Science-Based Medicine

Increase In Supplement Poisonings (Mi, 26 Jul 2017)
Current supplement regulations in the US (and many countries) are overtly anti-consumer and pro-industry, and are the direct result of aggressive industry lobbying and having powerful senators in their pocket. The rise in calls to poison control for supplements are just one manifestation of this situation.
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AllerVarx: A Questionable Remedy for Allergic Rhinitis (Di, 25 Jul 2017)
AllerVarx, a new dietary supplement, claims to relieve nasal allergy symptoms, but the only "evidence" is a single disreputable clinical trial with no control group. There is no reason to try this unproven remedy when there are so many effective remedies offered by mainstream medicine.
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Gwyneth Paltrow and Goop: Another triumph of celebrity pseudoscience and quackery (Mo, 24 Jul 2017)
Earlier this month, the hostilities between Gwyneth Paltrow's den of celebrity pseudoscience and quackery, her "lifestyle" website and store Goop, and skeptics erupted into open warfare, as Goop attacked Dr. Jen Gunter, an OB/GYN, blogger, and frequent critic of the pseudoscience published and sold by Goop. This leads to the question: Who are the physicians facilitating Paltrow and Goop? And does debunking nonsense as ridiculous as that peddled by Paltrow and her minions do any good?
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Johrei: The next energy healing craze? (Fr, 21 Jul 2017)
Johrei appears to be a flavor of reiki. Is it supported by better evidence? Of course not.
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Naturopathic conquest of New England nears completion (Do, 20 Jul 2017)
Rhode Island is poised to become the latest state to succumb to the false notion that licensing naturopathic “doctors” will protect the public health and safety, making naturopathic conquest of New England complete.
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New Review of Artificial Sweeteners (Mi, 19 Jul 2017)
A new review of research finds a modest but inconsistent benefit from consuming artificial sweeteners over sugar. Their conclusion of a possible backfire effect, however, does not seem to be supported by the studies they review.
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Most Patients Get No Benefit from Most Drugs (Di, 18 Jul 2017)
Some people are reluctant to take statins because they don't benefit the majority of patients who take them. Actually, most drugs don't benefit most of the patients who take them. Since we have no way of identifying those who will benefit, we are stuck treating the many to benefit the few.
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Sen. Ron Johnson: Holding the bill funding the FDA hostage unless the cruel sham that is right-to-try is added to it (Di, 18 Jul 2017)
Advocates claim that "right-to-try" laws help terminally patients by allowing them access to experimental drugs before approval, when, in fact, such laws strip legal and regulatory protections from patients using such drugs and their purpose is actually to undermine and weaken the FDA. Now advocates led by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) are making a new push to pass right-to-try by embedding it in the very law that authorizes the FDA to collect fees from companies seeking FDA approval for their products. They might well succeed.
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Does chemotherapy cause cancer to spread? (Mo, 17 Jul 2017)
Earlier this month, a study was published in Science Translational Medicine that showed how chemotherapy before surgery can stimulate breast cancer invasiveness and invasion under certain circumstances. Not surprisingly, alternative cancer cure mavens everywhere are spinning the study as "proof" that chemotherapy has no benefit and causes only harm (and so you should by their nostrums instead). Unsurprisingly, the actual results are far more nuanced. They do not demonstrate that chemotherapy is ineffective but rather point the way forward to improving chemotherapy regimens.
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Placentophagy and the Risk of Invasive Neonatal GBS Disease (Fr, 14 Jul 2017)
A young infant has suffered an invasive and potentially deadly bacterial infection...twice! Now the CDC is warning that maternal placentophagy may have played a role.
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Australian review: Get homeopathy out of pharmacies (Do, 13 Jul 2017)
An independent review of Australian pharmacy practice has recommended that homeopathic products be kept out of pharmacies.
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Brain Wave Pseudoscience (Mi, 12 Jul 2017)
iSynchrony has put together a plausible-sounding bit of bafflegab to justify what it sells. The reality of neurology is against their claims.
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What the Health: A Movie with an Agenda (Di, 11 Jul 2017)
The documentary "What the Health" espouses the fairy tale that all major diseases (heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and many others) can be prevented and cured by eliminating meat and dairy from the diet. It is a blatant polemic for veganism, biased and misleading, and is not a reliable source of scientific information.
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Trump’s new CDC Director is very pro-vaccine, but was she also at one time a quack? (Mo, 10 Jul 2017)
On Friday, Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Tom Price announced the appointment of Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald to head the CDC. Reassuringly, her record as Georgia Public Health Commissioner was pro-vaccine and relatively non-ideological. Not so reassuringly, a news report yesterday found that before entering public service she was peddling anti-aging quackery at her private practice. Where will her balance fall now with respect to public health science now that she is CDC director?
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Chiropractic and Spinal Manipulation Red Flags: A Comprehensive Review (Fr, 07 Jul 2017)
Many people visit chiropractors’ offices seeking relief from back pain. Appropriate use of spinal manipulation provided by a chiropractor can be helpful in treating mechanical-type back pain, but there are good reasons to avoid chiropractic manipulation based on correction of “vertebral subluxations,” and there are red flags to look for before undergoing any kind of manipulative treatment for neck or back pain.
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Chiropractic clinical training with pediatric patients or complicated cases: slim to none (Do, 06 Jul 2017)
Chiropractors may never have seen a pediatric patient or a complicated medical case in clinical training, yet they are allowed to go into practice with no age limits on who they see and few on the conditions they treat.
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Amish Farmer Jailed for Selling Snakeoil (Mi, 05 Jul 2017)
An Amish farmer is convicted of selling a caustic poison as patent medicine (and of witness tampering) and yet is defended by "alternative medicine" proponents who apparently want the freedom to be defrauded and harmed.
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Fun for the Fourth (Di, 04 Jul 2017)
Is it OK to laugh when we encounter a ridiculous claim in alternative medicine? This video lecture highlights some hilarious claims and encourages both laughter and appreciation of the human creativity involved.
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Emergency acupuncture! (Mo, 03 Jul 2017)
For whatever reason, acupuncturists and acupuncture believers think that acupuncture can be useful in emergency situations, be they in the field ("battlefield acupuncture," anyone?) or in the ER. They even do studies purporting to show that. This is yet another of such a clinical trial, albeit larger than usual. Guess what? It doesn't really show what it's advertised to show. I explain why with the help of the staff of Rampart General Hospital and the paramedics who bring patients there.
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Antibiotic Prophylaxis For Dental Procedures (Fr, 30 Jun 2017)
Transient bacteremia (bacteria in the bloodstream) is common after dental procedures, but it rarely causes a problem. So, who needs antibiotic prophylaxis before a dental procedure? What procedures? What does the science say?
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Adrenal fatigue: A fake disease (updated) (Do, 29 Jun 2017)
“Adrenal fatigue” is not a real medical condition, but some claim it is real and that medicine is ignoring it. What does the science say?
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The Skinny on Saturated Fat (Mi, 28 Jun 2017)
The bottom line is that there are trade-offs and complexities when it comes to biology. A high carbohydrate diet is a risk factor for many diseases, and this is highly genetically variable. Types of sugar matter, weight matters, exercise matters, and genetics matter. The same is true of fat.
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Consumer Reports Misses the Boat on Back Pain (Di, 27 Jun 2017)
Consumer Reports' recent articles on low back pain address anecdotal customer satisfaction rather than scientific evidence of effectiveness.
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Can mind-body practices “reprogram” our DNA? (Mo, 26 Jun 2017)
A recent systematic review has been touted as demonstrating that "mind-body" practices like yoga can reprogram our DNA. There are several reasons to doubt these claims, not the least of which is the history of bias in past studies on this topic.
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So Long and Thanks for All the SCAM (Fr, 23 Jun 2017)
So long/Farewell/Auf wiedersehen/Adu/Adu adu to you and you and you.
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“Chronic Lyme” VIP Daniel Cameron disciplined by New York medical authorities (Do, 22 Jun 2017)
"Chronic Lyme" guru Daniel Cameron, MD, has been put on 3-year probation by New York medical authorities. Will fellow "Lyme literate" doctors take note?
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Coconut Oil Warning (Mi, 21 Jun 2017)
Coconut oil is promoted as a health food, but a recent warning from the American Heart Association warns that coconut oil is very high in saturated fats and increases your risk for heart disease.
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Fun with Spanish Flu Myths (Di, 20 Jun 2017)
There are many myths about the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918. Some of them are pretty funny.
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The sad but unexpectedly hopeful cancer saga of Cassandra Callender (Mo, 19 Jun 2017)
I've frequently discussed the stories of teenagers with cancer who either refuse chemotherapy or whose parents refuse chemotherapy for them. The case of Cassandra Callender is the same, yet different, from many of these unfortunate and sad sagas in that she was older when diagnosed with cancer and that she realized her mistake. I can now only hope that it's not too late for science-based medicine to save her.
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The Ethics of Involuntary Pediatric Drug Testing (Fr, 16 Jun 2017)
Although it may seem like a good idea, testing for recreational drug use on an adolescent patient without consent is ethically questionable, challenging to interpret, and unlikely to benefit patient or family.
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