Category: Science and the Media

Medscape quietly pulls a bad news article

Three days ago, I published a disapproving commentary about a disappointingly credulous and misinformation-laden article published on Medscape about the human papilloma virus vaccine Gardasil. The article was clearly biased, and, worse, it quoted Oprah’s favorite woo-loving gynecologist Dr. Christiane Northrup parroting germ theory denialism and the myth that Louis Pasteur “recanted” on his deathbed. All in all, it was a terrible...

/ August 7, 2008

HPV vaccination misinformation and bias in Medscape

Like many physicians, I often peruse Medscape. It’s generally been a convenient and quick way to catch up on what’s going on in my field not directly related to my research, for which I tend to rely on pre-configured RSS feeds for PubMed searches to highlight any articles related to my areas of interest. Since these searches routinely flag hundreds of articles...

/ August 4, 2008

Cell phones and cancer again, or: Oh, no! My cell phone’s going to give me cancer!

Before I start into the meat of this post, I feel the need to emphasize, as strongly as I can, four things: I do not receive any funding from the telecommunications industry in general, or wireless phone companies in particular. None at all. In other words, I’m not in the pocket of “big mobile” any more than I am in the pocket...

/ July 28, 2008

Parody beats political analysis

When out of town this past week I was bereft of tantalizing subjects, with our 5 other bloggers covering so many topics so well. I was about to toss in an empty towel, when two news absurdities fell into my driveway in the pages of the SF Chronicle. One was this morning’s (7/23) report that one Dragan Dabic, an alternative medicine healer...

/ July 24, 2008

Resistance is futile? Hell, no! (A call to arms)

Well, I won’t back down No, I won’t back down You can stand me up at the gates of hell But I won’t back down Gonna stand my ground Won’t be turned around And I’ll keep this world from draggin’ me down Gonna stand my ground And I won’t back down From “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty, 1989 This week,...

/ July 21, 2008

When “investigative reporting” becomes anti-vaccine propaganda

Introduction: The following is the text of a letter that I mailed to Bob Sliva, General Manager of WXYZ-TV in Detroit in response to arguably the most biased and incompetent “investigative report” about mercury, vaccines, or autism that I have ever seen. I sent the letter by snail mail, because I was always taught that that gets a station manager’s attention far...

/ July 14, 2008

The Weekly Waluation of the Weasel Words of Woo #8

Playing with More than a Full Deck! The passage submitted in the W^5/2 #7 wasn’t an easy one, but intrepid translators, for the most part, offered waluable insights: Readers were virtually unanimous in the opinion that author Jean Watson, when she uttered it, must have been in an, er, alternative state of consciousness. I can’t imagine what gave them that idea. I mean look...

/ June 28, 2008

Why would medical schools associate with quackery? Or, How we did it.

Why would medical schools risk association with quackery? …a question from a Washington Post reporter in 1998. The following hypothetical answer composed in response was never sent. It awaited a proper forum. Could this be one? Well, Jeff, quackery is a pejorative term. Some time ago we recognized that words raise emotions and mental pictures. We recognized the cognitive dissonance raised by...

/ June 26, 2008

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons: Ideology trumps science-based medicine

The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (JPANDS) is the official journal of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS). The AAPS tries to represent itself as a legitimate medical professional society, but in reality it promotes antivaccine views, HIV/AIDS denialism, and an Ayn Randian view of the world in which doctors are supermen, Medicare is unconstitutional, and the government should...

/ June 23, 2008

Why the latest Geier & Geier paper is not evidence that mercury in vaccines causes autism

Several people have been sending me either links to this paper or even the paper itself: Young HA, Geier DA, Geier MR. (2008). Thimerosal exposure in infants and neurodevelopmental disorders: An assessment of computerized medical records in the Vaccine Safety Datalink. J Neurol Sci. 2008 May 14 [Epub ahead of print]. (Full text here.) A few have asked me whether I was...

/ June 16, 2008