropractor has to refund the feds one million dollars. And more.

/ May 7, 2017