Category: Science and the Media

Flu vaccine

The influenza vaccine and miscarriages: Much ado about nothing

A study published on Wednesday claims to have found a link between influenza vaccination and miscarriage, and antivaxers are gloating. The study itself suffers mightily from post hoc subgroup analyses on small numbers, so much so that even its authors don’t really believe its results. None of that stopped them from publishing the study, thus justifying "more research" that will almost certainly...

/ September 15, 2017
WatsonJeopardy

IBM’s Watson versus cancer: Hype meets reality

Five years ago, IBM announced that its supercomputer Watson would revolutionize cancer treatment by using its artificial intelligence to digest and distill the thousands of oncology studies published every year plus patient-level data and expert recommendations into treatment recommendation. Last week, a report published by STAT News shows that, years later, IBM's hubris and hype have crashed into reality.

/ September 11, 2017
Gwyneth Paltrow posing proudly in front of a neon goop logo. Somehow this seems appropriate.

Gwyneth Paltrow and Goop: Another triumph of celebrity pseudoscience and quackery

Earlier this month, the hostilities between Gwyneth Paltrow's den of celebrity pseudoscience and quackery, her "lifestyle" website and store Goop, and skeptics erupted into open warfare, as Goop attacked Dr. Jen Gunter, an OB/GYN, blogger, and frequent critic of the pseudoscience published and sold by Goop. This leads to the question: Who are the physicians facilitating Paltrow and Goop? And does debunking...

/ July 24, 2017
Fatigue sign

Adrenal fatigue: A fake disease (updated)

“Adrenal fatigue” is not a real medical condition, but some claim it is real and that medicine is ignoring it. What does the science say?

/ June 29, 2017
316046269_1280x720

Consumer Reports Misses the Boat on Back Pain

Consumer Reports' recent articles on low back pain address anecdotal customer satisfaction rather than scientific evidence of effectiveness.

/ June 27, 2017
Yoga

Can mind-body practices “reprogram” our DNA?

A recent systematic review has been touted as demonstrating that "mind-body" practices like yoga can reprogram our DNA. There are several reasons to doubt these claims, not the least of which is the history of bias in past studies on this topic.

/ June 26, 2017
If you were to believe antivaxers, you'd think that they're doing Cersei's walk of atonement (complete with a priestess chanting, "Shame! Shame! Shame!") every day. But is this true?

Does society try to shame and shun vaccine refusers and the vaccine-averse?

Antivaxers often complain that they are judged harshly, even shunned. A recent study suggests that, to some extent, they might well be. But are judging, shaming, and shunning parents who refuse to vaccinate their children wrong? More importantly, what about the children, who didn’t choose not to be vaccinated, and how likely is such stigmatization to change behavior?

/ June 12, 2017
The Terminator

The closure of major integrative medicine “Crown Jewels”: Terminating the Terminator?

When it comes to expansion and infiltrating medicine, "integrative medicine" has frequently seemed like the Terminator: utterly relentless. Recent setbacks at major integrative medicine "Crown Jewels" resulting in their closure cast that narrative in doubt. However, I never forget that after its seeming destruction, the Terminator always comes back.

/ June 5, 2017
ibuprofen

Anti-inflammatory drugs and heart attacks: How real are the risks?

A new study provides more evidence that anti-inflammatory drugs like naproxen and ibuprofen cause small but real increases in the risk of heart attacks.

/ May 18, 2017
MMR vaccine

Two (now retracted) studies purporting to show that vaccinated children are sicker than unvaccinated children show nothing of the sort

Antivaccine websites have been touting two recently published studies as strong evidence that vaccinated children are less healthy than unvaccinated children. The studies are so flawed that they show nothing of the sort. Even more hilariously, the bottom-feeding predatory open access journal that published them appears to have retracted them.

/ May 11, 2017