Category: Commentary

Tools required to examine the growing high quality chiropractic literature on efficacy.

Spinal Manipulation for Back and Neck Pain: Does It Work? Annotated.

Spinal Manipulation for Back and Neck Pain: Does It Work? You would think it does if you read the article but not if you actually read the literature.

/ February 17, 2017
Will this help me live longer?

Positive Psychology and Health

[Editor’s Note: Dr. Gorski is on a brief vacation this week; in his place we offer new guest contributor Michael Booth’s inaugural post. Enjoy!] The belief that positivity can prolong life or improve health seems ubiquitous. It is a claim that is repeated often in popular media, and fills countless pages of self-help books on happiness, thriving, optimism, and so on. But...

/ November 7, 2016

The Public’s Love-Hate Relationship with Technology

There are many complex factors driving up the cost of healthcare, but one major factor is increasing medical technology. Often new expensive technologies provide incremental, or even questionable, additional benefits but can dramatically increase the cost of health care. This is especially true of in-hospital treatments. There are also, of course, medical technologies that provide significant benefits, and others that improve our...

/ July 27, 2016

Thinking With Your Emotions About Medicine

The mental pathway of least resistance, what psychologists often refer to as the “default mode” of human thought, is to go with our “gut feelings.” We evolved emotions, heuristics, and cognitive biases partly so that we could make quick judgments that are good enough and err on the side of survival. This can be adaptive – if we smell something rotten we...

/ July 13, 2016
technic_and_practice_of_chiropractic_1915_14760077486

The New Chiropractic. And I thought SBM had an uphill battle.

Over at the Society for Science-Based Medicine we have Sisyphus as the logo on the website. Sisyphus, as you may know, is the Greek who had to push a boulder up a hill every day, the archetypal metaphor for futile labor. It was meant to be a bit tongue in cheek, but only a bit. As quackademia proudly expands I sometime feel...

/ July 8, 2016

About Herbs: an app to avoid

Medicine has an intellectual hierarchy. Supposedly the best and the brightest are in the academic medical centers and are the thought leaders in their field. Those of us lower in the hierarchy are well aware of some of the warts present on our betters, but I would expect those at the top would adhere to the highest intellectual and ethical standards. People...

/ June 24, 2016

The Harm of Integrative Medicine: A Patient’s Perspective

Being an avid reader of SBM and a cancer patient, I have come to deeply appreciate the writing and respect the various contributors for their expertise and attention to detail on a topic as important as cancer treatment. I have unfortunately found SBM lacking when it comes to a patient’ or lay-person’s’ perspective. This is understandable, as the average person is typically...

/ June 12, 2016

A Harris Poll on “Alternative Medicine”

Mark Twain popularized the phrase, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and polls and surveys.” (He may have said “statistics” at the end, but I think this version works as well.) A new Harris Poll on “alternative medicine” nicely demonstrates some of the problems with polls. The biggest problem is how you frame the questions. You can dramatically affect...

/ May 11, 2016

Is the Annual Physical Unnecessary?

I was approached by The Wall Street Journal to write an article for their Big Issues in Health Care debate series. The subject was “Is the annual physical unnecessary?” I was to take the “yes” side and an internist was to take the “no” side. I wrote the following article. The editor wrote me a couple of times with questions. The internist...

/ April 26, 2016

The Brown M&M’s of Science-Based Medicine

Medicine is constantly changing, and like most health professionals, I am required to maintain my competency to practice. I doubt pharmacists are unique in being inundated with offers of continuing medical/pharmacy education. Some courses are free, some cost hundreds of dollars, and it can be difficult to distinguish the high-quality programs from the biased or low-quality education that furthers a agenda, rather...

/ April 21, 2016