Category: Science and the Media

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
Psychic sign

The Medical Medium’s Thyroid Pseudoscience

Anthony William calls himself a "Medical Medium". He has no medical expertise, but he provides medical advice based on claimed communication with the spirit world. What could possibly go wrong?

/ May 4, 2017
extraordinary-claims-require-extraordinary-evidence

The New York Times: Promoting False Hope as Journalism

The New York Times sells a narrative of false hope, and fails to engage in even basic journalism to tell a more complete story.

/ May 3, 2017
cancerchemotherapy1

Contrary to what we are frequently told, we are not “losing the war on cancer”

A common narrative about cancer is that we are making no progress in our fight against it. Fortunately, the actual data do not agree. Yes, too many people still die of cancer and progress is slow, but it's not correct to claim that we are losing the war on cancer.

/ April 3, 2017
Marijuana

Did cannabis oil save Deryn Blackwell, the “boy in seven billion,” when his bone marrow transplant for two cancers was failing?

In a forthcoming book The Boy in 7 Billion, Callie Blackwell claims that cannabis oil, which she had started giving her son Deryn to relieve his symptoms during a bone marrow transplant for two cancers, actually saved his life when the bone marrow transplant appeared to be failing. Unfortunately, her story appears to be another testimonial that confuses correlation with causation.

/ March 27, 2017
Bowling Green Police investigate Dr. Gonzalez's murder.

“Chemotherapy is for losers”: A tragic tale of cancer, naturopathic quackery, and murder

When a patient and her family trust a naturopath rather than oncologists and oncologic surgeons, the result is often tragic. In this case, Fikreta Ibrisevic trusted naturopath Juan Sanchez Gonzalez instead of real doctors to treat her rhabdomyosarcoma in 2015. The results were as tragic as expected, and she died. What happened next was not expected and amplified the horror of the...

/ March 13, 2017