True believers, entrepreneurs, and scammers in alternative medicine

Science-Based Medicine - 9 hours 41 min ago
In the online echo chamber promoting alternative medicine, there are varying degrees of deception. There are true believers (who are often victims), entrepreneurs (who are often true believers who found a profitable business), and scammers. The categories are not mutually exclusive.
Categories: Science

Inside Chiropractic: Yesteryear and Today

Science-Based Medicine - February 16, 2018 - 3:00am
In the 123 years since its inception, the core beliefs of the chiropractic profession have not changed. Chiropractic continues to exist as a form of alternative medicine that embraces a variety of questionable procedures and treatment methods. The chiropractic profession in the United States is still defined by the vertebral subluxation theory that gave it birth and independence as an alternative to conventional medical care. Chiropractors resist changes that would allow development of their profession as a conservative back-care specialty.
Categories: Science

Cleveland Clinic genetic experts call out functional medicine on worthless genetic testing and supplement prescribing

Science-Based Medicine - February 15, 2018 - 1:00am
Cleveland Clinic genetics experts call out functional medicine on worthless genetic testing and dietary supplement prescribing: "Poor science, leading to even worse medicine."
Categories: Science


Science-Based Medicine - February 14, 2018 - 8:16am
For most people, common health goals are best approached with as simple a strategy as possible. This avoids cognitive overload and non-compliance. Get the basics right, as there are diminishing returns from increasingly arcane details.
Categories: Science

Smarty Plants

Radiolab Podcasts - February 13, 2018 - 11:42pm

Do you really need a brain to sense the world around you? To remember? Or even learn? Well, it depends on who you ask. Jad and Robert, they are split on this one. Today, Robert drags Jad along on a parade for the surprising feats of brainless plants. Along with a home-inspection duo, a science writer, and some enterprising scientists at Princeton University, we dig into the work of evolutionary ecologist Monica Gagliano, who turns our brain-centered worldview on it’s head through a series of clever experiments that show plants doing things we never would've imagined. Can Robert get Jad to join the march?

This episode was produced by Annie McEwen. 

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Categories: Science

Answering Our Critics – Again!

Science-Based Medicine - February 13, 2018 - 3:00am
Critics of Science-Based Medicine keep making the same old tired arguments, despite the fact that their arguments have been repeatedly demolished. Here is a list of recurrent memes, with counterarguments.
Categories: Science

Quackademic medicine and the delusion of being “science-based”

Science-Based Medicine - February 12, 2018 - 3:52am
Last week, I was interviewed by the a reporter from the Georgetown student newsletter about its integrative medicine program. It got me to thinking how delusion that one's work is science-based can lead to collaborations with New Age "quantum" mystics like Deepak Chopra.
Categories: Science

The 2018 Flu Epidemic: Hives and other Influenza Related Nonsense

Science-Based Medicine - February 9, 2018 - 7:58am
While it isn't likely to be the flumaggedon, it is shaping up to be a really bad flu season. Unfortunately there is a lot of overzealous news coverage that I fear is causing more anxiety among parents than is warranted.
Categories: Science

Anti-vaccine sentiment associated with belief in conspiracy theories

Science-Based Medicine - February 8, 2018 - 9:00am
A recent survey examined the relationship between opposition to vaccines, belief in conspiracy theories, and other factors. The results suggest that we may need to modify how we address concerns about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines.
Categories: Science

What Not To Write in an E-mail to SBM

Science-Based Medicine - February 7, 2018 - 8:27am
What to do, and what not to do, when sending a critical e-mail to SBM or elsewhere - assuming you want to be taken seriously.
Categories: Science

MyMedLab Offers Expensive, Useless, Nonstandard Lab Tests

Science-Based Medicine - February 6, 2018 - 3:00am
Direct to consumer lab testing is good marketing but not good medicine. For instance, there is no reason to spend $199 to measure glyphosate levels in your blood.
Categories: Science

Death by Gardasil? Not so fast there…

Science-Based Medicine - February 5, 2018 - 3:33am
There is a type of "vaccine injury" story promoted by the antivaccine movement that is particularly pernicious, a narrative I call "death by Gardasil." The stories, which use tenuous connections between vaccination against HPV to prevent cervical cancer and the unexpected death of a teen or young adult, are always tragic, and you can't help but feel incredible empathy for the parents. However, none of these stories constitute compelling evidence that Gardasil kills young people. Basically, antivaxers exploit the grief of these parents and their understandable desire to find a cause for their child's demise to demonize HPV vaccinations as dangerous and deadly.
Categories: Science

Ghosts of Football Past

Radiolab Podcasts - February 3, 2018 - 7:08pm

In anticipation of Super Bowl LII (Go Eagles), we're revisiting an old episode about the surprising history of how the game came to be. It's the end of the 19th century -- the Civil War is over, and the frontier is dead. And young college men are anxious. What great struggle will test their character? Then along comes a new craze: football. A brutally violent game where young men can show a stadium full of fans just what they're made of. Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Penn -- the sons of the most powerful men in the country are literally knocking themselves out to win these gladiatorial battles. And then the most American team of all, with the most to prove, gets in the game and owns it. The Carlisle Indian School, formed in 1879 to assimilate the children and grandchildren of the men who fought the final Plains Wars against the fathers and grandfathers of the Ivy Leaguers, starts challenging the best teams in the country. On the football field, Carlisle had a chance for a fair fight with high stakes -- a chance to earn respect, a chance to be winners, and a chance to go forward in a changing world that was destroying theirs. 

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Categories: Science

Kennedy, Fisher and Bigtree: a triple dose of anti-vaccine injected into upcoming chiropractic conference

Science-Based Medicine - February 1, 2018 - 1:00am
Even as the flu rages, chiropractors will be stoking their anti-vaccination ideology at a March conference with speeches from anti-vaxx Illuminati Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Barbara Loe Fisher and Del Bigtree.
Categories: Science

Vision Therapy Quackery

Science-Based Medicine - January 31, 2018 - 8:29am
Behavioral optometry claims to treat a wide range of disorders, including learning difficulty and attention problems. But these claims are not based on solid scientific ground, and are not supported by rigorous evidence.
Categories: Science

Radiolab Presents: More Perfect - One Nation, Under Money

Radiolab Podcasts - January 31, 2018 - 3:00am

An unassuming string of 16 words tucked into the Constitution grants Congress extensive power to make laws that impact the entire nation. The Commerce Clause has allowed Congress to intervene in all kinds of situations — from penalizing one man for growing too much wheat on his farm, to enforcing the end of racial segregation nationwide. That is, if the federal government can make an economic case for it. This seemingly all-powerful tool has the potential to unite the 50 states into one nation and protect the civil liberties of all. But it also challenges us to consider: when we make everything about money, what does it cost us?

Categories: Science

Broken Brain

Science-Based Medicine - January 30, 2018 - 3:00am
In his new video series, Dr. Mark Hyman says your brain is broken and functional medicine can fix it. He mixes conventional healthy lifestyle advice with highly questionable claims and recommendations based on speculation rather than on evidence.
Categories: Science

The effort of integrative medicine advocates to co-opt the opioid crisis to claim non pharmacological treatments for pain as solely theirs continues apace

Science-Based Medicine - January 29, 2018 - 3:34am
Last week, I wrote about how advocates for quackery were trying and succeeding to persuade state Medicaid agencies to pay for acupuncture for pain. This week, I discuss how they are promoting the integration of quackery with medicine. In this case, they are promoting a white paper and trying to influence the AHRQ.
Categories: Science

A Preventable Infection Claims the Life of a 6-Year-Old Florida Child

Science-Based Medicine - January 26, 2018 - 8:00am
Rabies is an incredibly deadly infection, but one that is virtually 100% preventable. Unfortunately a Florida child recently paid the ultimate price when his parents failed to seek out appropriate medical care for a bat bite, and despite an experimental but flawed treatment protocol.
Categories: Science

Georgian College’s Homeopathy Program: Magical Thinking Presented as Fact

Science-Based Medicine - January 25, 2018 - 9:00am
Georgian College in Ontario, Canada is now offering a 3-year advanced diploma in the pseudoscience of homeopathy.
Categories: Science