Category: Science and the Media

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Myths integrative medicine sells us: “We never advocate alternative medicine without conventional medicine”

"Integrative medicine" (IM) effectively integrates quackery with real medicine. The main talking point by advocates of IM meant to deflect this criticism is that IM practitioners always use alternative medicine with conventional medicine and never advocate the use of alternative medicine alone. A new book by a prominent advocate of IM suggests that this talking point is at best self-delusion among academics...

/ January 8, 2017
The Infinite Bridge to Nowhere

The Never-Ending Unchanging Story

NaturalNews.com is one of the most highly trafficked alternative medicine websites in existence. Even though its owner, Mike Adams, has become a rising star in the alt right and has also gone full conspiracy theorist à la Alex Jones, that doesn't mean he's given up promoting medical pseudoscience. He's still at it, this time continuing to make unsupported claims about fluoride in...

/ January 3, 2017
Money down the drain

Son of (the unethical and unscientific) Trial To Assess Chelation Therapy rears its ugly head to the tune of $37 million

First, the NCCIH and NHLBI spend $30 million on a clinical trial of quackery for cardiovascular disease that produces predictably negative to at best equivocal results. Then that result, apparently, is enough to justify wasting another $37 million on a followup study—while dozens of other deserving studies go unfunded. Meanwhile STAT News lionizes the principal investigator of both trials as a brave...

/ December 28, 2016
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