Legislative Alchemy: Michigan naturopathic licensing bill passes Senate

Science-Based Medicine - May 24, 2018 - 1:00am
A bill granting naturopathic doctors one of the broadest scopes of practice in the country passed in the Michigan Senate. If enacted, the egregious quackery already being practiced by Michigan naturopaths will bear the imprimatur of state approval and rectifying harm to consumers will become much harder.
Categories: Science

Death from Cancer Quackery – Black Salve Edition

Science-Based Medicine - May 23, 2018 - 8:18am
An Australian nurse dies of cancer while being treated by a cancer quack with a caustic substance known as black salve. How and why is this allowed to happen?
Categories: Science

Unraveling Bolero

Radiolab Podcasts - May 22, 2018 - 6:45pm

This week, we're throwing it back to an old favorite: a story about obsession, creativity, and a strange symmetry between a biologist and a composer that revolves around one famously repetitive piece of music.

Anne Adams was a brilliant biologist. But when her son Alex was in a bad car accident, she decided to stay home to help him recover. And then, rather suddenly, she decided to quit science altogether and become a full-time artist. After that, her husband Robert Adams tells us, she just painted and painted and painted. First houses and buildings, then a series of paintings involving strawberries, and then ... "Bolero."

At some point, Anne became obsessed with Maurice Ravel's famous composition and decided to put an elaborate visual rendition of the song to canvas. She called it "Unraveling Bolero." But at the time, she had no idea that both she and Ravel would themselves unravel shortly after their experiences with this odd piece of music. Arbie Orenstein tells us what happened to Ravel after he wrote "Bolero," and neurologist Bruce Miller helps us understand how, for both Anne and Ravel, "Bolero" might have been the first symptom of a deadly disease.

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Read more:

Unravelling Bolero: progressive aphasia, transmodal creativity and the right posterior neocortex

Arbie Orenstein's Ravel: Man and Musician

Categories: Science

A Feast of Science

Science-Based Medicine - May 22, 2018 - 3:00am
Dr. Joe Schwarcz's new book is a banquet of easily digested, fascinating information about chemistry, history, science, alternative medicine, critical thinking, and current trends. It entertains as it informs.
Categories: Science

The very worst version of the sham known as “right-to-try” is poised to become law

Science-Based Medicine - May 21, 2018 - 3:00am
"Right-to-try" laws are a cruel sham that purport to allow terminally ill patients access to promising experimental drugs. In reality, they strip away many protections and leave vulnerable patients on their own. After four years and a number of toothless state laws, a federal version of "right-to-try" is poised to become law. A version passed by the Senate could be voted on in the House as early as tomorrow and is the worst version under consideration. Unfortunately, it is likely to pass. If it does, this federal version of "right-to-try" will leave terminally ill patients on their own and will likely be the first step in returning the FDA to its pre-thalidomide state, in which it only required evidence of safety, not efficacy, to approve drugs.
Categories: Science

A Canadian Journalist Calls Out Pediatric Chiropractic, and a Chiropractor Responds

Science-Based Medicine - May 18, 2018 - 7:00am
A recent National Post article calls chiropractic care of the infant and young child into question for some very good reasons, none of which were effectively rebutted by the Canadian Chiropractic Association president.
Categories: Science

More or Less Human

Radiolab Podcasts - May 17, 2018 - 10:39pm

Seven years ago chatbots - those robotic texting machines - were a mere curiosity. They were noticeably robotic and at their most malicious seemed only capable of scamming men looking for love online. Today, the chatbot landscape is wildly different. From election interference to spreading hate, chatbots have become online weapons.

And so, we decided to reinvestigate the role these robotic bits of code play in our lives and the effects they’re having on us. We begin with a little theater. In our live show “Robert or Robot?” Jad and Robert test 100 people to see if they can spot a bot. We then take a brief detour to revisit the humanity of the Furby, and finish in a virtual house where the line between technology and humanity becomes blurrier than ever before.

This episode was reported and produced by Simon Adler. Our live event was produced by Simon Adler and Suzie Lechtenberg.

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Categories: Science

The Supreme Court of Canada orders a new trial for parents convicted in Ezekiel Stephan’s death

Science-Based Medicine - May 17, 2018 - 8:00am
The Supreme Court of Canada has ordered a new trial for David and Collet Stephan, who had been convicted in the meningitis death of their son. The Stephans say they're vindicated. The facts say otherwise.
Categories: Science

Reflex Integration Therapy

Science-Based Medicine - May 15, 2018 - 3:00am
Various methods of reflex integration claim benefits for autism, ADHD, brain injuries, pain, and more. They are based on speculative ideas about retained primitive reflexes. They have not been scientifically tested.
Categories: Science

The Null hypothesis: Gary Null attacks science-based medicine

Science-Based Medicine - May 14, 2018 - 3:32am
Over the last couple of weeks, one of the old men of quackery, Gary Null, has decided (yet again) that he really, really doesn't like science-based medicine. That includes Steve Novella, Susan Gerbic, As is his usual habit, Null teamed up with his producer Richard Gale and wrote some seriously off-base screeds against Wikipedia, skeptics, and science-based medicine, basically the forces that keep his beloved homeopathy down.
Categories: Science

The Great Outdoors (Debate)

Science-Based Medicine - May 11, 2018 - 3:00am
What are the health risks of letting your cat roam free?
Categories: Science

Crowdfunding unproven stem cell treatments: overstated efficacy, unstated risks

Science-Based Medicine - May 10, 2018 - 1:00am
Crowdfunding campaigns for unproven stem cell treatments exaggerate the benefits and underemphasize the risks, all the while raising considerable funds and generating social media buzz.
Categories: Science

Essential Oils in the Ambulance

Science-Based Medicine - May 9, 2018 - 8:07am
Aromatherapy with essential oils is pseudoscience, backed only with low quality studies guaranteed to show a placebo effect. Their growing popularity warns that better science education is needed.
Categories: Science

Living Water

Science-Based Medicine - May 8, 2018 - 3:00am
A device called Living Water will convert your tap water into acidic or alkaline water that supposedly is ionized and has antioxidant properties. There is no evidence that it offers any health benefits.
Categories: Science

PLOS ONE, peer review, and a “crappy” acupuncture study

Science-Based Medicine - May 7, 2018 - 3:33am
Meta-analyses can sometimes suffer from the "GIGO problem" (garbage in, garbage out). The publication of a "crappy" acupuncture "network meta-analysis" for acupuncture and chronic constipation illustrates the GIGO problem on steroids and reveals a problem with peer review.
Categories: Science


Science-Based Medicine - May 4, 2018 - 8:07am
This is a follow up blog post by Clay Jones and Grant Ritchey, who wrote about the Use of Dental Appliances in the Management of Tourette Syndrome way back in the Olden Times (June 2016). Because we will refer to the above post often, and because we make a ton of shillbucks for every click on one of our articles, we encourage […]
Categories: Science

Five steps to add ten years to your life expectancy

Science-Based Medicine - May 3, 2018 - 7:57am
A new study identifies five lifestyle decisions that can add over a decade to your life expectancy.
Categories: Science

Stem Cell Tourism Comes Home

Science-Based Medicine - May 2, 2018 - 7:36am
You used to have to go to China to get ripped off by fraudulent stem cell clinics. Now you can get conned right here at home.
Categories: Science

Should I Get the New Shingles Vaccine?

Science-Based Medicine - May 1, 2018 - 3:00am
There are two vaccines to prevent shingles and post-herpetic neuralgia in patients age 50 and up. If you are wondering whether to get vaccinated and which vaccine to choose, here are the facts to help you make an informed decision.
Categories: Science

Autism prevalence increases to 1 in 59, and antivaxers lose it…yet again

Science-Based Medicine - April 30, 2018 - 3:18am
Autism Awareness Month isn't as full of news stories about autism with false balance between science and antivaccine pseudoscience advocates as it was in years past. Every few years, though, when new autism prevalence figures are released, we can count on antivaxers losing. 2018 is just such a year.
Categories: Science