Category: Science and Medicine

Are medical errors really the third most common cause of death in the U.S.? (2019 edition)

The claim that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the US has always rested on very shaky evidence; yet it's become common wisdom that is cited as though everyone accepts it. But if estimates of 250,000 to 400,000 deaths due to medical error are way too high, what is the real number? A study published last month suggests...

/ February 4, 2019

Science-Based Satire: 8th Edition of the Neonatal Resuscitation Program to Address Tongue-Tie

Is the NRP really updating its guidelines to include assessment and management of tongue-tie during newborn resuscitation? Should babies maintain skin-to-skin contact with their mother while receiving chest compressions? No. None of this is even remotely true.

/ January 25, 2019

Elephants, Herpes, and Protests: A Zoo Tragedy Distorted

There has been a recent kerfuffle over the death of a young elephant from elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus hemorrhagic disease. Was it the zoo's fault? Probably not.

/ January 18, 2019

Critical Thinking in Medicine

Cognitive Errors and Diagnostic Mistakes is a superb new guide to critical thinking in medicine written by Jonathan Howard. It explains how our psychological foibles regularly bias and betray us, leading to diagnostic mistakes. Learning critical thinking skills is essential but difficult. Every known cognitive error is illustrated with memorable patient stories.

/ January 15, 2019

Breastfeeding Improvement Initiatives May Increase Risk of Newborn Falls

Newborn falls during the postpartum period are a serious potential adverse event and are almost always a result of maternal fatigue. There is reason to be concerned that well-meaning but overzealous promotion of breastfeeding may increase the risk.

/ January 11, 2019

The Drugless Doctor’s ADHD Nonsense

The Drugless Doctor isn't a doctor, and as a chiropractor is totally unqualified to provide medical advice on almost everything, including ADHD.

/ January 4, 2019

Lotus Birth: No Benefit, Plenty of Risk

The practice of refusing to cut the umbilical cord after delivery of a newborn has no benefit and risks serious infection. A recent case series illustrates the risks of so-called Lotus birth.

/ December 28, 2018

Update: More Evidence Supports Delaying School Start Times for Sleep Deprived Teens

Sleep deprivation is a serious health and academic concern for teenagers. A new study adds more support for calls to push back school start times as an effective strategy.

/ December 14, 2018

Italy’s Antivaccine Government – The Attack on Experts Continues

Anti-vaccine Italian government fires its entire Health Council. This is unfortunately part of a bigger trend against expertise and reality-based policy.

/ December 5, 2018

CDC Warns Against Honey Pacifier Use After 4 Texas Infants Develop Botulism

Experts are warning caregivers and healthcare professionals about pacifiers filled with raw honey after four infants in Texas were diagnosed with botulism. They are probably right. And you should probably listen.

/ November 30, 2018