Category: Science and the Media

COVID-19

COVID-19 update: What you need to know now that it’s officially a pandemic

On March 11, the World Health Organization officially declared the COVID-19 to be a pandemic. The causative virus, SARS-CoV-2 is spreading through the population. What can be done? Social distancing is the only hope of slowing down spread of the disease.

/ March 16, 2020
coronavirus

Alternative Medicine Exploits Coronavirus Fears

Alternative medicine has been quick to capitalize on the public's fear of coronavirus. They offer an array of bogus treatments.

/ February 4, 2020
medical errors in surgery

Are medical errors really the third most common cause of death in the U.S.? (2020 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 has 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 recently published study suggests...

/ February 3, 2020

How can we counter misinformation from “chemo truthers”?

Denial of the benefits of chemotherapy is very prevalent in "natural health" movements. This denial is based on fear mongering, pseudoscience, and conspiracy theories and thus shares many similarities with the antivaccine movement. How can the misinformation spread by "chemo truthers" be countered on social media?

/ January 27, 2020

Is defending science-based medicine worth it?

Pseudoscience, denialism, fake news, and disinformation about health are a bigger problem than ever, thanks to social media. As doctors and scientists join lay defenders of science on social media, will they be willing to pay the price in terms of harassment? Or will they decide it's not worth the hassle? And what about our fellow docs who think that it's beneath...

/ January 20, 2020

Dichotomous thinking and uncertainty in medicine and science

Medicine is by its very nature uncertain. Unfortunately, humans don't deal well with uncertainty, and our tendency towards dichotomous thinking leads us to think that if we're not absolutely certain about something we don't know anything.

/ November 11, 2019

Shame on HBO! Bill Maher interviews Dr. Jay Gordon and the antivaccine misinformation flows.

Friday night, an old "friend" of the blog, pediatrician and antivaccine apologist Dr. Jay Gordon, made an appearance on Real Time With Bill Maher. In a long segment, the antivaccine misinformation flowed fast and furious in a Gish gallop of pseudoscience. WTF, HBO?

/ November 4, 2019

Antivaxxers on Facebook

Facebook is trying to stop anti-vaccine misinformation on its platform. How's that going?

/ October 30, 2019

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. hosts a trainwreck of an antivaccine forum in Harlem

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. reached out to the African-American Community in Harlem with his antivaccine message. It didn't go so well. First, Rev. Al Sharpton, whose National Action Committee was going to host it, bailed due to negative publicity. Then RFK Jr. was kicked out of his venue during his speech because the event went way over time. RFK Jr.'s efforts do,...

/ October 21, 2019

The Scientific Integrity Act: Protecting science from politics

The proposed federal Scientific Integrity Act supports science and the scientific process as the basis of public policy and aims to protect it from politics, ideology, and financial conflicts of interest.

/ October 10, 2019