Category: Science and the Media

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

Psychiatry-Bashing

Psychiatry is arguably the least science-based of the medical specialties. Because of that, it comes in for a lot of criticism. Much of the criticism is justified, but some critics make the mistake of dismissing even the possibility that psychiatry could be scientific. They throw the baby out with the bathwater. I agree that psychiatry has a lot of very dirty bathwater,...

/ January 27, 2009

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
Rustum Roy, Deepak Chopra, and Andrew Weil, the unholy trinity of CAM

Chopra and Weil and Roy, oh my! Or: The Wall Street Journal, coopted.

When the unholy Trinity of Woo attacks! Deepak Chopra, Andrew Weil, and Rustum Roy join forces to fool the Wall Street Journal.

/ January 12, 2009

Who Should Ascend To The Office Of Surgeon General?

President-elect Obama’s nomination of CNN medical correspondent, Sanjay Gupta, for the Office of Surgeon General of the United States has ignited a firestorm of debate across the Internet. Some argue that he is not qualified for the position, others say that his charisma would be a boon to public health communications, though the lay majority appear to have mixed feelings. It is...

/ January 8, 2009

Christine Maggiore and Eliza Jane Scovill: Living and dying with HIV/AIDS denialism

On Science-Based Medicine, we strive to apply the light of science and reason on all manner of unscientific belief systems about medicine. For the most part, but by no means exclusively, we have concentrated on so-called “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) because there is an active movement to infiltrate faith-based, rather than science-based, modalities into “conventional” medicine. Indeed, such efforts are well-financed,...

/ January 5, 2009

AARP and Alternative Medicine

I know I said the next entry would be about the efficacy of the influenza vaccine. The road to blogging in paved with good intentions. I will eventually write that entry, but the ADD has kicked in and my attention has wandered elsewhere. I am 51 and one of the benefits of this advanced age is you get to join AARP, the...

/ January 2, 2009

The fallacy of “balance” and “fairness” about unscientific health claims in the media: A case study

For those of us who have dedicated ourselves to promoting science-based medicine, one of the most frustrating impediments to our message is the media. Time and time again, I’ve complained about how the media takes unscientific health claims, particularly when it comes to vaccines, and gives a credulous hearing to them. Sometimes, it’s a filmmaker with a distinct ideological axe to grind...

/ December 29, 2008