Two years ago we discussed the TicTocStop, a dental appliance that the inventors assured us would help mitigate the symptoms of Tourette Syndrome. In the intervening years things have...not gone well. This illustrates the need for skepticism regarding questionable medical claims, and the importance of initiatives like AllTrials to ensure the good, the bad, and the ugly research is available to everyone.
Is the use of “Open-Label” Placebo Ethical in the Treatment of Children?
Is the use of "open-label" placebo ethical in pediatric medical care, or any care for that matter? A recent article in Pediatrics discussing this issue comes to a flawed conclusion based on a misunderstanding of placebo and of the literature on placebo without deception.
Sen. Ron Johnson: Holding the bill funding the FDA hostage unless the cruel sham that is right-to-try is added to it
Advocates claim that "right-to-try" laws help terminally patients by allowing them access to experimental drugs before approval, when, in fact, such laws strip legal and regulatory protections from patients using such drugs and their purpose is actually to undermine and weaken the FDA. Now advocates led by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) are making a new push to pass right-to-try by embedding it...
The sad but unexpectedly hopeful cancer saga of Cassandra Callender
I've frequently discussed the stories of teenagers with cancer who either refuse chemotherapy or whose parents refuse chemotherapy for them. The case of Cassandra Callender is the same, yet different, from many of these unfortunate and sad sagas in that she was older when diagnosed with cancer and that she realized her mistake. I can now only hope that it's not too...
The Ethics of Involuntary Pediatric Drug Testing
Although it may seem like a good idea, testing for recreational drug use on an adolescent patient without consent is ethically questionable, challenging to interpret, and unlikely to benefit patient or family.
Naturopathic Experiences: Remembrance of things past.
Interacting with patients who also get care from naturopaths: uncomfortable dilemmas.
Myths integrative medicine sells us: “We never advocate alternative medicine without conventional medicine”
"Integrative medicine" (IM) effectively integrates quackery with real medicine. The main talking point by advocates of IM meant to deflect this criticism is that IM practitioners always use alternative medicine with conventional medicine and never advocate the use of alternative medicine alone. A new book by a prominent advocate of IM suggests that this talking point is at best self-delusion among academics...
Can the mind really heal the body? The false narrative of placebo “healing” revisited
Placebo effects are inextricably bound to the question of whether the alternative medicine modalities that are being “integrated” into medicine actually have any useful therapeutic effects or not; i.e., whether they are merely placebos. Here, I examine an article in National Geographic that peddles the false narrative that placebo effects have real "healing" powers against diseases like Parkinson's disease.
R&D and the High Cost of Drugs
Until a year ago very few people had ever heard of Martin Shkreli. In 2015 the then-32-year-old CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals LLC became the poster boy for Big Pharma eXXXcesses when Turing acquired rights to Daraprim, an antiparasitic drug used widely to treat toxoplasmosis. The acquisition itself wasn’t particularly controversial. Raising the price of Daraprim from $13.50 per pill to $750 per...