Testing the “individualization” of CAM treatments

One of the common claims of alternative medicine practitioners is that they individualize their treatment while conventional medicine treats all patients the same. This is nonsense on several levels, but it is also a common excuse for why randomized clinical trials cannot be performed, or cannot be viewed as reliable evidence, in evaluating some alternative therapies. However, some trials have been done...

/ July 6, 2012
Green coffee beans

Dr. Oz and Green Coffee Beans – More Weight Loss Pseudoscience

I can’t keep up with Dr. Oz. Just when I thought the latest weight loss miracle was raspberry ketone, along comes another weight loss panacea. This time, it’s green coffee beans. Eveyone knows Dr. Oz, now. Formerly a guest on Oprah, he’s got his own show which he’s built into what’s probably the biggest platform for health pseudoscience and medical quackery on...

/ July 5, 2012

GSK Pays $3 Billion Fine

The following article is reposted from NeuroLogicaBlog. Happy Independence Day to all our American readers.   The pharmaceutical giant, GlaxoSmithKline, has agreed to pay three billion dollars in fines to settle three charges of fraud brought by the FDA. This is the largest health fraud settlement in US history. What are the implications of this settlement for how the pharmaceutical industry is regulated in...

/ July 4, 2012

Do We Need “Evolutionary Medicine”?

3 years ago I wrote an article critical of “evolutionary medicine” as it was presented in a new book.   Recently a correspondent asked me if I thought another book, Why We Get Sick: The New Science of Darwinian Medicine, by Randolph M. Nesse, MD and George C. Williams, PhD, was a more reasonable approach to the subject. It was published in 1994...

/ July 3, 2012

NCCAM on “integrative medicine”: What’s in a word?

I don’t know how I’ve missed this, given that it’s been in existence now for a month and a half, but I have. Regular readers (and even fairly recent readers, given that I write about this topic relatively frequently) know that I’m not a big fan of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). (Come to think of it, neither...

/ July 2, 2012

Vital Signs: Buteyko Breathing

As I have mentioned in the past, almost all of my practice is inpatient medicine, doing infectious disease consults in acute care hospitals. I only spend three hours a week in the outpatient clinic, so I have a skewed perception of medicine and disease. The patients I see are sick, really sick, often trying to die and are a complicated collection of...

/ June 29, 2012

Dept. of Education to Council on Chiropractic Education: “Straighten Up!”

Our last look at the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE), about 18 months ago, found the CCE deeply embroiled in a heated dispute among various chiropractic factions over new accreditation standards for chiropractic colleges. Today we offer an update on that situation. Update: the CCE is deeply embroiled in a heated dispute among various chiropractic factions over new accreditation standards for chiropractic...

/ June 28, 2012

The Swiss Report on Homeopathy

In 2011 the Swiss government completed an official examination of homeopathy, as part of its consideration of whether or not insurance companies should be made to cover homeopathic treatment. Their report, which concluded homeopathy is effective and should be covered, was published in English in February 2012. Not surprisingly, homeopathy promoters, like Dana Ullman writing for the Huffington Post, were quick to...

/ June 27, 2012

5-hour Energy

What should you do if you feel tired? Taking a nap isn’t always possible. The ever-inventive capitalist marketplace has come up with another option. 5-hour Energy is a flavored energy drink sold as 2 oz “shots.” It was invented by Innovation Ventures in 2004. It is intended to counteract the afternoon slump, to increase alertness and energy, to help you stay sharp,...

/ June 26, 2012
Dr. Google

Dr. Google and Mr. Hyde

These days, it seems that everyone uses Google to find information on health, diseases, and treatments. Unfortunately, the algorithms used by Google for search tend to value popularity over high quality information, leading to quack websites sometimes showing up high in its results. So how can a consumer find reliable health information on the Internet?

/ June 25, 2012