Category: Public Health

china-medicine-herbs-greenpeace_wh1376_36580889

What’s in your Traditional Chinese Medicine?

What's in your Traditional Chinese Medicine? An Australian analysis of 26 products found 92% were contaminated with heavy metals, undeclared plants, pharmaceuticals, or even animals like the endangered snow leopard, cat, dog, rat and pit viper.

/ December 17, 2015

Michigan HB 5126: Who thought it was a good idea to make it easier for parents to obtain nonmedical exemptions to school vaccine mandates and harder for local county health officials to do their jobs?

We have a problem with antivaccinationists here in Michigan. It’s a problem that’s been going on a long time that I first started paying attention to in a big way a few years ago when we started seeing pertussis outbreaks again due to low vaccine uptake. It’s a problem that’s persisted as last year we suffered from outbreaks of pertussis and measles,...

/ December 14, 2015

Home birth tragedies lead to changes in Oregon

Oregon Health Plan (OHP), the state’s Medicaid insurer, will no longer cover planned home and birth center births for women whose pregnancies aren’t classified as low risk, based on newly-established criteria. The Health Evidence Review Commission (HERC), a group of experts designated by the state, came up with criteria that will exclude women with a substantial list of conditions, such as high...

/ December 10, 2015

“Electromagnetic hypersensitivity” and “wifi allergies”: Bogus diagnoses with tragic real world consequences

I debated about writing about this topic, given that I just wrote about it last week on my not-so-super-secret other blog. However, as I thought about it during the weekend, I realized that the tragic story that so saddened and disturbed me to prod me to discuss so-called “electromagnetic hypersensitivity” or “electro-hypersensitivity” (EHS) was so horrific that a more detailed, SBM-level discussion...

/ December 7, 2015

Holding the supplement industry to account: Can we learn from tobacco regulation?

A new paper compares the supplement industry to Big Tobacco and argues that states should use the same tactics to improve consumer safety and protection.

/ December 3, 2015
768px-hand_sanitizer

No, Purell Does Not Breed Super-Anything

Recently, I was sitting in a meeting and reached for the dispenser of Purell hand sanitizer sitting on the conference room table. A colleague of mine gave a small, rueful shake of her head to the person on her other side. Apparently I had erred. I asked what was the matter, and got a brief answer to the effect of “because superbugs.”...

/ November 28, 2015

The elusive “potential” of integrative medicine

  UPDATE: Dr. Katz has responded to this post in his usual venue, The Huffington Post. Alternative medicine was all about “potential” from the get go: In 1991, the Senate Appropriations Committee responsible for funding the National Institutes of Health (NIH) declared itself “not satisfied that the conventional medical community as symbolized at the NIH has fully explored the potential that exists in...

/ October 29, 2015
cdctruth-october-2016-logo_orig-3

Antivaccinationists and the Nation of Islam protest in front of the CDC, but don’t you dare call them “antivaccine”

If there’s one thing that’s guaranteed to anger most antivaccine activists, it’s a skeptic calling them “antivaccine.” The reason, of course, is that (1) many of them actually believe they are “not antivaccine” but rather “pro-vaccine safety,” even though their words and actions proclaim otherwise and (2) they crave legitimacy. They want desperately to be taken seriously by the government and scientific...

/ October 26, 2015
Mammography

The American Cancer Society’s new mammography guidelines: Déjà vu all over again

One of the things that feels the weirdest about having done the same job, having been in the same specialty, for a longer and longer time is that you frequently feel, as the late, great Yogi Berra would have put it, déjà vu all over again. This is particularly true in science and medicine, where the same issues come up again and...

/ October 21, 2015

“Liquid biopsies” for cancer screening: Life-saving tests, or overdiagnosis and overtreatment taken to a new level?

I’ve written many times about how the relationship between the early detection of cancer and decreased mortality from cancer is not nearly as straightforward as the average person—even the average doctor—thinks, the first time being in the very first year of this blog’s existence. Since then, the complexities and overpromising of various screening modalities designed to detect disease at an early, asymptomatic...

/ September 28, 2015