Death By Medicine

Critics of “conventional” medicine delight in pointing out how much harm it causes. Carolyn Dean, Gary Null, and others have written extensively about “death by medicine.” A typical statement (from Mercola.com) says: A definitive review and close reading of medical peer-review journals, and government health statistics shows that American medicine frequently causes more harm than good. The number of people having in-hospital,...

/ June 24, 2008
Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (JPANDS)

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

Another State Promotes the Pseudoscientific Cult that is “Naturopathic Medicine.” Part 2

The “Safety of Naturopathic Treatment” In their nationwide effort to convince lawmakers to pronounce them primary care physicians, “educated” naturopaths have repeatedly claimed that their “natural” treatments are “safer and gentler” than those offered by medical doctors. The Alliance Legislative Workbook, a website that for several years provided strategies and “talking points” for ND-activists seeking state licensure, made this assertion in 2001:...

/ June 20, 2008

The FDA Cracks Down on Fake Cancer Cures

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency that regulates the drug industry in the US, put out a press release yesterday warning “Individuals and Firms to Stop Selling Fake Cancer ‘Cures’.” The press release reports: “Although promotions of bogus cancer ‘cures’ have always been a problem, the Internet has provided a mechanism for them to flourish,” said Margaret O’K. Glavin, the...

/ June 18, 2008

Not Treating – A Neglected Option

One of the criticisms of modern medicine is that doctors prescribe too many pills. That’s true. Patients and doctors sometimes get caught up in a mutual misunderstanding. The patient assumes that he needs a prescription, and the doctor assumes that the patient wants a prescription. But sometimes patients don’t either need or want a prescription. I’ll use myself as an illustration. I...

/ June 17, 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

The media versus the frontiers of medicine and surgery

A couple of months ago, one of my esteemed co-bloggers, Wally Sampson, wrote an excellent article about borderlines in research in conventional medicine. Such borderlines are particularly common in my area of expertise (cancer, which is also Dr. Sampson’s area of expertise) because there are so many cancers for which we do not as yet have reliably curative therapies. Patients faced with...

/ June 16, 2008

Another State Promotes the Pseudoscientific Cult that is “Naturopathic Medicine.” Part 1

Minnesota has recently become the 15th state in the U.S. to formally endorse the claims of a tiny group of naturopaths who portray themselves as physicians.* The bill , like the popular-media “CAM” reports that Steve Novella criticized on Wednesday, merely parrots what these naturopaths claim about themselves. It reveals no attempt to investigate or to judge the tenets of the field. The following excerpts present...

/ June 13, 2008

Forks in the road

It’s been decades since the onslaught of organized quackery began against science and reason. Although most physicians are still capable of reasoning, the percentage of medical graduates whose brains have been cleansed of that ability seems to have increased. Either the brains have been cleansed or they have learned to coexist with unreason and to use both functions simultaneously. The latter is...

/ June 12, 2008

The Media and “CAM”

Recently I have been generally critical of how mainstream media deals with scientific topics. Science is often complex and requires hard work and diligence on the part of a journalist to get the story right. In recent years mainstream news outlets have been downsizing or eliminating their science journalists and tasking general reporters and editors to handle science stories. Meanwhile, as science...

/ June 11, 2008