Category: Medical Academia

Pseudoscience North: What’s happening to the University of Toronto?

  Today’s post is a reluctant challenge. I’m nominating my own alma mater, the University of Toronto, as the new pseudoscience leader among large universities – not just in Canada, but all of North America. If you can identify a large university promoting or embracing more scientifically questionable activities, I’ll happily buy you a coffee. Yes, it’s personal to me, as I...

/ February 26, 2015

Communicating Health Science News

A recent study addresses the problem of sensationalism in the communication of science news, an issue we deal with on a regular basis. The study was titled “The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study“. The results show two interesting things – that university press releases frequently overhype the results of studies, and that...

/ December 17, 2014
Society of Integrative Oncology

Selling “integrative oncology” as a monograph in JNCI

The Society of Integrative Oncology publishes its "evidence-based" guidelines for the supportive care of breast cancer patients, along with a whole lot of musings on integrating quackery with medicine. But are the guidelines science-based? I think you know the answer to that one.

/ December 1, 2014
Chairman Mao propaganda poster

Retconning the story of traditional Chinese medicine

Proponents of "integrating" traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) into medicine paint a tale of an ancient, unified system of medicine that's been tested over at least two millennia and found to be effective. The real story is very different and is best explained with a term more commonly used to discuss comic books. Basically, the "integration" of TCM into "Western medicine" is nothing...

/ November 10, 2014
The Cleveland Clinic Foundation

Quackademia update: The Cleveland Clinic, George Washington University, and the continued infiltration of quackery into medical academia

Quackery has been steadily infiltrating academic medicine for at least two decades now in the form of what was once called “complementary and alternative medicine” but is now more commonly referred to as “integrative medicine.” Of course, as I’ve written many times before, what “integrative medicine” really means is the “integration” of quackery with science- and evidence-based medicine, to the detriment of...

/ September 29, 2014

Tens of millions for CAM research — and it’s all on your dime

The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA) was signed on September 26, 2006. The intent is to empower every American with the ability to hold the government accountable for each spending decision. The end result is to reduce wasteful spending in the government. The FFATA legislation requires information on federal awards (federal financial assistance and expenditures) be made available to the...

/ August 21, 2014
Head in Hands

Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine research conference disappoints even NCCAM

In May, the International Research Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health (IRCIMH) conference was held in Miami. In the words of its website, the conference was “convened by” the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine (CAHCIM), “in association with” the International Society for Complementary Medicine Research. As CAHCIM chirped in this tweet: “Three days, 22 countries, 100 academic medical institutions,...

/ July 10, 2014
Trojan Rabbit

“Integrative oncology”: The Trojan horse that is quackademic medicine infiltrates ASCO

You might have noticed that I didn’t produce a post last week, something that’s unusual for me, given how prolific I have been in the blogosphere. One reason was personal. The other reason was that last weekend I was attending the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting in Chicago. I also must confess that, while I was...

/ June 9, 2014

Of the Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy, Bayes, the NIH, and Human Studies Ethics

An experiment is ethical or not at its inception; it does not become ethical post hoc—ends do not justify means. ~ Henry K. Beecher A couple of weeks ago, Dr. Josephine Briggs, the Director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), posted a short essay on the NCCAM Research Blog touting the results of the Trial to Assess Chelation...

/ May 30, 2014

What’s in a name?: NCCAM tries to polish a turd

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet; So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d, Retain that dear perfection which he owes Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name, And for that name which is no part of thee Take all myself. William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene 2...

/ May 19, 2014