Tag: science based medicine

The hijacking of evidence-based medicine

A hero of the blog, John Ioannidis, worries that evidence-based medicine has been hijacked, and when Ioannidis says something we at SBM listen. But has EBM been "hijacked"?

/ March 21, 2016

What naturopaths say to each other when they think no one’s listening, part 2

It’s said that the true test of a person’s character is what he or she does and says when no one is watching. When it comes to science and medicine, naturopaths fail that test of character. Again. Antivaccine views and quackery? It's all there, with a dollop of paranoia.

/ February 22, 2016

On “integrative medicine” and walking and chewing gum at the same time

Evidence matters. Science matters. However, when advocates of "integrating" quackery into medicine via the vehicle of "integrative medicine" invoke weak science and poor quality evidence in conventional medicine in response to criticism, what they are really doing is deflecting attention away from their quackery. More importantly, advocates of science-based medicine are capable of walking and chewing gum at the same time. We...

/ November 16, 2015

Choosing Wisely: Changing medical practice is hard

One of the hardest things to do in medicine is to change practice in the face of scientific evidence that what you're doing isn't working. Quacks never change, but medicine does. The change might be slower and messier than we would like, but change does happen. Choosing Wisely is an initiative designed to bring about change by discouraging the use of interventions...

/ October 19, 2015

We Should Abandon the Concept of “Alternative Medicine”

In a recent editorial for the New York Times, Aaron E. Carroll argues, “Labels Like ‘Alternative Medicine’ Don’t Matter. The Science Does.” I agree with this headline thesis, but the details of his argument ironically show the harm that the so-called CAM (complementary and alternative medicine) movement has done. Carroll starts out well, essentially pointing out that the division between “conventional” and...

/ August 12, 2015

In which I steal a title: Is medicine a scientific enterprise?

A week ago, I attended the Center For Inquiry Reason for Change Conference, where I participated in a panel on—what else?—alternative medicine with—who else?—Harriet Hall and our fearless leader Steve Novella. Before the panel, we all gave brief talks on areas that we consider important. As you might expect, I chose to give a brief introduction to what I like to call...

/ June 22, 2015

Remembering Wallace Sampson

I’m sad to report that Dr. Wallace (Wally) Sampson, one of the original authors at Science-Based Medicine, passed away on May 25th at the age of 85. Wally was a valued member of the SBM community, a mentor to many of us, and a tireless crusader against health fraud and pseudoscience in medicine. He carried the banner of defending science and reason...

/ June 3, 2015

Don’t just stand there, do nothing! The difference between science-based medicine and quackery

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines science as: Knowledge about or study of the natural world based on facts learned through experiments and observation. And: Knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding. While this should distinguish science from pseudoscience, those who practice the latter often lay claim to the same definition. But one of the major differences between science and pseudoscience is that science...

/ May 22, 2015

Integrative medicine, naturopathy, and David Katz’s “more fluid concept of evidence”

Dr. David Katz is undoubtedly a heavy hitter in the brave new world of “integrative medicine,” a specialty that seeks to “integrate” pseudoscience with science, nonsense, with sense, and quackery with real medicine. In fairness, that’s not the way physicians like Dr. Katz see it. Rather, they see it as “integrating” the “best of both worlds” to the benefit of patients. However,...

/ April 6, 2015

Medicine past, present, and future: Star Trek versus Dr. Kildare and The Knick

I love the new Cinemax series The Knick, which is set in 1900 and portrays a brilliant maverick surgeon named Dr. John Thackery on the cutting edge of medicine at the time. I also love Star Trek's Dr. "Bones" McCoy and have recently come to like the old radio show featuring Dr. Kildare. Looking at how the three shows portray medicine in...

/ September 15, 2014