Category: Clinical Trials

Cancer prevention: The forgotten stepchild of cancer research?

The New York Times has been periodically running a series about the “40 years’ war” on cancer, with most articles by Gina Kolata. I’ve touched on this series before, liking some parts of it, while others not so much. In particular, I criticized an article one article that I thought to be so misguided about how the NIH grant system leads researchers...

/ November 16, 2009

Conflicts of interest in science-based medicine

The topic of conflicts of interest among medical researchers has recently bubbled up to the public consciousness more than usual. The catalyst for this most recent round of criticism by the press and navel-gazing by researchers is the investigation of Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) of nine psychiatric researchers, one of which held $6 million in stock in a company formed to bring...

/ November 16, 2009

A Case Study In Aggressive Quackery Marketing

With some degree of sadness I recently “outed” a former co-resident of mine who has turned to the dark side and begun putting money-making before truth and science. Without any clear evidence of benefit beyond placebo, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is now being marketed aggressively as a cure-all for sports injuries. And at about $300 per injection (the NYT reports $2000/treatment), there’s plenty...

/ October 22, 2009

“Gonzalez Regimen” for Cancer of the Pancreas: Even Worse than We Thought (Part II: Loose Ends)

Last week I discussed the dismal results of the “Gonzalez Trial” for cancer of the pancreas,* as reported in an article recently posted on the website of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. I promised that this week I’d discuss “troubling information, both stated and unstated [in the report],” and also some ethical issues. More has come to light in the past few...

/ September 20, 2009

Tom Harkin, NCCAM, health care reform, and a cancer treatment that is worse than useless

PRELUDE: SOME BAD NEWS FOR ADVOCATES OF SCIENCE-BASED MEDICINE It was a bad week for science-based medicine. It was a good week (sort of) for science-based medcine. First the bad. There has been a development that anyone who supports science in medicine and opposes quackery will likely find disturbing. Do you remember Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA)? We’ve written about him extensively over...

/ September 14, 2009

“Gonzalez Regimen” for Cancer of the Pancreas: Even Worse than We Thought (Part I: Results)

Review One of the more bizarre and unpleasant “CAM” claims, but one taken very seriously at the NIH, at Columbia University, and on Capitol Hill, is the cancer “detoxification” regimen advocated by Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez: Patients receive pancreatic enzymes orally every 4 hours and at meals daily on days 1-16, followed by 5 days of rest. Patients receive magnesium citrate and Papaya...

/ September 11, 2009

“There must be a reason,” or how we support our own false beliefs

For a change of pace, I want to step back from medicine for this post, although, as you will see (I hope), the study I’m going to discuss has a great deal of relevance to the topics covered regularly on this blog. One of the most frustrating aspects of being a skeptic and championing science-based medicine is just how unyielding belief in...

/ August 31, 2009

The perils and pitfalls of doing a “vaccinated versus unvaccinated” study

The anti-vaccine movement is nothing if not plastic. It “evolves” very rapidly in response to selective pressures applied to it in the form of science refuting its key beliefs. For instance, when multiple studies looking at the MMR vaccine and autism failed to confirm the myth that the MMR causes autism or “autistic enterocolitis,” most recently late last year, it was not...

/ August 24, 2009

Needles in the skin cause changes in the brain, but acupuncture still doesn’t work

I don’t recall if I’ve mentioned it on SBM before, but I went to the University of Michigan. In fact, I didn’t go there just for undergraduate studies or medical school, but rather for both, graduating with a B.S. in Chemistry with Honors in 1984 and from medical school in 1988. In my eight years in Ann Arbor, I came to love...

/ August 17, 2009
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