Science-Based Medicine

Gary Taubes and the Case Against Sugar (Di, 25 Apr 2017)
Gary Taubes writes that sugar is the cause of obesity and most chronic diseases. He makes a good case for the prosecution, but he doesn't convict.
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Outbreaks among Somali immigrants in Minnesota: Thanks for the measles again, Andy (Mo, 24 Apr 2017)
Andrew Wakefield's antivaccine propaganda film VAXXED claims that MMR vaccination causes autism in African American boys. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Wakefield has targeted people of color with antivaccine misinformation. Before there was VAXXED, Wakefield and antivaxers targeted Somali immigrants in Minnesota. Measles outbreaks have been the result.
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Corrigendum. The Week in Review for 04/23/2017 (Mo, 24 Apr 2017)
Protection from vampires. An autistic muppet upsets anti-vaxers. Naturopaths want insurance money. Big Chiro: what THEY don't want you to know. This blog is futile. And more.
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Separating Fact from Fiction in the Not-So-Normal Newborn Nursery: Undescended Testes in Babies (Fr, 21 Apr 2017)
There is a safe and effective science-based approach to the undescended testicle in newborns. This hasn't stopped some from proposing alternatives that are neither.
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Overtreating the thyroid (Do, 20 Apr 2017)
For decades there's been debate about whether thyroid medication is necessary for a mild form of thyroid dysfunction. A new trial helps answer that question.
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Responding to SBM Critics (Mi, 19 Apr 2017)
A response to a critic of SBM, and setting the record straight on our actual positions regarding evidence and the practice of medicine.
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Vital Stem: Affordable Stem Cell Treatments for Everyone? Anti-Aging Breakthrough? (Di, 18 Apr 2017)
Vital Stem is a dietary supplement mixture that supposedly reverses the changes of normal aging by increasing the body's production of stem cells. We can't know if it works, because it hasn't been tested.
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The cruel sham that is right-to-try raises its ugly head at the federal level again (Mo, 17 Apr 2017)
Ill-advised right-to-try bills are spreading like kudzu through state legislatures. Now federal legislators want to insert right-to-try language into the bill that funds FDA drug approval. Given the support of powerful Republicans like Vice President Mike Pence for right-to-try, is it too late to stop this juggernaut and protect patients?
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Corrigendum. The Week in Review for 04/16/2017 (Mo, 17 Apr 2017)
Mumps cases, like infected parotids, swell. Doctors win with false news?!? More acupuncture studies not recognized as negative. Paying for pseudo-medicine in Vermont. Your consciousness is in your organs. And more.
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California SB 277: New evidence that restricting nonmedical exemptions to school vaccine requirements works (So, 16 Apr 2017)
The 2016-2017 kindergarten numbers are in. SB 277, the new California law banning personal belief exemptions to school vaccine requirements, works as intended. Early numbers show that vaccine uptake has increased, and personal belief exemptions are down dramatically.
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Patients blinded by stem cell therapy: more egregious than you imagined (Sa, 15 Apr 2017)
Three patients were treated with a slurry of stem cells and blood products, in both eyes, on the same day. Could the outcome, three patients becoming legally blind, have been foreseen? Probably.
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Naturopathic Experiences: Remembrance of things past. (Fr, 14 Apr 2017)
Interacting with patients who also get care from naturopaths: uncomfortable dilemmas.
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Legislative Alchemy 2017: Naturopaths push licensing and practice expansion while in damage control over IV turmeric death (Do, 13 Apr 2017)
Naturopaths are in damage control mode over the death of a naturopathic patient due to turmeric infusion, even as they lobby state legislatures for licensing and practice expansion.
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Naturopathic Death From IV Turmeric (Mi, 12 Apr 2017)
A recent death from IV curcumin exposes the weaknesses in the evidence for curcumin/turmeric and the naturopathic profession.
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How Do Doctors Learn to Diagnose, and Can Machines Learn to Do It Too? (Di, 11 Apr 2017)
Siddhartha Mukherjee weighs in on how doctors arrive at a diagnosis and how computers can assist but not replace them.
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Medical science policy in the U.S. under Donald Trump eighty days in (Mo, 10 Apr 2017)
A week after Donald Trump was elected, I speculated about how he would affect medical science policy. Now, 80 days into the Trump administration, we have some observations.
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Corrigendum. The Week in Review for 04/09/2017 (So, 09 Apr 2017)
The NECSS is coming. Acupuncturists mimic chiropractic. Flu vaccine prevents death. In the UK they care more for cats than people. The problem is my middle burner, not too many burgers. And more.
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Nope, Quenepa Has No Health Benefits. (Sa, 08 Apr 2017)
Is quenepa, a fruit found in the Caribbean, Central, and South America, a miracle superfood? Spoiler alert - no. No it's not.
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Do Canadian Babies Really Cry the Most? (Fr, 07 Apr 2017)
Despite an exaggerated and largely inaccurate interpretation by the media, a recently published study in the Journal of Pediatrics does little to update our understanding of infant crying and colic.
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Ignorance is Strength? (Do, 06 Apr 2017)
Findings from a recent consultation suggest that consumers don't want health claims to be supported by evidence. Do consumers really prefer ignorance over evidence? Or is this the product of a industry campaign to derail new, science-based regulations?
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Nigeria Court Ruling on Benzene in Soft Drinks (Mi, 05 Apr 2017)
A Nigerian court condemned the current level of benzene found in local soft drinks. Was this decision reasonable given the evidence? Is there something else going on here?
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Treating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Graded Exercise Therapy: How the PACE Trial Got It Wrong (Di, 04 Apr 2017)
The PACE trial found that cognitive behavioral therapy and graded exercise therapy were effective treatments for chronic fatigue syndrome and could produce recovery in 22% of patients. It seems they got it wrong.
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Contrary to what we are frequently told, we are not “losing the war on cancer” (Mo, 03 Apr 2017)
A common narrative about cancer is that we are making no progress in our fight against it. Fortunately, the actual data do not agree. Yes, too many people still die of cancer and progress is slow, but it's not correct to claim that we are losing the war on cancer.
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Corrigendum. The Week in Review for 04/02/2017 (So, 02 Apr 2017)
Death from vaccine-preventable infections. Homeopathy and acupuncture do not work. There is a difference between cost and worth. And more.
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Vitamin C and Sepsis. All Sound and Fury? Much Ado About Nothing? (Fr, 31 Mär 2017)
Is intravenous vitamin C helpful in sepsis? I hope so, but past experience render me skeptical.
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CVS selling homeopathic remedies: It gets personal (Do, 30 Mär 2017)
I almost purchased a worthless homeopathic eye remedy at CVS for a cancer patient. I'm taking action to try to stop this from happening to others.
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The Three Phantoms of Homeopathy (Mi, 29 Mär 2017)
Homeopathy claims it works through a variety of mechanisms which, when explored, merely demonstrates just how little homeopaths actually know about science.
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Stem Cells for Macular Degeneration: Meticulous Science vs. Unethical Carelessness (Di, 28 Mär 2017)
Rigorous scientists stabilized a patient’s macular degeneration with a cutting-edge stem cell treatment; less rigorous scientists misapplied stem cell science and left three women blind.
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Did cannabis oil save Deryn Blackwell, the “boy in seven billion,” when his bone marrow transplant for two cancers was failing? (Mo, 27 Mär 2017)
In a forthcoming book The Boy in 7 Billion, Callie Blackwell claims that cannabis oil, which she had started giving her son Deryn to relieve his symptoms during a bone marrow transplant for two cancers, actually saved his life when the bone marrow transplant appeared to be failing. Unfortunately, her story appears to be another testimonial that confuses correlation with causation.
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Corrigendum. The Week in Review. 03/26/2017 (Mo, 27 Mär 2017)
Death from naturopathy. Cows and soldiers have a similar problem. Pseudo-medicines never die. Chiropractic complications. And more.
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