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

California Acupuncture Board: a Mockery of Consumer Protection

Many of the specific issues that the Governor and the Legislature asked the Commission to review have festered because the [California] Acupuncture Board has often acted as a venue for promoting the profession rather than regulating the profession. — Little Hoover Commission, Regulation of Acupuncture: A Complementary Therapy Framework: September 2004, page 63. On March 12, 2012, during a brief Sunset Review...

/ June 22, 2012

No, sugar pills won’t repel insects, and other consequences of regulating nonsense

As a group blog, Science-Based Medicine brings a variety of perspectives to issues of science in medicine. However we align around a few core principles which define what science-based medicine is, and how it should be practiced. One principle we emphasize is the importance of subjecting the evaluation of all health interventions and treatments to a single, science-based standard. One of the...

/ June 21, 2012

Bee Venom Therapy Update

I wrote previously about bee venom therapy (BVT), also called apitherapy or bee sting therapy, as an emerging “alternative” therapy. Both use and research into BVT continue, providing an excellent example of the many things that are wrong with the CAM movement. A recent Reuters article on the topic is also an excellent example of the frequent complete failure of the mainstream media in...

/ June 20, 2012
cebocap

Followup: Benedetti on Placebo Ethics

A few months ago I wrote about Fabrizio Benedetti’s research on the neurobiology of the placebo response, and a discussion about placebos and ethics ensued in the comments. Now Dr. Benedetti has written about that issue in a “Perspective” article in the journal World Psychiatry, “The placebo response: science versus ethics and the vulnerability of the patient.”  We have learned that verbal...

/ June 19, 2012

Cantron: A tale of false hope for cancer

A couple of months ago, a reader sent me an article that really disturbed me. In fact, I had originally been planning to write about it not long after I received it. It is, as you might imagine given my specialty and what disturbs me the most wehen I encounter quackery, a story of a cancer patient. Worse, it’s the story of...

/ June 18, 2012

Science, Evidence and Guidelines

Disclaimer:  I am a paid Medscape  blogger and writer, and since they are in part supported by advertisements from the Pharmaceutical companies,  indirectly I am in the thrall of Big Pharma. I found Harriet’s post on the Medscape Connect topic of How do you feel about Evidence-Based Medicine? interesting. I wondered about the breakdown of the comments by both specialty and opinions...

/ June 15, 2012

Legislative Alchemy: 2012.5

Legislative alchemy, as faithful SBM readers know, is the process by which state legislatures and Congress take scientifically implausible and unproven treatments and diagnostic methods and turn them into licensed health care practices and legally sold products. Previous posts have explored this phenomenon in naturopathy, chiropractic and acupuncture. Our last report on the legislative efforts of CAM providers appeared almost six months ago,...

/ June 14, 2012

Liberation Procedure for Multiple Sclerosis

It has been very instructive, from a science-based medicine perspective, to watch the story of alleged chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) and multiple sclerosis (MS) unfold over the last three years. In 2009 Dr. Paolo Zamboni, an Italian vascular surgeon, published a paper in which he claimed that 100% of MS patients he investigated showed signs of blockage in the veins that...

/ June 13, 2012

What Would It Take?

I recently wrote a SkepDoc column on fantasy physics in Skeptic magazine in which I mentioned a study that had allegedly measured 2 milligauss emanations from a healer’s hands. A reader inquired about it and went on to ask “what criteria is [sic] necessary for gaining acceptance in the scientific community in regards to purported healing processes using energy fields generated in...

/ June 12, 2012