When should I get the influenza vaccine?

I was asked this question by one of my infection control practitioners. We started offering the flu vaccine the first week of October and some have delayed getting the shot for fear that immunity will not last the season. She pointed me to this NPR article, “Yes, It Is Possible To Get Your Flu Shot Too Soon,” as driving the fear of...

/ October 14, 2016
Kenneth Woliner

Is there a distinct standard of care for “integrative” physicians? The Woliner case

We at SBM argue that there should be a single, science-based standard of care in medicine. Unfortunately, with the rise of "complementary and alternative medicine" (CAM) also called "integrative medicine," there is a separate standard emerging that allows CAM practitioners to get away with using unproven and disproven treatments. The case of Dr. Kenneth Woliner illustrates this problem.

/ October 13, 2016

Researching the Magic of Homeopathy

A Canadian academic, Dr. Mark Loeb, who is a respected infectious disease researcher who knows how to conduct high quality research, wants to study homeopathic nosodes. Nosodes are essentially homeopathic vaccines. Tim Caulfield, a Canadian professor of health law and policy, thinks the study is misguided and unethical. The two are having a respectful public debate about the risks and merits of...

/ October 12, 2016

A Credible Placebo Control for Chiropractic Research

The research on chiropractic has been far from rigorous. One of the problems is that studies of spinal manipulation therapy (SMT) can’t be double blinded, and it is very difficult to even do single blinding. So most studies resort to non-manipulation control groups like “usual care” or “wait list” or “pain medication.” Those studies are practically guaranteed to lead to false positive...

/ October 11, 2016
hillary-clinton-donald-trump-presidential-debate

In which we are accused of “polarization-based medicine”

A little over a month ago, I wrote about how proponents of “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM), now more frequently called “integrative medicine,” go to great lengths to claim nonpharmacological treatments for, well, just about anything as somehow being CAM or “integrative.” The example I used was a systematic review article published by several of the bigwigs at that government font of...

/ October 10, 2016

Pulp Fiction

As so often happens at Science Based Medicine, the inspiration for today’s post comes from a reader of the blog, seeking evidence-based advice and references after receiving conflicting (and perhaps even contradictory) information from other sources. On one hand, it saddens me when people get bad advice from health care professionals or elsewhere, whether it’s from their “regular” doctor, an “alternative” practitioner,...

/ October 7, 2016
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Another way ibuprofen can kill us?

Do you ever take ibuprofen? Naproxen? Cold medication with an anti-inflammatory ingredient? The non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are among our most well-loved medications. We start giving them in infancy, for fever, and continue use through to adulthood for everyday aches and pains. But it’s our later stages of life when we really ramp up the use, and daily consumption becomes common for...

/ October 6, 2016

FDA Warns About Homeopathic Teething Products

The FDA recently put out a consumer warning about homeopathic teething gels and pills. The warning states: The FDA recommends that consumers stop using these products and dispose of any in their possession. The warning is not because all homeopathic products are inherently useless. As we have discussed here often, the basic principles of homeopathy are pure pseudoscience. The practice of diluting...

/ October 5, 2016

Plavinol and Other Natural Remedies for Diabetes: “Condimentary Medicine”?

We don’t yet have a cure for diabetes, but we have insulin; it controls the disease and allows Type 1 diabetics to lead a relatively normal life instead of suffering and quickly dying as they all did in the pre-insulin era. We know to counsel Type 2 diabetics about weight loss, diet, and exercise; and when those measures are not enough, we...

/ October 4, 2016

When science- and evidence-based guidelines conflict with patient wishes: What’s a doc to do?

There’s a misconception that I frequently hear about evidence-based medicine (EBM), which can equally apply to science-based medicine (SBM). Actually, there are several, but they are related. These misconceptions include the idea that EBM/SBM guidelines are a straightjacket, that they are “cookbook medicine,” and that EBM/SBM should be the be-all and end-all of how to practice clinical medicine. New readers might not...

/ October 3, 2016