Category: Science and the Media

Lies, Damned Lies, and ‘Integrative Medicine’

Last week, two events took place in Washington that ought to inspire trepidation in the minds of all who value ethical, rational, science-based medicine and ethical, rational, biomedical research. One was the Senate Panel titled Integrative Care: A Pathway to a Healthier Nation, previously discussed by my fellow bloggers David Gorski, Peter Lipson, and Steve Novella, and also by the indefatigable Orac (here and...

/ March 6, 2009

The incredible shrinking vaccine-autism hypothesis shrinks some more

Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in. Michael Corleone in The Godfather, Part 3 I hadn’t planned on doing two vaccine posts with such a short interval between them, but all too often, as the they say in the weakest of the Godfather movies, I get pulled back in again. So, after noting last week that 2009...

/ March 2, 2009

2009: Shaping up to be a really bad year for antivaccinationists

I will begin this post with a bit of an explanation. Between one and two weeks ago, there appeared two momentous news about the manufactroversy regarding vaccines and autism. No doubt, many SBM readers were expecting that I, as the resident maven of this particular bit of pseudoscience, would have been here last week to give you, our readers, the skinny on...

/ February 23, 2009

Research, Minus Science, Equals Gossip

“A person is smart. People are stupid.” – Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones), Men In Black Regular readers of my blog know how passionate I am about protecting the public from misleading health information. I have witnessed first-hand many well-meaning attempts to “empower consumers” with Web 2.0 tools. Unfortunately, they were designed without a clear understanding of the scientific method, basic statistics,...

/ February 12, 2009

Antivaccine hero Andrew Wakefield: Scientific fraud?

Pity poor Andrew Wakefield. Actually, on second thought, Wakefield deserves no pity at all. After all, he is the man who almost single-handedly launched the scare over the MMR vaccine in Britain when he published his infamous Lancet paper in 1998 in which he claimed to have linked the MMR vaccine to regressive autism and inflammation of the colon, a study that...

/ February 8, 2009

Where Does Sanjay Gupta Register On The Quackometer?

Four weeks ago I wrote a blog post about Sanjay Gupta’s nomination by the Obama administration as our potential new Surgeon General. Many of you voiced concerns about Sanjay’s nomination, specifically because of his poor handling of the Raelians’ Clonaid fiasco, his inability to counter Michael Moore’s health statistics as presented in Sicko and his relationship to the pharmaceutical industry. As I...

/ February 5, 2009

The Many Faces Of Snake Oil

It is my unhappy duty to reveal yet another depressing example of dishonest gain in medicine. This time, however, patients were not the only victims. Many healthcare professionals, including physicians, were prey to what has been called “an intellectual property ponzi scheme.” In a press release dated January 28, 2009, the HealthCentral Network announced the acquisition of a company called Wellsphere from...

/ January 29, 2009
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Psychiatry-Bashing

Psychiatry is arguably the least science-based of the medical specialties. Because of that, it comes in for a lot of criticism. Some of the criticism is justified, but too many critics make the mistake of dismissing even the possibility that psychiatry could be scientific, throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

/ January 27, 2009
Dirty hands

Probiotics

The Wall Street Journal has an assessment of probiotics in the Jan 13, 2009 issue entitled “Bug Crazy: Assessing the Benefits of Probiotics.” For some reason when I wander around the hospital on rounds people show me articles such as this and ask, so whatcha think about this? Probiotics are interesting. They are live bacteria given to treat and prevent diseases. It...

/ January 16, 2009

How Is Alternative Medicine Like Earmark Spending?

I recently watched a special news report about John McCain leading the charge towards making legislative earmarks illegal. The Economist defines earmarks this way: Earmarks, for the uninitiated, are spending projects that are directly requested by individual members of Congress and are not subject to competitive bidding. Most Americans are rightly upset about the practice of slipping pet projects into larger, well-vetted,...

/ January 15, 2009