Category: Science and the Media

When Loud Wins: Will Your Tax Dollars Pay For Prayer?

Today the LA Times described a bizarre and troublesome healthcare reform bill provision that would require Medicare to pay for Christian Science Prayer as a medical treatment: …a little-noticed provision in the healthcare overhaul bill would require insurers to consider covering Christian Science prayer treatments as medical expenses. The provision was inserted by Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) with the support of Democratic...

/ November 3, 2009

The cancer screening kerfuffle erupts again: “Rethinking” screening for breast and prostate cancer

I see that the kerfuffle over screening for cancer has erupted again to the point where it’s found its way out of the rarified air of specialty journals to general medical journals and hence into the mainstream press. Over the last couple of weeks, articles have appeared in newspapers such as the New York Times and Chicago Tribune, radio networks like NPR,...

/ November 2, 2009

J.B. Handley of the anti-vaccine group Generation Rescue: Misogynistic attacks on journalists who champion science

There’s been something I’ve been meaning to write about all week, but only just got around to it. There were lots of other things going on at my other online locale, and this topic is such old hat for so many that I really wasn’t sure if it was worth bothering with. My reluctance may also be, sadly, because I’ve become a...

/ October 31, 2009

Mainstreaming Science-Based Medicine: A Novel Approach

I have often mused about the difference between being right and being influential – especially in light of the relative success of the anti-vaccine movement. Despite the fact that there is no evidence for a link between vaccines and autism, celebrities like Jenny McCarthy have manufactured public mistrust in one of the safest, most cost effective means of combating disease known to...

/ October 29, 2009

The effective wordsmithing of Amy Wallace

One of the most engaging and clearly-written pieces of science journalism over the last year or so was published in Wired magazine last week. Now in the midst of a firestorm of attention, Amy Wallace's, "An Epidemic of Fear: How Panicked Parents Skipping Shots Endangers Us All," is part interview with rotavirus vaccine developer, pediatric infectious disease physician and immunologist, Dr Paul...

/ October 27, 2009

Suzanne Somers’ Knockout: Dangerous misinformation about cancer (part 1)

If there’s one thing I’ve become utterly disgusted with in the time since I first became interested in science-based medicine as a concept, its promotion, and the refutation of quackery and medical pseudoscience, it’s empty-brained celebrities with an agenda. Be it from imbibing the atmosphere within the bubble of woo-friendly southern California or taking a crash course at the University of Google...

/ October 26, 2009

“Methodolatry”: My new favorite term for one of the shortcomings of evidence-based medicine

I’d like to thank revere right now publicly. He’s taught me a new word: Methodolatry: The profane worship of the randomized clinical trial as the only valid method of investigation. Many of you have e-mailed me and other SBM bloggers about a recent article in The Atlantic by Shannon Brownlee and Jeanne Lenzer, two reporters whose particular bias is that we as...

/ October 24, 2009

Journalist fails but science wins during flu pandemic

The Atlantic has a monumentally horrible article up about flu vaccination which has been buzzing around our bloggy back channels. There has been some good science reporting out there lately, but this ain’t it. I was hoping one of the best public health blogs would jump on this, and jump on it they did.  It is a terrific example of how to...

/ October 24, 2009

“Oh, come on, Superman!” (Part II): Bill Maher meets Kryptonite over vaccines and “Western medicine”

It’s rather amazing how sometimes the best laid plans of mice and men (and bloggers) come to naught. I had planned on doing a followup post to my previous post about the cancer quackery known as the German New Medicine by discussing a particularly nasty French variant of it. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending upon your point of view), events conspired to move...

/ October 19, 2009

David & Goliath: A Dramatic Role Reversal Spurred On By The Media

The Internet is teeming with false health claims and a long line of celebrities willing to throw their media weight behind every new flavor of snake oil. The irony is that alternative medicine proponents see themselves as a persecuted minority – the victims of some nebulous health industry conspiracy. But in reality, they have ingratiated themselves with the media to such an...

/ October 8, 2009