Category: Science and Medicine

Delaying School Start Times for Sleep Deprived Teens

In August of this year, a new policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics was published which tackled the widespread problem of insufficient sleep in our adolescent population. They even went so far as to label insufficient sleep as “one of the most common, important, and potentially remediable health risks in children.” The statement, which gave a number of recommendations on...

/ October 10, 2014

The Miracle Cure for Everything

One common feature of pseudoscience is that proponents of a specific belief tend to exaggerate its scope and implications over time. In the world of physics this can eventually lead to a so-called “theory of everything” – one unifying theory that explains wide-ranging phenomena and displaces many established theories. In medicine this tendency to exaggerate leads in the direction of the panacea,...

/ October 8, 2014

Chaperones Needed. On acupuncture.

I receive a monthly newsletter from my medical board. Among other issues discussed are the results of disciplinary actions for physicians. Occasionally a physician who has boundary issues is required to have a chaperone present when doing exams. I was thinking that the concept of a chaperone could be more widely applicable. Consider “You Docs: Amazing acupuncture,” the latest from Drs Oz...

/ October 3, 2014

Hiccups: From Acupuncture to Quantum Touch

nOne of the most common questions I get in the newborn nursery, especially from first time parents, involves hiccups. Babies hiccup in the womb and most, if not all of them, will have periodic bouts of hiccups in the neonatal period. But many new parents are surprised by their baby’s first spasmodic contractions of the diaphragm. When brought up, it is often...

/ September 26, 2014

If you don’t buy this supplement for your child, you’re a terrible parent

The supplement industry wants you to buy their products, and they’re not above using a little parental guilt to make you into a customer. In the photo above, the promoter is my local pharmacy, where the large window display caught my eye: Give your Child The Tools to SUCCEED in School! Who doesn’t want their child to succeed? And if you knew...

/ September 25, 2014

Rationalizing the Ridiculous: Acupuncture

I remain flummoxed. How do physicians and health care systems, trained in all the sciences that lie at the heart of medicine, justify the use of pseudo-medical interventions with no basis in reality? Rationalization. Making excuses: a defense mechanism in which controversial behaviors or feelings are justified and explained in a seemingly rational or logical manner to avoid the true explanation, and...

/ September 19, 2014

Missouri tackles primary care shortage with “assistant physicians”

A new law in Missouri will allow medical school graduates who have not completed a residency to practice in underserved areas. They will be able to call themselves “doctor” but will be licensed as “assistant physicians” with significant limitations on their practice. (The first link is to Senate Bill 716, the bill that was passed and signed by the governor. It covers...

/ September 18, 2014

Only two months until Skepticon

I don’t recall if I’ve mentioned this before, but I will be speaking at Skepticon in November. (Holy crap, that’s just over two months away. I’d better get my talk ready. It’ll be about the central dogma of alternative medicine. Or some such medically-related topic.) In any case, now’s crunch time, the time of year when Skepticon’s fundraising needs to go into...

/ September 15, 2014
i-stopped-using-flouride-and-you-should-too

Fluoride: Still Not Poisoning Your Precious Bodily Fluids!

We dentists are an evil group of sociopaths. When we’re not trying to kill you or give you chronic diseases such as multiple sclerosis with our toxic mercury saturated fillings, we are advocating for the placement of rat poison/industrial waste (i.e. fluoride) in your water supply by our governmental overlords. What is up with us? The problem is, we’re failing miserably. Even...

/ September 14, 2014

Legislating Ignorance

Science is under attack, and not just from anti-vaccine celebrities and parents with degrees from Google University. Scientific illiteracy is being woven into the very fabric of our society through legislative assault. If you dismiss this as alarmist hyperbole, you haven’t been paying close enough attention. Every day thousands of pediatric health care providers throughout the country provide safety advice to patients...

/ September 12, 2014