Results for: 5g

Cinnamon for diabetes? The consequences of “natural alternatives”

A customer strolled up to the counter one night when I was working in a retail pharmacy: “My doctor says I have prediabetes. I don’t want to take any drugs. Do you have something natural I can use to cut my blood sugar?” I looked at him in the eye, and pointed at his sizeable midsection. “Sir, if you’re at risk for...

/ August 16, 2012

RISUG: Birth Control for Men

According to an enthusiastic article on the Internet, “The Best Birth Control In the World Is For Men.” It’s called RISUG: Reversible Inhibition of Sperm Under Guidance. It involves a minor surgical procedure in which the vas deferens is exposed and pulled outside the scrotum by the same techniques used for a vasectomy. A copolymer, powdered styrene maleic anhydride (SMA, for which...

/ May 15, 2012

The problem with preclinical research? Or: A former pharma exec discovers the nature of science

If there’s one thing about quacks, it’s that they are profoundly hostile to science. Actually, they have a seriously mixed up view of science in that they hate it because it doesn’t support what they believe. Yet at the same time they very much crave the imprimatur that science provides. When science tells them they are wrong, they therefore often try to...

/ April 23, 2012

Dr. Oz revisited

We here at SBM have been very critical of Dr. Mehmet Oz, who through his relentless self-promotion (and with more than a little help from his patron Oprah Winfrey) has somehow become known as “America’s doctor.” Back in the early days, when he was the regular medical expert on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Oz was at least tolerable. Much of what...

/ February 27, 2012

Train Therapy

Summertime and the living is busy.  Finally we have sun in the Northwest.  While the rest of the country has been melting in heat, this year we have rarely cracked 85.  Global heating has avoided Oregon this year, and I will need some green tomato recipes.  Good weather, work is busy, and it is the last two weeks with my eldest before...

/ August 12, 2011

Placebo Prescriptions

Whether it’s acupuncture, homeopathy or the latest supplement, placebo effects can be difficult to distinguish from real effects. Today’s post sets aside the challenge of identifying placebo effects and look at how placebos are used in routine medical practice.  I’ve been a pharmacist for almost 20 years, and have never seen a placebo in practice, where the patient was actively deceived by...

/ May 12, 2011

“Motivated reasoning,” alternative medicine, and the anti-vaccine movement

One theme that we at Science-Based Medicine keep revisiting again and again is not so much a question of the science behind medical therapies (although we do discuss that issue arguably more than any other) but rather a question of why. Why is it that so many people cling so tenaciously to pseudoscience, quackery, and, frequently, conspiracy theories used by believers to...

/ May 2, 2011

Crank “scientific” conferences: A parody of science-based medicine that can deceive even reputable scientists and institutions

Quacks crave respectability. To try to gain it, they often don the trappings of real medicine, such as holding medical conferences. To the uninitiated, such conferences can even look respectable. They aren't.

/ September 21, 2009

‘Acupuncture Anesthesia’ Redux: another Skeptic and an Unfortunate Misportrayal at the NCCAM

A neglected skeptic Near the end of my series* on ‘Acupuncture Anesthesia’, I wrote this: Most Westerners—Michael DeBakey and John Bonica being exceptions—who observed ‘acupuncture anesthesia’ in China during the Cultural Revolution seem to have failed to recognize what was going on right under their noses. I should have added—and I now have—Arthur Taub’s name to that tiny, exceptional group. Taub, a neurologist and...

/ July 24, 2009

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