Category: Clinical Trials

A Scientist in Wonderland

Edzard Ernst is one of those rare people who dare to question their own beliefs, look at the evidence without bias, and change their minds. He went from practicing alternative medicine to questioning it, to researching it, to becoming its...

/ February 3, 2015

Screening for disease in people without symptoms: The reality

One of the most contentious questions that come up in science-based medicine that we discuss on this blog is the issue of screening asymptomatic individuals for disease. The most common conditions screened for that we, at least, have discussed on...

/ February 2, 2015

Is the Ebola Crisis a Reason to Skip RCTs?

  In a recent “Perspective” article in The New England Journal of Medicine, three physicians (Drs. Cox, Borio, and Temple) make a strong case for not letting the rush to save Ebola patients tempt us to deviate from good science...

/ January 6, 2015

Acupuncture for Withdrawal Symptoms in Critically Ill Infants

The practice of medicine, particularly our pharmaceutical and surgical interventions, involves a constant struggle between risk and benefit. If the physiology or anatomy of the human body is altered, even with the best of intentions, there is always a potential...

/ January 2, 2015

Stem cells versus Gordie Howe’s stroke, part 2

Another Christmas has come and gone, surprisingly fast, as always. I had thought that it might make a good “last of 2014” post—well, last of 2014 for me, anyway; Harriet and Steve, at least, will be posting before 2014 ends—to...

/ December 29, 2014

Stem cells versus Gordie Howe’s stroke

Note: There is now a major update to this story published here, which explains a lot of the questions remaining in this blog post. Seven years ago I returned to Michigan, where I was born and spent the first quarter...

/ December 22, 2014

Study of “Acupressure” for Constipation

A recent study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine evaluated a treatment for constipation. It tested whether training patients to massage the perineum (the area between the vagina or scrotum and the anus) would improve their reported bowel function...

/ December 16, 2014

Selling “integrative oncology” as a monograph in JNCI

Sometimes, it’s hard not to get the feeling that my fellow bloggers at Science-Based Medicine and I are trying to hold back the tide in terms the infiltration of pseudoscience and quackery into conventional medicine, a term I like to...

/ December 1, 2014
langer cbs this

Eminent Harvard psychologist, mother of positive psychology, New Age quack?

Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas. – Marie Curie’s advice to journalists Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer was on CBS This Morning News explaining plans for a psychosocial intervention study with women with Stage IV metastatic breast...

/ November 16, 2014

Retconning the story of traditional Chinese medicine

Retcon (shortened form of RETroactive CONtinuity; first made popular in the comic book world): (original meaning) Adding information to the back story of a fictional character or world, without invalidating that which had gone before. (more common usage) Adding or...

/ November 10, 2014