Science-Based Medicine

Prove the scientific consensus and win a prize: A time-dishonored PR ploy used by cranks, quacks, and pseudoscientists (Robert F. Kennedy Jr. edition) (Mo, 20 Feb 2017)
Last week, antivaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. teamed up with Robert De Niro to issued a challenge to provide one scientific study that proves thimerosal in vaccines is safe, with a cash prize of $100,000. They thus joined a long line of antivaxers, creationists, and climate science denialists offering money to "prove" the scientific consensus. Science doesn't work that way.
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Corrigendum. The Week in Review for 02/19/2017 (So, 19 Feb 2017)
More poorly done acupuncture studies. Burzynski eats just desserts. Italians like homeopathy. New Jersey is going after Oregon. And more
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Spinal Manipulation for Back and Neck Pain: Does It Work? Annotated. (Fr, 17 Feb 2017)
Spinal Manipulation for Back and Neck Pain: Does It Work? You would think it does if you read the article but not if you actually read the literature.
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Turning chiropractors into primary care physicians via Legislative Alchemy (Do, 16 Feb 2017)
Via the magic of Legislative Alchemy, chiropractic lobbyists are trying to to convince state legislators to expand chiropractic scope of practice so they can rebrand as primary care physicians.
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Regulating Health Care Products (Mi, 15 Feb 2017)
How should we optimally regulate health care products to protect consumers? A conversation with the Acting Chairman of the FTC.
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Natural Remedies for Diabetes: Plavinol, Glucopure (Di, 14 Feb 2017)
There is not enough evidence to support using dietary supplements in the treatment of diabetes. There is preliminary evidence that some herbs lower blood sugar by a modest amount, but it would be foolish to think they could replace conventional treatment of diabetes.
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In 2017, are antivaxers winning? (Mo, 13 Feb 2017)
The election of Donald Trump as President has emboldened antivaxers, because they quite rightly sense that he is one of them. His inauguration as President, combined with other trends, have led observers to ask the question: Are antivaxers winning, or will 2017 be the year of the antivaxer?
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Corrigendum. The week in review for 02/12/2017 (Mo, 13 Feb 2017)
The week in review. Chiropractic and stroke. Integrative Medical doctors don’t trust vaccines. Death from medical marijuana. Shilajit: compost or mulch oozing from Himalayan rocks. India goes full Tuskeegee with AIDS. And more!
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Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. promotes an awful epidemiology study linking vaccines and neurological conditions from…Yale? (So, 12 Feb 2017)
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has never seen a lousy study linking vaccines to bad things that he didn't like. This is no exception. Oddly enough, this study was funded and carried out by a lawyer and an investment banker, with the help of an eminent Yale pediatrician. Of course, the study doesn't show what RFK Jr. thinks it shows.
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Vaginal Seeding: To Swab or Not to Swab Your Newborn Baby (Fr, 10 Feb 2017)
More mothers are requesting vaginal seeding, but does the evidence support this potentially risky intervention?
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Do anti-inflammatory drugs effectively treat spinal pain? (Do, 09 Feb 2017)
While anti-inflammatory drugs are commonly used to treat back pain, a new review suggests that they may not provide meaningful benefits to most people.
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Russian Academy of Sciences Calls Homeopathy Pseudoscience (Mi, 08 Feb 2017)
That homeopathy is pure pseudoscience is not news. Its basic principles are essentially magic, and the preparation of homeopathic products is indistinguishable from brewing a magic potion. Its two core principles, as the commission states, are a priori dogma - that like cures like, and that diluting substances out of existence leaves behind their magical essence. Science has progressed over two centuries since these ideas were invented, and they remain just as much pseudoscience as they every were - more, in fact, because the more we learn about chemistry, biology, and physics the less plausible homeopathy becomes.
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Re-thinking Antioxidant Supplementation for Macular Degeneration (Di, 07 Feb 2017)
After the AREDS trial, people with moderate to severe age-related macular degeneration were advised to take dietary supplements to slow the progression of the disease. But some experts say the trial actually showed supplements don't work, and might even make some patients worse.
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Donald Trump versus the FDA: Is the standard of evidence for drug approval actually too low rather than too high? (Mo, 06 Feb 2017)
All of the candidates being considered by President Trump for FDA Commissioner believe that the FDA is too strict in its standards for approving new drugs. In a commentary in Nature last week, two bioethicists argued that, at least in terms of preclinical data, the standard of evidence is actually too low. Which is correct?
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Corrigendum: The week in review for 2/5/2017 (Mo, 06 Feb 2017)
Drinking hydrogen peroxide kills. Homeopaths don't care if their nostrums kill children. Acupuncture is placebo. But you knew that. Saudi Arabia bans reiki for the damnedest reasons. Eating placentas. And more!
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Elemonics – Nothing but a dance and a tune (So, 05 Feb 2017)
When it comes to quackery and pseudoscience, Mike Adams of NaturalNews.com has few peers. Amusingly, he thinks he's a scientist, too, and he's at it again.
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Board Disciplinary Actions. What Naturopaths Really Do Not Want You To Know (Fr, 03 Feb 2017)
Disciplinary actions against ND's in Oregon by the Board. How to find them and what they are.
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Battles over non-medical exemptions to vaccination festering in state legislatures (Do, 02 Feb 2017)
Bills to eliminate, as well as to add, non-medical exemptions to school vaccination requirements are pending in state legislatures. Some bills make harder to claim an exemption. Others discourage vaccination by requiring “misinformed consent" and weakening public health officials' ability to act.
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Communicating with the Locked In (update) (Mi, 01 Feb 2017)
Researchers have made an incremental advance in using imaging and computers to communicate with patients who are completely locked-in. Let's review the state of this technology.
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Pink Himalayan Sea Salt: An Update (Di, 31 Jan 2017)
The claims of health benefits from pink Himalayan sea salt are not supported by a shred of evidence. In fact, its vaunted “84 trace minerals and elements” include several poisons and many radioactive elements.
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“Detox”: Ritual purification masquerading as medicine and wellness (Mo, 30 Jan 2017)
If the "central dogma" of alternative medicine is that wishing makes it so, one of the most important of the other organizing dogmas of alternative medicine is that "toxins," whether they come from inside or outside, are making us sick and that we can't be healthy until we "detoxify." This is far more a religious belief than a science-based one.
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Corrigendum. The Week in SBM for 01.29.2017 (Mo, 30 Jan 2017)
Not every article and study that pops up my feeds in the world of pseudo-medicine is worthy of a complete blog post. But they need to be noticed and commented upon: FDA confirms elevated levels of belladonna in certain homeopathic teething products. Homeopaths prove water not toxic to fish. Lots of acupuncture recommendations, little good data. Everything is CAM. And more! Duty Calls.
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Acupuncture for Infant Colic Part 2: Acupuncture Boogaloo (Fr, 27 Jan 2017)
A detailed discussion of infant colic plus a few more thoughts on why acupuncture does not play a role in science-based management.
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How accurately do physicians estimate risk and benefit? (Do, 26 Jan 2017)
A new study suggests that physicians tend to overestimate the benefits of treatments, tests, and screening tests, while also underestimating harms.
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Acupuncture for Infantile Colic (Mi, 25 Jan 2017)
Another low-quality acupuncture study falls victim to p-hacking and spreads unsupported claims for the efficacy of this failed treatment.
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Flame Retardants Have Ignited a Flaming Controversy (Di, 24 Jan 2017)
Flame retardants are controversial: proponents say they reduce fire damage and save lives; critics say they don't work, are poisoning our environment, and should be banned.
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How reproducible is basic lab research in cancer biology? (Mo, 23 Jan 2017)
Last week, a review of the reproducibility of several highly cited cancer biology papers was published. The results were mixed and demonstrate how difficult reproducing published results can be at times—and how scientists need to do better.
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Corrigendum. The week in SBM for 1.22.2017 (Mo, 23 Jan 2017)
Not every article and study that pops up my feeds in the world of pseudo-medicine is worthy of a complete blog post. But they need to be noticed and commented upon: Liver toxicity from herbs. Popped lungs from acupuncture. Chiropractic does not help scoliosis. Yoga is just exercise. There are eight kinds of wind: Great Feathery Wind, Scheming Wind, Hard Wind, Great Hard Wind, Ferocious Wind, Infant’s Wind, Feathery Wind and, yes, Breaking Wind. And more! Duty Calls.
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Chinese BioMedical Research: Sturgeon’s Law In Action (Fr, 20 Jan 2017)
A Chinese government investigation has found that 80%, yes eighty percent, of Chinese biomedical research is fabricated. I bet that is an underestimate for Traditional Chinese Pseudo-Medicine.
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Junk science helps homeopathic remedy company win class action (Do, 19 Jan 2017)
Junk science from two of homeopathy's biggest apologists help Hyland's defeat a class action lawsuit for consumer false advertising claims, and nixed refunds for ineffective homeopathic remedies.
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