Category: Science and Medicine

antibiotics

If you feel better, should you stop taking your antibiotics?

A recent paper suggests that patients would be better off stopping antibiotics when they feel better, instead of completing the entire amount prescribed. Could this approach reduce antibiotic overuse and the risk of widespread resistance?

/ September 21, 2017
WatsonJeopardy

IBM’s Watson versus cancer: Hype meets reality

Five years ago, IBM announced that its supercomputer Watson would revolutionize cancer treatment by using its artificial intelligence to digest and distill the thousands of oncology studies published every year plus patient-level data and expert recommendations into treatment recommendation. Last week, a report published by STAT News shows that, years later, IBM's hubris and hype have crashed into reality.

/ September 11, 2017
hematiteteething

Another Child Harmed by Pseudomedicine: Lead Poisoning from a “Homeopathic Healing” Bracelet

The CDC has published a report on yet another child harmed by exposure to a caregiver's belief in quackery...and the toxic level of lead found in a "homeopathic" teething bracelet.

/ September 8, 2017
Yes, it's true that placebos are just as powerful as homeopathy. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean what believers in integrative medicine think it does.

Is the use of “Open-Label” Placebo Ethical in the Treatment of Children?

Is the use of "open-label" placebo ethical in pediatric medical care, or any care for that matter? A recent article in Pediatrics discussing this issue comes to a flawed conclusion based on a misunderstanding of placebo and of the literature on placebo without deception.

/ August 25, 2017
crispr (1)

The Promise of CRISPR

CRISPR is the latest rock-star medical technology that promises to revolutionize medicine. Let's take a look at the hype and the reality.

/ August 23, 2017
A field of blood cells. The bi-concave disks are red blood cells or erythrocytes. The white cell with the dark purplish, multi-lobed nucleus is a neutrophil, a type of white blood cell or leukocyte. The smaller spikey objects are platelets. (photo and text from NCI Visuals Online Library image 3696, created by Donald Bliss.

Myeloproliferative neoplasms – an overview and my experiences

In 2014 I was diagnosed with a type of myeloproliferative neoplasm. Since that time I have sought many treatments, and experienced many setbacks. Science-based medicine has kept me alive to write this post. Here I pass along some of my knowledge and experience regarding these rare cancers.

/ August 18, 2017
leg cramp

Is something better than nothing? The many ineffective ways we treat nocturnal leg cramps

While leg cramps won't kill you, they can make you miserable when you are trying to sleep. There's not much evidence for effective treatments, and there are far more proposed treatments than there is evidence.

/ August 10, 2017
p_value

0.05 or 0.005? P-value Wars Continue

The p-value is under fire yet again, but this time with some quick-and-dirty solutions (and some long-and-onerous ones too) to the problems created by relying on this quick-and-dirty test.

/ August 2, 2017
Abraham Cherrix and his parents after learning the judge's ruling in 2006.

Abraham Cherrix is alive and well because of science-based medicine

Although I haven't discussed it here in depth, the case of Abraham Cherrix is an instructive example. Eleven years ago, he and his parents chose quackery over science-based medicine to treat his cancer. He's alive now because he finally realized the error of his decision and underwent chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant.

/ July 31, 2017
1024px-Competition_swimming_pool_block

It’s Still Not Safe to Go Back in the Water, and Other Tales of Woo

A thoughtful discussion of water-based topics ranging from toddlers pooping in the pool to recommendations on daily alkaline water intake for newborns.

/ July 28, 2017