Category: Medical Academia

University of Toronto Coddles Quackery

The ongoing saga of quackademic medicine continues. The University of Toronto School of Public Health has been caught teaching utter nonsense to its students. Even worse, when called out on this dereliction of their academic responsibility, they defended it. Unfortunately, it is all too clear how something like this can happen. The department was teaching an alternative medicine course at U of...

/ July 8, 2015
Integrative medicine

NCCIH and the true evolution of integrative medicine

There can be no doubt that, when it comes to medicine, The Atlantic has an enormous blind spot. Under the guise of being seemingly “skeptical,” the magazine has, over the last few years, published some truly atrocious articles about medicine. I first noticed this during the H1N1 pandemic, when The Atlantic published an article lionizing flu vaccine “skeptic” Tom Jefferson, who, unfortunately,...

/ June 29, 2015

Attitudes Predict CAM Use

One of the persistent themes of SBM is that CAM (complementary and alternative medicine, or integrative medicine) is nothing more than a marketing brand. Its recent popularity is not based upon new evidence or a changing paradigm of medicine as its proponents claim. Its popularity is increasing despite the lack of evidence for specific CAM treatments and despite a dedication to evidence-based...

/ May 27, 2015

What Should We Do in the Absence of Evidence?

For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple—and wrong. – H.L. Mencken Despite my multiple personalities, it seems that only the OCD doctor gets anything done. The Goth cowgirl persona? Lazy. And the NBA playoffs are sucking up an inordinate amount of time. Go Blazers. Just not very far. Sigh. But what are you going to do. Work...

/ May 1, 2015
David Katz

Integrative medicine, naturopathy, and David Katz’s “more fluid concept of evidence”

Dr. David Katz is undoubtedly a heavy hitter in the brave new world of “integrative medicine,” a specialty that seeks to “integrate” pseudoscience with science, nonsense, with sense, and quackery with real medicine. In fairness, that’s not the way physicians like Dr. Katz see it. Rather, they see it as “integrating” the “best of both worlds” to the benefit of patients. However,...

/ April 6, 2015

Pseudoscience North: What’s happening to the University of Toronto?

  Today’s post is a reluctant challenge. I’m nominating my own alma mater, the University of Toronto, as the new pseudoscience leader among large universities – not just in Canada, but all of North America. If you can identify a large university promoting or embracing more scientifically questionable activities, I’ll happily buy you a coffee. Yes, it’s personal to me, as I...

/ February 26, 2015

Communicating Health Science News

A recent study addresses the problem of sensationalism in the communication of science news, an issue we deal with on a regular basis. The study was titled “The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study“. The results show two interesting things – that university press releases frequently overhype the results of studies, and that...

/ December 17, 2014

Selling “integrative oncology” as a monograph in JNCI

Sometimes, it’s hard not to get the feeling that my fellow bloggers at Science-Based Medicine and I are trying to hold back the tide in terms the infiltration of pseudoscience and quackery into conventional medicine, a term I like to refer to as quackademic medicine. In most cases, this infiltration occurs under the rubric of “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM), which these...

/ December 1, 2014
Chairman Mao propaganda poster

Retconning the story of traditional Chinese medicine

Proponents of "integrating" traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) into medicine paint a tale of an ancient, unified system of medicine that's been tested over at least two millennia and found to be effective. The real story is very different and is best explained with a term more commonly used to discuss comic books. Basically, the "integration" of TCM into "Western medicine" is nothing...

/ November 10, 2014
The Cleveland Clinic Foundation

Quackademia update: The Cleveland Clinic, George Washington University, and the continued infiltration of quackery into medical academia

Quackery has been steadily infiltrating academic medicine for at least two decades now in the form of what was once called “complementary and alternative medicine” but is now more commonly referred to as “integrative medicine.” Of course, as I’ve written many times before, what “integrative medicine” really means is the “integration” of quackery with science- and evidence-based medicine, to the detriment of...

/ September 29, 2014