Category: Politics and Regulation

Kratom: another dangerous “natural” remedy

Kratom (Mitragyna speciose) is a tropical tree from Southeast Asia whose leaves are traditionally chewed or prepared as a powder. Native populations chew the leaves to reduce fatigue when doing manual labor, such as working on rubber plantations. It is also used in cultural performances and consumed as a drink prepared from kratom powder. When the Second World War caused an increase...

/ August 4, 2016
Antivaccine fears

Dealing with vaccine hesitancy and refusal

Almost as long as there have been vaccines, there has been an antivaccine movement. The misinformation promoted by antivaccinationists can infect parents and make them vaccine-averse. Here, we deal with some antivaccine tropes that find their way to the vaccine-averse.

/ August 1, 2016

CARA: Integrating even more pseudoscience into veterans’ healthcare

The pixels were barely dry on David Gorski’s lament over the expansive integration of pseudoscience into the care of veterans when President Obama signed legislation that will exacerbate this very problem. The “Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016” (“CARA”) contains provisions that will undoubtedly keep Tracy Gaudet, MD, and her merry band of integrative medicine aficionados at the VA busy for...

/ July 28, 2016

Legislative Alchemy 2016 Update: Acupuncturists win; naturopaths and chiropractors don’t (so far)

Legislative Alchemy is the process by which state legislatures transform pseudoscience and quackery into licensed health care practices. By legislative fiat, chiropractors can detect and correct non-existent subluxations, naturopaths can diagnose (with bogus tests) and treat (with useless dietary supplements and homeopathy) fabricated diseases like “adrenal fatigue” and “chronic yeast overgrowth,” and acupuncturists can unblock mythical impediments to the equally mythical “qi”...

/ July 21, 2016
A typical VA Medical Center

“Complementary and Integrative Health” at the VA: Integrating pseudoscience into the care of veterans

In return for their service to our country, veterans deserve the best science-based medical care that we as a nation can provide. Unfortunately, the VA is integrating quackery into its medical care even more enthusiastically than medical academia.

/ July 18, 2016
VAXXED

Reviewing Andrew Wakefield’s VAXXED: Antivaccine propaganda at its most pernicious

Antivaccine "hero" Andrew Wakefield has recruited Del Bigtree to help him make a movie about the "CDC whistleblower" manufactroversy and anti vaccine conspiracy theories in general. The results are so ham-fisted that they would make Leni Riefenstahl shout, "Zu viel!" ("Too much!")

/ July 11, 2016
herbs-nd1

FDA efforts to improve compounded drug safety upsets naturopaths

Favorite naturopathic treatments comprise pumping patients full of dubious mixtures by injection, including IV drips. Naturopaths also employ topicals (salves, ointments and creams), rectal, and vaginal suppositories, and oral medications, such as bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, all made from “natural” substances. According to the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) these nutritional, herbal and homeopathic remedies are compounded to meet unique patient...

/ July 7, 2016
SnakeOilSalesmanWagon

Forget stem cell tourism: Stem cell clinics in the US are plentiful

It's generally thought that quack stem cell clinics are primarily a problem overseas because the FDA would. never allow them on US soil. As a new survey shows, that assumption couldn't be more wrong.

/ July 4, 2016

Australia’s New Antiscience Party

In a perfect world, high quality science would inform politics and policy. Science cannot determine policy by itself because there are also value judgments and trade-offs that need to be negotiated. At the least, however, policy should be consistent with the best available science. We, of course, don’t live in a perfect world. Too often politics and ideology seem to inform, or...

/ June 29, 2016
Randomized controlled clinical trial

Whither the randomized controlled clinical trial?

With the rise of precision medicine and genomics, the conventional randomized clinical trial appears more and more outdated. Fortunately, clinical trials are evolving, but will it be enough to incorporate the numerous advances in "-omic" medicine in a rigorous scientific manner to benefit patients?

/ June 20, 2016