Category: Medical Academia

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
Chairman Mao propaganda poster

“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

“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
Chairman Mao propaganda poster

“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

Homeocracy 3

The previous post of this series analyzed the results of the 1994 Pediatrics paper purporting to show a statistically significant effect of homeopathic preparations on acute childhood diarrhea in a population in Nicaragua. That clinical trial followed a pilot study that also had shown a small but statistically significant effect of homeopathic remedies. A moment here for explanation as to why I am...

/ May 14, 2009

Harvard Medical School: Veritas for Sale (Part VI)

Loose Ends: Dr. Koh and More After Dr. Federman’s letter and my reply, posted in Part V of this series,† there seemed little point in pursuing the matter further. Although Dr. Federman never answered my reply, he did send, at my request, a copy of Commissioner of Public Health Howard Koh‘s written “construction of the events in the Massachusetts Special Commission.” As you may recall, those events...

/ May 1, 2009

Harvard Medical School: Veritas for Sale (Part V)

September 26, 2002 Kimball Atwood, M.D. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Dear Kim, I have now had time to look into the allegations in your letter of June 14th which, incidentally, I shared with Dr. David Eisenberg and he with several others. I have sought consultation about our exchanges and the gist of my response follows. Some of your concerns and allegations are very helpful and...

/ April 17, 2009

The Dull-Man Law

Kimball Atwood is obviously trying to throw mud at Harvard and at homeopathy, but when you throw mud, you get dirty… (Sigh) So little time, so much misinformation. Hence the Dull-Man Law: In any discussion involving science or medicine, being Dana Ullman loses you the argument immediately…and gets you laughed out of the room. This will be the last time that I...

/ April 10, 2009