Can Magnets Heal?

Belief in the healing power of magnets and magnetic fields has existed since the discovery of magnets several thousand years ago. In the late 18th century, Franz Anton Mesmer, an infamous charlatan, promoted the notion that he could heal with “animal magnetism.” In the 19th century magnetic healers were common – D.D. Palmer was a magnetic healer prior to founding chiropractic. Magnetic...

/ January 9, 2008

Snake Oil Science

For my first blog entry, I wanted to write about something important, and I couldn’t think of anything more important than a recent book by R. Barker Bausell: Snake Oil Science: The Truth About Complementary and Alternative Medicine. If you want to understand how medical research works, if you want to know what can lead patients and scientists to false conclusions, if...

/ January 8, 2008
Thimerosal, the molecule that doesn't cause autism.

Mercury in vaccines as a cause of autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASDs): A failed hypothesis

Mercury. It sounds very, very scary, particularly when you learn it was in some vaccines in the form of thimerosal. Fortunately, science tells us that thimerosal does not cause autism or neurologic injury, contrary to what antivaccinationists tell us.

/ January 7, 2008

Who am I? Why am I here?

“Who am I? Why am I here?” Who could forget that memorable quote from Admiral James Stockdale, candidate for Vice President running with Ross Perot in 1992, during the first Vice Presidential debate? In a way, as the seemingly junior member of the crew of bloggers assembled here at Science-Based Medicine, I feel as though I should be asking that question, although...

/ January 7, 2008

Homeopathy and Evidence-Based Medicine: Back to the Future – Part I

Either homeopathy works or controlled trials don’t! —Scottish homeopath David Reilly at the 2001 Harvard Medical School Complementary and Integrative Medicine Conference. Reilly based that assertion on his own series of four small studies of homeopathic treatments of hay fever, asthma, and allergic rhinitis, the outcomes of which had been inconsistent and largely subjective. (1) Later he explained that small-minded skeptics in...

/ January 4, 2008

The Plant vs Pharmaceutical False Dichotomy

A recent web feature produced by the New York Times tells the story of Chris Kilham, “The Medicine Hunter.” Specifically it recounts his thoughts on the use of maca, a root native to South America, “said to have energy and libido enhancing properties,” according to the piece. The brief piece reflects the current attitudes popular in the public and promoted by mainstream...

/ January 2, 2008
Welcome to our debut!

Announcing the Science-Based Medicine Blog

Science-Based Medicine is a new daily science blog dedicated to promoting the highest standards and traditions of science in medicine and health care. The mission of this blog is to scientifically examine medical and health topics of interest to the public. This includes reviewing newly published studies, examining dubious products and claims, providing much needed scientific balance to the often credulous health...

/ January 1, 2008