Category: Epidemiology

Chemotherapy Patient

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
Yale University

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. promotes an awful epidemiology study linking vaccines and neurological conditions from…Yale?

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has never seen a lousy study linking vaccines to bad things that he didn't like. This is no exception. Oddly enough, this study was funded and carried out by a lawyer and an investment banker, with the help of an eminent Yale pediatrician. Of course, the study doesn't show what RFK Jr. thinks it shows.

/ February 12, 2017
rubens_old_man_elderly-aged

Is Ageing a Disease That Can Be Cured?

There is an ongoing debate that has come to the fore recently about the ultimate limits of human longevity. The ultimate goal of medicine is to optimize health, with the result of maximizing the duration and quality of life. This is accomplished through health promotion, disease prevention, and disease treatment. There is no question that this approach has increased life expectancy, which...

/ October 19, 2016

Infectious Diseases and Cancer

With apologies to my colleagues, but infectious diseases really is the most interesting specialty in medicine. There are innumerable interesting associations and interactions of infectious diseases in medicine, history, art, science, and, well, life, the universe and everything. ID is so 42. A recent email led me to wander the numerous interactions between infections and cancer. There are the cancers that are...

/ September 30, 2016
Exercise

Diet and exercise versus cancer: A science-based view

Yes, diet and exercise can be useful to prevent some cancers. Unfortunately, they don't prevent all cancers, and the effect size is more modest than often represented. That's not to say that eating right and exercise aren't good. They are, for so many other reasons than cancer. Just don't view them as a panacea for preventing cancer.

/ September 19, 2016

Does acetaminophen during pregnancy raise the risk of behaviour problems?

In my career as a pharmacist I’ve answered a lot of questions about medication use in pregnancy. Pharmacists are among the most accessible health professionals, and we’re usually found near a wall of medicines and supplements.  Many don’t trust Dr. Google, and for good reason: There are conflicting answers online. When it comes to medication use in pregnancy and effects on the...

/ August 18, 2016

Confusing overdiagnosis for an “epidemic” of thyroid cancer in Japan after Fukushima

One of my favorite topics to blog about for SBM is the topic of overdiagnosis and overtreatment. These are two interrelated phenomena that most people are blissfully unaware of. Unfortunately, I’d also say that the majority of physicians are only marginally more aware than the public about these confounders of screening programs, if even that. Overdiagnosis has long been appreciated to be...

/ March 14, 2016

Are the recommended childhood vaccine schedules evidence-based?

We write about vaccines a lot here at SBM, and for a very good reason. Of all the medical interventions devised by the brains of humans, arguably vaccines have saved more lives and prevented more disability than any other medical treatment. When it comes to infectious disease, vaccination is the ultimate in preventive medicine, at least for diseases for which vaccines can...

/ February 29, 2016

Air Pollution and Public Health

Public health measures are those not aimed at individuals but at society as a whole, or subgroups within society. Physicians are charged not only with promoting the health of their own patients, but as a profession we (and health care professions in general) are charged with promoting the public health. Public health measures, however, are highly likely to cross into politically charged...

/ February 24, 2016
This was the reality of how DDT was used 65 years ago.

Zika virus, microcephaly, and calls to bring back DDT (Rachel Carson revisionism edition)

In response to the Zika virus threat, predictably the same group of anti-environmentalists are urging that we bring back DDT and "Spray, baby, spray!" To make their questionable case, they overstate the benefits of DDT, downplay its risks, and engage in some major historical revisionism regarding the legacy of Rachel Carson.

/ February 15, 2016