Science-Based Medicine

Tattoos Won’t Boost Your Immune System (Fr, 18 Okt 2019)
Can getting a tattoo help reduce your risk of catching a cold? What about getting a bunch of 'em? Sadly, no amount of ink is going to boost your immune system.
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Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections: Lots of hype, no convincing evidence (Thu, 17 Oct 2019)
Platelet-rich plasma injections are advertised as an expensive cure-all for sport injuries. The evidence, however, is consistently negative.
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Reproducibility Follow Up (Wed, 16 Oct 2019)
Let's explore dueling narratives about the reproducibility "crisis."
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Australian Naturopath Barbara O’Neill Banned for Her Dangerous Health Advice (Tue, 15 Oct 2019)
Naturopath Barbara O'Neill has been banned in Australia for spreading dangerous lies about health.
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Woo versus Wikipedia (Mon, 14 Oct 2019)
Love it or hate it, Wikipedia is a main go-to rough and ready source of information for millions of people. Although I've had my problems with Wikipedia and used to ask whether it could provide reliable information on medicine and, in particular, alternative medicine and vaccines, given that anyone can edit it, I now conclude that Wikipedia must be doing OK, at least in these areas. After all, some of the highest profile promoters of alternative and "integrative" medicine hate Wikipedia, to the point of attacking it and concocting conspiracy theories about it.
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Electromagnetic healing devices for dogs: Studies show “Meh” (Fri, 11 Oct 2019)
Does a pulsed electromagnetic field device work to help dogs recover from surgery? The answer is below. Spoiler alert: The answer is "probably not".
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The Scientific Integrity Act: Protecting science from politics (Thu, 10 Oct 2019)
The proposed federal Scientific Integrity Act supports science and the scientific process as the basis of public policy and aims to protect it from politics, ideology, and financial conflicts of interest.
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Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2019 (Wed, 09 Oct 2019)
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2019 given to researchers who discovered the mechanisms of oxygen sensing in cells.
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Hydrogen Water Is Not “the New Nutrient;” Health Claims Are Hype, Not Science. (Tue, 08 Oct 2019)
A new fad, drinking hydrogen water, claims to provide all kinds of health benefits. The scientific evidence isn't there.
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A horrifying survey of “pediatric naturopathic oncology” practice (Mon, 07 Oct 2019)
"Naturopathic oncology" is a specialty made up by naturopaths in order to justify using their quackery to treat cancer patients. A new survey takes it a step further and looks at using naturopathy to treat children with cancer, including the use of homeopathy, reiki, and restrictive diets.
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Vaccines in the News: The Good, the Bad, and the Imminent Loss of Our Measles Elimination Status (Fri, 04 Oct 2019)
A quick recap of vaccine-related news from over the past several weeks.
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Teenager? Anxious? Yes, there’s a supplement for that, too. (Thu, 03 Oct 2019)
Health Canada has criticized the marketing of an "anxiety supplement" for teens, without recognizing the larger problem involved; the poor regulations and lack of safety and efficacy data for this, and many other supplements sold.
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The Red Meat Controversy (Wed, 02 Oct 2019)
A new paper flies in the face of current recommendations and concludes we simply don't know the health risks of eating red and processed meat.
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There’s No Vaccine for HIV/AIDS, But There’s Truvada (Tue, 01 Oct 2019)
Science has made great strides in understanding, treating, and preventing HIV/AIDS. We can hope for an AIDS vaccine, but meanwhile there is a pill that can markedly reduce the risk of becoming infected.
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Deconstructing Justice Terry Clackson’s outrageous acquittal of David and Collet Stephans for the death of their son Ezekiel (Mon, 30 Sep 2019)
On September 19, in a retrial ordered by the Supreme Court of Canada, Alberta Justice Terry Clackson issued a ruling acquitting David and Collet Stephan of failing to provide the necessities of life to their son Ezekiel, whose bacterial meningitis they had chosen to treat with quackery instead of medicine, leading to his death in 2012. The news reports showed that this was a very bad decision, but you have to read Justice Clackson's actual decision to see that it's an even worse decision than the news reports indicate, full of bad medicine, bad science, and even a hint of racism.
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Vaping is Bad: Respiratory Illness, Banning Flavors, and Bad Behavior (Fri, 27 Sep 2019)
Recent reports on the impact of vaping-associated respiratory illnesses are raising concerns about flavored e-cigarettes, and vaping in general. Adding to the problems are some rather draconian measures being implemented by some schools to "protect" students.
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FDA proposes ban on curcumin and other naturopathic favorites in compounded drugs (Thu, 26 Sep 2019)
Based on a thorough review of the evidence by experts, the FDA is proposing a ban on using curcumin, cesium chloride and other naturopathic favorites in compounded drugs.
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Fat Shaming Is Counterproductive (Wed, 25 Sep 2019)
Fat shaming not only doesn't work, it is counterproductive. So what might help fight obesity?
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Naturopathy in the VA (Tue, 24 Sep 2019)
The VA is contracting with naturopathic doctors to provide non-science-based treatment to our veterans. This is a mistake.
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A world-renowned placebo researcher asks, “Does placebo research boost pseudoscience?” (Mon, 23 Sep 2019)
Professor Fabrizio Benedetti is the most famous and almost certainly also the most influential researcher investigating the physiology of placebo effects. In a recent commentary, he asks whether placebo research is fueling quackery, as quacks co-opt its results. The answer to that question is certainly yes. A better question is: How do supporters of science counter the placebo narrative promoted by quacks, in which placebos represent the "power of the mind to heal the body"?
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The Verdict is In: There is No Justice for Ezekiel Stephan (Fri, 20 Sep 2019)
Ezekiel Stephan died from bacterial meningitis and his parents' failure to seek appropriate medical care in 2012, and now they have been acquitted after the Supreme Court of Canada ordered a new trial. It appears that there may be no justice for Ezekiel.
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Do dietary supplements improve heart health? (Thu, 19 Sep 2019)
Dietary supplements are widely consumed to improve heart health. But what does the evidence say?
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Crystal Healing (Wed, 18 Sep 2019)
Crystal healing is back and growing in popularity. What does that reveal about our society and alternative medicine?
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Professor Gives Grades to Alternative Medicine (Tue, 17 Sep 2019)
Edzard Ernst assigns a grade to 150 alternative medicine modalities, evaluating plausibility, efficacy, safety, cost, and risk/benefit balance. A very useful reference.
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Federal “right-to-try” over a year later: Still a failure and still about the money (and weakening the FDA) (Mon, 16 Sep 2019)
Federal "right-to-try" legislation was passed and signed into law by President Trump over a year ago. Advocates promised that lots of terminally ill people who were dying then would be saved by having the right to "try" experimental therapies outside of the context of clinical trials. That has not happened. This should come as no surprise, because right-to-try was never about getting experimental drugs to dying patients. It was always about weakening the FDA and making money.
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New Florida law forces physicians to endorse pseudoscience (Thu, 12 Sep 2019)
A new Florida law forces physicians to endorse chiropractic, acupuncture, and massage as non-opioid alternatives for pain, even if the physician disagrees with that advice.
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Soft Drinks and Death Risk (Wed, 11 Sep 2019)
New study linking soft drinks to increased mortality is correlational only, and should be interpreted with caution.
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Herbalife or Herbadeath? (Tue, 10 Sep 2019)
A case of fatal liver failure in India was attributed to Herbalife products, adding to many other reports from around the world. Analysis showed Herbalife products contain heavy metals and other contaminants. The products have not been scientifically tested, and in the absence of evidence of benefit to human health, they can't be recommended.
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The long, strange road to passing SB 276 appears to be near its end…finally (Mon, 09 Sep 2019)
In 2015, California passed SB 277, which eliminated religious and personal belief exemptions to school vaccine mandates. Unfortunately, there was a problem; a weakness in the law allowed antivaccine quacks to help parents get around the law by writing medical exemptions not supported by science. The long strange battle to get SB 276, the law designed to close that loophole, reveals a lot about the difficulty of legislating science-based policy, even in California.
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A British Teenager is Blind, But Not Because of Junk Food or “Fussy Eating” (Fri, 06 Sep 2019)
A recent case report about a British teenager blinded by severe nutritional deficiencies resulted in widespread media coverage, much of which missed the point. He wasn't blinded by junk food and he wasn't just a fussy eater.
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