Category: Science and Medicine

Rope Worms: C’est la Merde

When I first heard about rope worms, I assumed it was a spoof. Alas, not so! Rope worms are rope-like meter-long human intestinal parasites that were only recently discovered in the returns of cleansing enemas and are often reported after coffee enemas. Strangely, no one had ever noticed them until 2009. They have never been observed during endoscopy or surgery, during medical...

/ May 27, 2014

Separating Fact from Fiction in Pediatric Medicine: Infant Gastroesophageal Reflux

By now, regular SBM readers should be aware of the Choosing Wisely initiative. Just in case, Choosing Wisely is a campaign developed by the ABIM Foundation to bring together experts from a variety of medical specialties in order to identify common practices that should be questioned by patients and providers, if not outright discontinued. Their ultimate goal was not to establish treatment...

/ May 23, 2014

Beware the Integrative Pharmacy

Imagine a retail pharmacy where some of the medicines on the shelves have been replaced with similar-looking packages that contain no active ingredients at all. There is no easy way to distinguish between the real and the fake. Another section of the store offers a number of remedies with fantastic claims, such as “boosting” the immune system, “detoxifying” the body, or “cleansing”...

/ May 22, 2014

More Dialogs

There is no alternative medicine. There is only scientifically proven, evidence-based medicine supported by solid data or unproven medicine, for which scientific evidence is lacking. JAMA Just just because there are flaws in aircraft design that doesn’t mean flying carpets exist. Ben Goldacre Wiser heads than I have commented on “Invitation to a Dialogue: Alternative Therapies” in The New York Times. So...

/ May 16, 2014

Dialogue on “Alternative Therapies”

A recent opinion piece in The New York Times is an invitation to a dialogue on so-called alternative therapies, written by James Gordon. Gordon directs the Center for Mind-Body Medicine and was chairman of the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy appointed by President Bill Clinton. The piece, unfortunately, represents many of the common misconceptions about mainstream medicine and...

/ May 14, 2014

Separating Fact from Fiction in the Not-So-Normal Newborn Nursery: Newborn Jaundice

By far the most common medical problem in newborn infants is jaundice, typically appreciated as a yellowish discoloration of the skin caused by increased blood levels of a pigment called bilirubin. In my role as a newborn hospitalist, I manage jaundice every day. If I am not treating jaundice, in every single baby I see I am at least determining the risk...

/ May 9, 2014

Cochrane Reviews: The Food Babe of Medicine?

There are two topics about which I know a fair amount. The first is Infectious Disease. I am expert in ID, Board Certified and certified bored, by the ABIM. The other, although to a lesser extent, is SCAMs. When I read the literature on these topics, I do so with extensive knowledge and, in the case of ID, 30 years of clinical...

/ May 2, 2014

Microwaves and Nutrition

Science-based medicine is a concept that is larger than the analysis of any specific topic. It is, essentially, an approach to answering health and medical questions, one that involves careful and thorough analysis of scientific evidence within a framework of understanding of critical thinking, mechanisms of self-deception, and the process of science itself. We feel this creates the best opportunity to arrive...

/ April 30, 2014

More questions about acetaminophen: Does it cause ADHD?

“Will Tylenol harm my baby?”   Pharmacists are among the most accessible of health professionals, and so we receive a lot of questions from the public. No appointment required, and the advice is free. Among the most frequent sources of questions are women seeking advice on drug use in pregnancy. This is an area where some health professionals are reluctant to tread....

/ March 27, 2014

Agnotology: The Study of Ignorance

A comment from the blog: Every single time – bar none – I have had a conversation with someone about CAM and its modalities, they are absolutely astonished when I explain to them what the modality really is. One story I love telling comes from my friend in the year behind me. His parents are professional chemists and he came home one...

/ March 21, 2014