Category: Science and the Media

Deconstructing Homeopathy Propaganda

The definition of “propaganda,” like so many things, is a bit fuzzy. The dictionary definition is: “information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.” There is no sharp demarcation line, however. Speech occurs on a spectrum from obsessively objective, fair, balanced, and scholarly at one end, to deliberately deceptive...

/ August 17, 2016
VAXXED

Reviewing Andrew Wakefield’s VAXXED: Antivaccine propaganda at its most pernicious

Antivaccine "hero" Andrew Wakefield has recruited Del Bigtree to help him make a movie about the "CDC whistleblower" manufactroversy and anti vaccine conspiracy theories in general. The results are so ham-fisted that they would make Reni Liefenstahl blush.

/ July 11, 2016
SnakeOilSalesmanWagon

Forget stem cell tourism: Stem cell clinics in the US are plentiful

I had planned on writing about something else this week, but late last week another story caught my eye, because it served as a perfect follow-up to what I wrote about last week. To recap, I wrote about a man named Jim Gass, a former chief legal counsel for Sylvania, who had suffered a debilitating stroke in 2009 that left him without...

/ July 4, 2016
What's the harm? Stroke victim Jim Gass went from requiring a cane and leg brace to walk to being confined to a wheelchair, thanks to dubious stem cell treatments. There's the harm.

What’s the harm? Stem cell tourism edition

It’s been over two weeks now since hockey legend Gordie Howe died at the age of 88. Detroit, as I’ve pointed out elsewhere, is a serious hockey town, as hockey-crazy as any town in Canada (just look at the fancy new hockey arena named after crappy pizza being built downtown only a mile from where I work), and it worshiped Gordie Howe...

/ June 27, 2016

False balance about Stanislaw Burzynski and his disproven cancer therapy, courtesy of STAT News

One common theme that has been revisited time and time again on this blog since its very founding is the problem of how science and medicine are reported. For example, back when I first started blogging, years before I joined Science-Based Medicine in 2008, one thing that used to drive me absolutely nuts was the tendency of the press to include in...

/ June 5, 2016

No, a rat study with marginal results does not prove that cell phones cause cancer, no matter what Mother Jones and Consumer Reports say

There are certain myths that are frustratingly resistant to evidence, science, and reason. Some of these are basically medical conspiracy theories, where someone (industry and/or big pharma and/or physicians and/or the government) has slam-dunk evidence for harm but conspires to keep it from you, the people. For example, despite decades worth of negative studies, the belief that vaccines are harmful, causing conditions...

/ May 30, 2016
Integrative medicine

“Integrative” medicine versus “alternative” medicine

I’ve written a lot about the language issue with respect to alternative medicine. As I like to put it (at least in shortened form), first there was quackery. Quacks did not like that name at all, and thus was born alternative medicine. And the quacks did think it good—for a while. There was a problem, however. “Alternative” medicine implied (correctly, of course)...

/ May 15, 2016

Vaxxed and the Tribeca Film Festival: How Robert De Niro learned the hard way about Andrew Wakefield and the antivaccine movement

One of the disadvantages of only doing one blog post a week here at Science-Based Medicine is that sometimes stuff happens at too fast a pace for me. If something happens on Tuesday, by the time Sunday rolls around and it’s time for me to do my weekly post, it’s often old news, too old to bother with. That’s why it’s a...

/ March 28, 2016

Persecution of Scientists Whose Findings Are Perceived As Politically Incorrect

It dates back at least to Galileo. A scientist finds evidence that contradicts a cherished popular belief. Instead of a rational examination of his evidence, he is subjected to vicious personal attacks. Alice Dreger examines the phenomenon in her book Galileo’s Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science. She is eminently qualified to do so. She is a...

/ February 16, 2016

Kangaroo Mother Care, Skin-To-Skin Contact, and the Risk of Sudden Unexpected Postnatal Collapse

In January, a study published in Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatrics’ flagship peer-reviewed journal, presented evidence in support of Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) and its primary intervention: prolonged skin-to-skin contact (SSC) between a mother and her newborn child. I was originally asked to discuss this report at the time by the editors of The Scientific Parent, which is a great resource...

/ February 12, 2016