Category: Science and Medicine

SPECT Scans at the Amen Clinic – A New Phrenology?

Phrenology was a 19th century pseudoscience that claimed to associate brain areas with specific personality traits. It was based on palpating bumps on the skull and was totally bogus. New brain imaging procedures are giving us real insights into brain function in health and disease. They are still blunt instruments, and it is easy and tempting to over-interpret what we are seeing....

/ April 8, 2008

Colon “cleanses”: A load of you know what…

One of the more popular treatments in alternative medicine is the "colon cleanse," a treatment based on the idea that there is 20 lbs. worth of accumulated feces in your colon that is slowly poisoning you. There's only one way to put it. Colon cleansing is a load of crap.

/ April 7, 2008

Charlie Woo TV

Some of us received the announcement a week ago of the Bravewell Collaborative’s planned conference on “Integrative Medicine” co-sponsored with the National Academies’ Institute of Medicine, to take place in February, 2009.  (Note: I like to cap slogans and commercial trademarks and such and enclose them in quotation marks. Especially when the terms have no consensus meaning or are intended to obscure...

/ April 3, 2008

On the ethics of clinical trials of homeopathy in Third World countries

I’m on the record multiple times as saying that I reject the entire concept and nomenclature of “alternative medicine” as being distinct from “conventional” medicine as a false dichotomy, when in reality there should be just “medicine.” Indeed, if there is one major theme to which this blog is dedicated it’s that medicine should be as much as possible science-based, a concept...

/ March 31, 2008

My Woo: A Confession

It’s a case of mind over matter. I have no mind but it doesn’t seem to matter. — George Burns I should be working on my taxes. Instead, I’ll dwell on the other, more pleasant, inevitability. Its been a bad couple of months for death. Everyone dies, and people often die of infection, but the flu season has been busy and with...

/ March 27, 2008

Airborne Settles Case On False Advertising

The story of Airborne – a popular supplement marketed as an “herbal health formula that boosts your immune system to help your body combat germs” – is representative of what is wrong with the supplement industry and how it is regulated in the US. Recently the company that sells Airborne – Airborne Health, Inc – agreed to pay $23.3 million to refund...

/ March 26, 2008

The Business of Being Born

One of our readers asked for a critique of the movie “The Business of Being Born.” I guess my sex and specialty make me the best qualified to comment. I delivered over 200 babies as a family physician. I had two babies of my own (at age 37 and 39), one with intervention (forceps) and one 9-pounder who almost “fell” out before...

/ March 25, 2008

When impressive science fails to impress patients

One of the greatest challenges in medicine can sometimes be to convince patients that the results of scientific and medical research apply to them, or, at the very least, to explain how such results apply. One of the reasons that medicine based not on science or evidence fluorishes is because it can be so hard to explain to patients why a particular...

/ March 24, 2008

Where Are We Going?

Where is it all headed? Medicine on another threshold. Allow me to present several previously unconnected news articles that illuminate the serious problem we face in today’s increasingly scientifically rootless world. Who are scientific medicine’s friends; on whom can we rely for support of reason and common sense, unbiased approaches to funding, unbiased efficacy evaluation, fair law enforcement, and a return to...

/ March 20, 2008

The ultimate in “integrative medicine”: Integrating the unscientific into the medical school curriculum

For the second week in a row I find myself throwing out the original post that I had planned on doing in favor of a different topic. The reason this week is, quite simply, having read Dr. Atwood’s excellent two part post Misleading Language: The Common Currency of “CAM” Characterizations (Part I; Part II). I don’t at this time intend to expand...

/ March 17, 2008