Category: Medical Academia

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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‘Acupuncture Anesthesia’ Redux: another Skeptic and an Unfortunate Misportrayal at the NCCAM

A neglected skeptic Near the end of my series* on ‘Acupuncture Anesthesia’, I wrote this: Most Westerners—Michael DeBakey and John Bonica being exceptions—who observed ‘acupuncture anesthesia’ in China during the Cultural Revolution seem to have failed to recognize what was going on right under their noses. I should have added—and I now have—Arthur Taub’s name to that tiny, exceptional group. Taub, a neurologist and...

/ July 24, 2009

The clinician-scientist: Wearing two hats

About a week ago, Tim Kreider wrote an excellent post about the differences between medical school training and scientific training. As the only other denizen of Science-Based Medicine who has experienced both worlds, that of a PhD and that of an MD, and as the one who two decades further along the path than Tim (give or take a couple of years),...

/ July 13, 2009

Medical training versus scientific training

This month I will begin my third year of medical school, after a three-year break for laboratory research. Living alternately in the worlds of med school and grad school has prompted me to reflect on differences between these training programs. [Obvious disclaimer: I have studied at a single institution, and only for five years.] I am enrolled in a dual-degree MD/PhD program. About 120 US medical schools...

/ July 4, 2009

Cancer research: Going for the bunt versus swinging for the fences

A couple of weeks ago, our resident skeptical medical student Tim Kreider wrote an excellent article about an op-ed in NEWSWEEK by science correspondent Sharon Begley, in which he pointed out many misconceptions she had regarding basic science versus translational research, journal impact factors, and how journals actually determine what they will publish. Basically, her thesis rested on little more than a...

/ June 29, 2009

An Original: Richard de Mille, Carlos Castaneda, Literary Quackery

An Original: Richard De Mille, Carlos Castaneda, and Literary Quackery I was away in Nature – with a real capital N,  and decided to insert an allegory this week instead of a medical subject. The genesis here was a sweeping of the mind and brushing away of cobwebs and detritus called worries and other preoccupations.  The application to this here blog is...

/ June 25, 2009

Cranks, quacks, and peer review

Last week, I wrote one of my characteristically logorrheic meandering posts about what turns a scientist into a crank or a doctor into a quack. In a sort of continuation of this line of thinking, this week I’ll turn my attention to one of the other most common characteristics of a crank, be he scientific crank (i.e., a creationist), a quack, or...

/ June 22, 2009
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“Acupuncture Anesthesia”: a Proclamation from Chairman Mao (Part III)

A Digression: The Politics of Chinese Medicine in the People’s Republic of China (The Early Years) *** A Partial Book Review: Chinese Medicine in Early Communist China, 1945-63: a Medicine of Revolution, by Kim Taylor Mao’s was a complex personality. He was by nature a control freak, highly secretive, quickly suspicious, ruthless in revenge. These were all personal characteristics that were to...

/ June 12, 2009
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“Acupuncture Anesthesia”: A Proclamation from Chairman Mao (Part II)

An Anesthesiologist’s Perspective The late John Bonica (1917-1994), one of the great anesthesiologists of the 20th century, has been called “The Founding Father of the Pain Field.” He developed this interest while treating wounded soldiers at Fort Lewis, Washington, during WW II. Shortly thereafter he became a pioneer of epidural analgesia and other forms of safe pain relief for labor and delivery....

/ May 29, 2009
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“Acupuncture Anesthesia”: A Proclamation from Chairman Mao (Part I)

James Reston’s Appendectomy For many Americans, the current wave of public fascination with “complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)” can be traced to a single event: New York Times columnist James Reston’s appendectomy in China during the summer of 1971, which Reston reported in an interesting and amusing article on July 26 of that year. Many of those who noticed the publicity following this event...

/ May 15, 2009