Category: Surgical Procedures

“Acupuncture Anesthesia”: A Proclamation from Chairman Mao (Part I)

James Reston’s Appendectomy For many Americans, the current wave of public fascination with “complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)” can be traced to a single event: New York Times columnist James Reston’s appendectomy in China during the summer of 1971, which Reston reported in an interesting and amusing article on July 26 of that year. Many of those who noticed the publicity following this event...

/ May 15, 2009

Human subjects protections and research ethics: Where the rubber hits the road for science-based medicine

Although clinical trials are science, they often can't be controlled as well as experiments in most branches of science. The reason is that the experimental subjects are human, and ethics demands that risks and harms be minimized and benefits maximized.

/ April 27, 2009

Is IV Sedation Over-Used?

We criticize alternative medicine for not being evidence-based, and they criticize conventional medicine in turn, saying that much of what conventional medicine does is not based on evidence either. Sometimes that criticism is justified. I have run across a conventional practice that I suspect began because it sounded like a good idea, but that never was adequately tested and is not carefully...

/ April 21, 2009

Alternative medicine use and breast cancer

Of all the posts I and my cobloggers have written for SBM over the last 15 months, most provoke relatively few comments. However, a few stand out for having provoked hundreds of comments. The very first post that provoked hundreds of comments was Harriet’s excellent discussion of the International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics. In fact, Harriet seems to be quite good at...

/ March 23, 2009

When fraud undermines science-based medicine

The overriding them, the raison d’être if you will, of this blog is science-based medicine. However, it goes beyond that in that we here at SBM believe that science- and evidence-based medicine is the best medicine. It’s more than the best medicine, though; it’s the best strategy for medicine to improve therapy for our patients. We frequently contrast science-based medicine with various...

/ March 16, 2009

Another challenge to surgical dogma

Better late than never with this one. The dogma that I’m referring to is the remaining practice of using NG tubes in anyone with upper gastrointestinal surgery (liver, stomach, pancreas, duodenum, proximal small intestine) and then placing a jejunostomy tube (a tube, also often called a J-tube, that goes into the jejunum, or the proximal part of the small intestine, through which...

/ February 16, 2009

South Dakota’s Abortion Script: The Hijacking of Informed Consent

In a previous post, I suggested that informed consent could sometimes be misused. South Dakota has provided a clear example of such misuse and has set a frightening precedent reminiscent of Big Brother in George Orwell’s 1984. A law went into effect in July, 2008, requiring that any woman seeking an abortion in South Dakota must be told that she is terminating...

/ January 6, 2009

Fecal Transplants: Getting To The Bottom Of The Matter

Many Americans will be introducing more food than usual to their GI tracts on this Thanksgiving Day, and so I thought I’d provide you with a special gastroenterology-related post to complement the mood. If you have already eaten, I might suggest that you come back to this post on an empty stomach. I will be discussing the alternative medicine practice known as...

/ November 27, 2008

Circumcision: What Does Science Say?

There are no compelling scientific arguments for or against neonatal circumcision. Benefits and risks are, scientifically speaking, small. However, the nonscientific arguments for and against circumcision are loud, and often irrational.

/ November 4, 2008