Science-Based Medicine

Maximized Living: “5 Essentials” of Chiropractic Marketing Propaganda (Fr, 22 Sep 2017)
What do vitalism, old school chiropractic subluxations, germ theory denial, detox supplements, marketing gimmicks, and practicing way beyond a reasonable scope have in common?
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If you feel better, should you stop taking your antibiotics? (Do, 21 Sep 2017)
A recent paper suggests that patients would be better off stopping antibiotics when they feel better, instead of completing the entire amount prescribed. Could this approach reduce antibiotic overuse and the risk of widespread resistance?
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Quackademic Medicine at UC Irvine (Mi, 20 Sep 2017)
UC Irvine Medicine School opens a center for integrative medicine, selling out to promote quackery in medicine.
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Flu Shots: Here We Go Again! (Di, 19 Sep 2017)
The many myths about flu shots continue to circulate and persuade some people not to get a flu shot. Flu shots are excellent insurance, safe and reasonably effective. Immunization protects not only the recipient but also vulnerable groups in the community.
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Rigvir: Another unproven and dubious cancer therapy to be avoided (Mo, 18 Sep 2017)
Alternative cancer clinics have always claimed that their therapies "boost the immune system" to fight cancer. Recently, the Hope4Cancer Institute, a quack clinic in Mexico has added a treatment known as Rigvir to its other offerings. But what is Rigvir? It turns out that it's an import from Latvia, a purported oncolytic virus with a mysterious history that targets cancer specifically for which there is a profound paucity of evidence for its efficacy. Rigvir was approved by Latvia in 2004 based on grossly inadequate evidence. The story of Rigvir is the story of an unproven treatment that, because of its origin in a small country, has flown mostly under the radar. Until now, that is.
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The influenza vaccine and miscarriages: Much ado about nothing (Fr, 15 Sep 2017)
A study published on Wednesday claims to have found a link between influenza vaccination and miscarriage, and antivaxers are gloating. The study itself suffers mightily from post hoc subgroup analyses on small numbers, so much so that even its authors don’t really believe its results. None of that stopped them from publishing the study, thus justifying "more research" that will almost certainly reinforce the scientific consensus that the flu vaccine is safe during pregnancy.
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Study: patients should be warned of stroke risk before chiropractic neck manipulation (Do, 14 Sep 2017)
Another study adds to growing body of evidence that chiropractic neck manipulation is a risk factor for stroke. Patients should be warned of risk.
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Faith and Supplements – B17 (Mi, 13 Sep 2017)
Amygdalin is a toxic snake oil dating back to 1830, but it is still sold today with a combination of supplement industry deception, faith, and conspiracy theories.
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The Movie “Cholesterol: The Great Bluff” Is an Exercise in Denialism (Di, 12 Sep 2017)
The movie "Cholesterol: The Great Bluff" claims that we have been lied to: cholesterol doesn't cause heart disease and statins are harmful. It is biased and misleading. The people interviewed in the movie are denialists who don't accept the clear evidence for the role of blood cholesterol levels and the benefits of statins.
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IBM’s Watson versus cancer: Hype meets reality (Mo, 11 Sep 2017)
Five years ago, IBM announced that its supercomputer Watson would revolutionize cancer treatment by using its artificial intelligence to digest and distill the thousands of oncology studies published every year plus patient-level data and expert recommendations into treatment recommendation. Last week, a report published by STAT News shows that, years later, IBM's hubris and hype have crashed into reality.
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Another Child Harmed by Pseudomedicine: Lead Poisoning from a “Homeopathic Healing” Bracelet (Fr, 08 Sep 2017)
The CDC has published a report on yet another child harmed by exposure to a caregiver's belief in quackery...and the toxic level of lead found in a "homeopathic" teething bracelet.
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Cancer, vitamin supplements, and unexpected consequences (Do, 07 Sep 2017)
Not only do B-vitamin supplements not protect you from lung cancer, they may significantly raise your risk of cancer.
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Naturopathic Cancer Quackery (Mi, 06 Sep 2017)
Naturopaths treat cancer with an array of implausible concoctions that are not based on clinical science, and then defend themselves with cease and desist letters.
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“New vaccine replaces statins?” Not So Fast! (Di, 05 Sep 2017)
News reports suggest new drugs may replace statins. PSCK9 inhibitors are useful, but only along with statins in high risk patients not controlled on statins alone, or for patients who can't tolerate statins. They're not about to replace statins.
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Naturopaths are fake doctors cosplaying real doctors (even the ones running dubious stem cell clinics) (Mo, 04 Sep 2017)
Naturopaths are fake doctors who, increasingly, are cosplaying real doctors. Not surprisingly, because naturopaths go where quacking takes them, they've started to open their very own dubious stem cell clinics, thus combining the worst of both worlds, their "natural" quackery with dubious unproven but "high tech" treatments being peddled by the worst of real doctors.
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Neck Manipulation, Stroke, and the Vertebral Artery Stretch: Views, Opinions, and Options (Fr, 01 Sep 2017)
Stroke reported as being associated with neck manipulation is rare when stroke numbers are tallied with the total number of neck manipulations performed, but the true incidence of this injury is not known and may be much greater than indicated by case reports. Advocating or providing neck manipulation without warning about the limitations and the danger of such treatment is irresponsible and misleading.
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Physician aid-in-dying laws spread amid legal challenges (Do, 31 Aug 2017)
Legalization of physician aid-in-dying is increasing in the U.S. but opponents are taking their opposition to the courts and Congress.
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Panera Markets Food Fear (Mi, 30 Aug 2017)
Panera Bread goes full Food Babe in their latest ad campaign, which fearmongers about a safe food preservative.
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ZYTO: An Electrodermal Diagnostic Device Is Tested and Fails Miserably (Di, 29 Aug 2017)
ZYTO is a bogus, illegal electrodermal diagnostic device that claims to evaluate organ function and make dietary recommendations. Repeat testing produced results that were wildly inconsistent. The device produces noise, not meaningful information.
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Naturopathy vs. patients: Patients lose (Mo, 28 Aug 2017)
Over the weekend, there was a news story describing two cancer patients treated by naturopaths in New Zealand. Both died, one almost certainly unnecessarily, the other after enduring more suffering than she likely had to. These tragic cases and others reminded me of why it is so appalling that so many physicians are "integrating" naturopathy into "integrative medicine." In reality, they are integrating quackery into medicine.
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Is the use of “Open-Label” Placebo Ethical in the Treatment of Children? (Fr, 25 Aug 2017)
Is the use of "open-label" placebo ethical in pediatric medical care, or any care for that matter? A recent article in Pediatrics discussing this issue comes to a flawed conclusion based on a misunderstanding of placebo and of the literature on placebo without deception.
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Statins beat supplements (Do, 24 Aug 2017)
Red yeast rice supplements have poor quality control and there's no clear evidence they do anything beneficial. So why take it?
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The Promise of CRISPR (Mi, 23 Aug 2017)
CRISPR is the latest rock-star medical technology that promises to revolutionize medicine. Let's take a look at the hype and the reality.
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Viotren and Other Dietary Supplements for Erectile Dysfunction: Buyer Beware (Di, 22 Aug 2017)
Viotren and other dietary supplements are being illegally marketed to treat erectile dysfunction. Some of them work, but only because they are adulterated with prescription drugs like Viagra (at up to 31 times the prescription dose). Using them can be risky.
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No, a Vaccine Court ruling does not show that vaccines cause SIDS (Mo, 21 Aug 2017)
There was a rumbling in the antivaccine underground over the weekend about a recent ruling by the Vaccine Court compensating parents of a child who died of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). In a confused and scientifically highly flawed decision, the Special Master Thomas Gowen didn't rule that vaccines cause SIDS, but did rule that they contributed to SIDS in this one case. Soon, the message will be that vaccines cause SIDS. They don't. The Vaccine Court screwed up.
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Myeloproliferative neoplasms – an overview and my experiences (Fr, 18 Aug 2017)
In 2014 I was diagnosed with a type of myeloproliferative neoplasm. Since that time I have sought many treatments, and experienced many setbacks. Science-based medicine has kept me alive to write this post. Here I pass along some of my knowledge and experience regarding these rare cancers.
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The Congressional Dietary Supplement Caucus (Do, 17 Aug 2017)
The Congressional Dietary Supplement Caucus, an officially-recognized Congressional Membership Organization, operates as an in-house mouthpiece for the dietary supplement industry. Both the caucus and the rules allowing it should be reformed to prohibit this.
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The Supplement Con (Mi, 16 Aug 2017)
A new article in Business Insider challenges the major narrative promoted by the supplement industry - that supplements are safe, effective, natural, and actually in the bottle. If we are lucky, this may mark a the start of a sea change in how Americans see supplements.
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The Hormone Myth (Di, 15 Aug 2017)
"Mary is really bitchy today; she must be on the rag." Comments like this are all too common, and are misguided. In her new book, Robyn Stein DeLuca dispels the myths about how hormones affect women's moods and mental health, myths that have contributed to unequal treatment of women. Junk science supported the myths; good science debunks them.
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Alternative medicine kills cancer patients (Mo, 14 Aug 2017)
By definition, alternative medicine has not been shown to be effective or has been shown to be ineffective. Thus, alternative medicine is ineffective against cancer and can best be represented as either no treatment at all or potentially harmful treatment. It is thus not surprising that cancer patients who choose alternative medicine have a higher risk of dying from their cancer. A new study confirms this conclusion yet again.
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