Category: Science and Medicine

Diagnosis, Therapy and Evidence

When Dr. Novella recently wrote about plausibility in science-based medicine, one of our most assiduous commenters, Daedalus2u, added a very important point. The data are always right, but the explanations may be wrong. The idea of treating ulcers with antibiotics...

/ March 16, 2010

Is there a role for speculative journals like Medical Hypotheses in the scientific literature?

The core information supporting science-based medicine resides in the scientific literature. There, scientists and physicians publish the results of experiments and clinical trials that seek to understand the biological mechanisms by which the human body functions and through which disease...

/ March 15, 2010

Just the Facts

Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. —Mark Twain There is an educational approach to becoming a doctor. It involves learning massive amounts of basic science, followed by massive amounts of pathophysiology,...

/ March 12, 2010

CAM on campus: Integrative Medicine

My previous posts have described guest lecturers at my medical school campus, invited by a student interest group in CAM. Those events continue; currently ongoing is an 8-weekend certification course in Ayurveda for the subsidized cost of $1500 (includes “tuition,...

/ March 11, 2010

Plausibility in Science-Based Medicine

A question that arises often when discussing the optimal role of science in medicine is the precise role of plausibility, or prior probability. This is, in fact, the central concept that separates (for practical if not philosophical reasons) science-based medicine...

/ March 10, 2010

The 2nd Yale Research Symposium on Complementary and Integrative Medicine. Part II

The Main Event: Novella vs. Katz The remainder of the Symposium comprised two panels. The first was what I had come to see: a Moderated Discussion on Evidence and Plausibility in the Context of CAM Research and Clinical Practice, featuring...

/ March 9, 2010

A nutritional approach to the treatment of HIV infection—same old woo?

I get all sorts of mail. I get mail from whining Scientologists, suffering patients, angry quacks—and I get lots of promotional material. I get letters from publishers wanting me to review books, letters from pseudo-bloggers wanting me to plug their...

/ March 8, 2010

The 2nd Yale Research Symposium on Complementary and Integrative Medicine. Part I

March 4, 2010 Today I went to the one-day, 2nd Yale Research Symposium on Complementary and Integrative Medicine. Many of you will recall that the first version of this conference occurred in April, 2008. According to Yale’s Continuing Medical Education...

/ March 5, 2010

A Welcome Upgrade to a Childhood Vaccine – PCV 13

Children aren’t supposed to die.  That so many of us accept this statement without a blink is remarkable and wonderful, but it is also a very recent development in human history.  Modern sanitation, adequate nutrition, and vaccination have largely banished...

/ March 5, 2010

In desperate times, what works, wins

When one of the worst natural disasters in history hit Haiti earlier this year I worried what sorts of  alternative medicine “help” the Haitians might have thrust upon them.  From around the world, health care workers with expertise in trauma...

/ March 1, 2010