Category: Science and the Media

Yes, it's true that placebos are just as powerful as homeopathy. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean what believers in integrative medicine think it does.

Can the mind really heal the body? The false narrative of placebo “healing” revisited

Placebo effects are inextricably bound to the question of whether the alternative medicine modalities that are being “integrated” into medicine actually have any useful therapeutic effects or not; i.e., whether they are merely placebos. Here, I examine an article in National Geographic that peddles the false narrative that placebo effects have real "healing" powers against diseases like Parkinson's disease.

/ December 12, 2016
What is it with causes like alternative medicine and getting naked except for body paint?

A Rolling Stone gathers no science-based medicine—but does gather a lot of quackery

Say it ain't so, Ron. Say it ain't so that you and your family love homeopathy and that you all believe that apricot pits cure breast cancer!

/ December 5, 2016
Trump is OK with pseudoscience

“Donald Trump’s presidential election win stuns scientists”

Scientists in the U.S. and from around the world are weighing in on Donald Trump’s election as the next president of the most powerful country on earth: Trump will be the first anti-science president we have ever had . . . The consequences are going to be very, very severe. Michael Lubell, director of public affairs for the American Physical Society in...

/ November 10, 2016
Will this help me live longer?

Positive Psychology and Health

The idea that a positive attitude can lead to better health is widespread. But is it based on good evidence?

/ November 7, 2016
The stem cell hard sell returns.

The stem cell hard sell, Stemedica edition

Stemedica Cell Technologies, a San Diego company that markets stem cell treatments for all manner of ailments, likes to represent itself as very much science-based. There are very good reasons to question that characterization, based on the histories of the people who run the company, as well as the company's behavior.

/ September 26, 2016
It's generally not a good indication that their treatments work when doctors use the same hard sell techniques as used car salesmen.

The stem cell hard sell

There are, unfortunately, a lot of clinics in the US that offer stem cell therapies for indications ranging from heart disease to anti-aging to even autism without good evidence that these therapies are actually efficacious. Real stem cell scientist Paul Knoepfler attended an informational seminar on stem cell therapies offered by a major clinic. Not surprisingly, it was more marketing than informational....

/ August 22, 2016

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 Leni Riefenstahl shout, "Zu viel!" ("Too much!")

/ July 11, 2016
SnakeOilSalesmanWagon

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

It's generally thought that quack stem cell clinics are primarily a problem overseas because the FDA would. never allow them on US soil. As a new survey shows, that assumption couldn't be more wrong.

/ 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

Stem cells have become big business. Offshore clinics claim to use stem cells to treat anything from aging, diabetes, stroke, cancer, and even autism, all without compelling evidence that these treatments have any meaningful effect. Unfortunately, the potential for harm, both financial and to health, is high, as the case of Jim Gass demonstrates.

/ June 27, 2016