Science-Based Medicine

Just How Addictive Are Opioids? (Di, 22 Jan 2019)
There is an opioid epidemic, with increasing overdose deaths from both prescription drugs and illegal drugs. Just how addictive are opioids? It appears they are safe when used appropriately, but there is a high risk of abuse, and they are deadly when misused, especially OxyContin.
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Clínica 0-19: False hope in Monterrey for brain cancer patients (part 4) (Mon, 21 Jan 2019)
Last week, Annabelle Potts, a girl with the deadly brain cancer DIPG, passed away. She had made the news in Australia and worldwide because she had been treated at Clínica 0-19 in Monterrey, Mexico, where Drs. Alberto Garcia and Alberto Siller treat DIPG patients with a secret unproven mix of intra-arterial chemotherapy injected directly into the arteries feeding the brainstem, all while charging tens of thousands of dollars a pop. Also, I was sent an email by a mother who had taken her child with DIPG to Monterrey and gave me permission to publish her story. These two events told me it was time to revisit these cancer quacks.
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Elephants, Herpes, and Protests: A Zoo Tragedy Distorted (Fri, 18 Jan 2019)
There has been a recent kerfuffle over the death of a young elephant from elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus hemorrhagic disease. Was it the zoo's fault? Probably not.
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“Right to try” laws create tremendous legal uncertainties; FDA expanded access preferable (Thu, 17 Jan 2019)
The Goldwater Institute and the Kochs pushed "right to try" laws in an attempt to get rid of FDA oversight of access to investigational drugs. Instead, they created tremendous legal uncertainties, making the FDA's expanded access program preferable for all.
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Frequency Specific Microcurrent (Wed, 16 Jan 2019)
Frequency Specific Microcurrents is a dubious energy medicine treatment in the tradition of Albert Abrams.
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Critical Thinking in Medicine (Tue, 15 Jan 2019)
Cognitive Errors and Diagnostic Mistakes is a superb new guide to critical thinking in medicine written by Jonathan Howard. It explains how our psychological foibles regularly bias and betray us, leading to diagnostic mistakes. Learning critical thinking skills is essential but difficult. Every known cognitive error is illustrated with memorable patient stories.
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Two integrative oncologists delude themselves that their specialty is science-based (Mon, 14 Jan 2019)
Integrative oncology "integrates" quackery with oncology. Its practitioners, however, frequently delude themselves that their specialty is science-based. A recent review article by two integrative oncologists from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center expresses that delusion perfectly.
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Breastfeeding Improvement Initiatives May Increase Risk of Newborn Falls (Fri, 11 Jan 2019)
Newborn falls during the postpartum period are a serious potential adverse event and are almost always a result of maternal fatigue. There is reason to be concerned that well-meaning but overzealous promotion of breastfeeding may increase the risk.
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Vitamin D supplements do not reduce the risk of cancer or cardiovascular disease (Thu, 10 Jan 2019)
Vitamin D has been widely touted as beneficial for preventing cancer and cardiovascular disease. A large, well-conducted clinical trial now show that it has no effect.
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Cancer Death Rate Continues to Decline (Wed, 09 Jan 2019)
The new data are in – cancer deaths continue to decline at a steady rate.
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Osteopenia: When Does Decreased Bone Density Become a Disease Requiring Treatment? (Tue, 08 Jan 2019)
Osteoporosis is routinely treated with bisphosphonates to prevent fractures. A new study suggests that osteopenia should be treated too. But questions remain.
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Crowdfunding: The fuel for cancer quackery (part 2) (Mon, 07 Jan 2019)
In September, The Good Thinking Society released a study estimating the scope of crowdfunding for cancer quackery in the UK. Now, Jeremy Snyder and Tim Caulfield have done the same for the US, specifically for homeopathy for cancer. The results are alarming. Truly, crowdfunding is the fuel for cancer quackery. But will GoFundMe and other crowdfunding sites clean up their acts?
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The Drugless Doctor’s ADHD Nonsense (Fri, 04 Jan 2019)
The Drugless Doctor isn't a doctor, and as a chiropractor is totally unqualified to provide medical advice on almost everything, including ADHD.
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Legislative Alchemy 2018: Acupuncturists seek practice expansion and competition elimination  (Thu, 03 Jan 2019)
Acupuncturists want to expand their scope of practice far beyond sticking needles in people. Too many states are allowing them to treat pretty much anything with unproven and potentially dangerous remedies.
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Regulating Fringe Practitioners (Wed, 02 Jan 2019)
Fringe professions like chiropractic and naturopaths are not adequately regulated. This needs to be fixed.
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Autism Revisited (Tue, 01 Jan 2019)
Is there an autism epidemic? Why was autism rare in the past? This book tries to answer those questions with a historical and sociological approach and suggests deinstitutionalization was a key factor.
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Science-Based Medicine in the New Year (Mon, 31 Dec 2018)
As 2018 ends, the managing editor of Science-Based Medicine comments on the future of SBM.
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Lotus Birth: No Benefit, Plenty of Risk (Fri, 28 Dec 2018)
The practice of refusing to cut the umbilical cord after delivery of a newborn has no benefit and risks serious infection. A recent case series illustrates the risks of so-called Lotus birth.
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Naturopaths cannot call themselves “Medically Trained” in New Brunswick (Thu, 27 Dec 2018)
A judge in the Canadian province of New Brunswick has ruled that alternative-to-medicine practitioners knows as naturopaths cannot claim that they are "medically trained" or that they offer "family practice".
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Charlatans for Christmas (Tue, 25 Dec 2018)
A novel by Robin Cook is a great read with a medical theme. It brings up some serious questions about quality control and medical education.
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Legislative Alchemy 2018: Chiropractors rebranding as primary care physicians continues (Thu, 20 Dec 2018)
Chiropractors are not properly educated and trained to be primary care physicians. Yet, their campaign to rebrand themselves as PCPs via legislation continues.
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SBM in 2018 and Beyond (Wed, 19 Dec 2018)
A look back at SBM in 2018 and the future of SBM.
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Vertigo Voodoo: A Crazy-Sounding Cure That Actually Works (Tue, 18 Dec 2018)
A sequence of positional changes sounds like voodoo, but is actually an effective way to cure benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).
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Functional medicine: Reams of useless tests in one hand, a huge invoice in the other (Mon, 17 Dec 2018)
"Functional medicine" preaches the "biochemical individuality" of each patient, which is why one of its key features is that its practitioners order reams of useless lab tests and then try to correct every abnormal level without considering (or even knowing) what these abnormalities mean, if anything. So they make up fake diagnoses and profit.
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Update: More Evidence Supports Delaying School Start Times for Sleep Deprived Teens (Fri, 14 Dec 2018)
Sleep deprivation is a serious health and academic concern for teenagers. A new study adds more support for calls to push back school start times as an effective strategy.
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Your gout, your fault? (Thu, 13 Dec 2018)
Is gout a consequence of lifestyle choices? Or is it mainly genetics?
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Release Active Drugs – Homeopathy By Another Name (Wed, 12 Dec 2018)
A Russian company is marketing "release active drugs" as a new medical technology, but it is just bogus homeopathy dressed up with new jargon.
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BladderMax: Fake News and Outrageous Headlines (Tue, 11 Dec 2018)
A newspaper ad for BladderMax is disguised as a news story reporting "the end of bladder leakages." The information is inaccurate and the headlines are preposterous.
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The stem cell hard sell: The Medical Board of California is forming a task force to determine how to regulate physicians offering stem cell therapies. (Mon, 10 Dec 2018)
For-profit stem cell clinics selling unproven and downright quacky stem cell therapies have proliferated over the last several years, with federal and state law seemingly powerless to stop them. Recently, the FDA and FTC have shown signs of acting to crack down on them. Now, the Medical Board of California is forming a task force to determine how to regulate physicians offering these unproven therapies. Will it matter?
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Legislative Alchemy 2018: naturopathic licensing and practice expansion shutout? (Thu, 06 Dec 2018)
Naturopathic doctors pushed for licensing and practice expansion in 16 states in 2018. Looks like they are in for a complete shutout.
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