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Chelation Therapy for Autism is Quackery

Science-Based Medicine - September 5, 2018 - 8:11am
Chelation therapy for autism is not based on any scientific rationale and what evidence we have shows it does not work, yet it continues to be offered as an "alternative" treatment.
Categories: Science

Estrogen Matters

Science-Based Medicine - September 4, 2018 - 3:00am
Hormone replacement therapy in menopause is safer and more effective than we have been led to believe. A new book examines the evidence and sets the record straight.
Categories: Science

NCCIH has a new director, and she’s a true believer in acupuncture.

Science-Based Medicine - September 3, 2018 - 6:00am
Helene Langevin has been named the new director of the National Center for Complemenary and Integrative Health. Given her history of dodgy acupuncture research, my prediction is that the quackery will flow again at NCCIH, the way it did in the 1990s when Tom Harkin zealously protected it from any attempt to impose scientific rigor on it.
Categories: Science

Bad Documentary Review: Cancer Can Be Killed

Science-Based Medicine - August 31, 2018 - 7:30am
Cancer Can Be Killed is a conspiracy thriller masquerading as a documentary. Don't watch it.
Categories: Science

Bait and switch in Oregon: Substituting quackery for opioids for Medicaid patients

Science-Based Medicine - August 30, 2018 - 3:26am
The Oregon Health Authority is on the verge of passing a radical policy that would require chronic pain patients receiving Medicaid to have their opioids tapered to zero while covering "nonpharmacologic treatments for pain" that include primarily acupuncture, chiropractic, massage therapy, and other "alternative" treatments. Not surprisingly, the Oregon Chronic Pain Task Force, which is responsible for this proposed infliction of quackery on the most vulnerable, has three acupuncturists and a chiropractor sitting on it.
Categories: Science

Kratom – An Emerging Herbal Drug

Science-Based Medicine - August 29, 2018 - 8:16am
Kratom is an emerging herbal drug used for pain and fatigue but also has abuse potential. What is the current state of the science?
Categories: Science

Baby Blue Blood Drive

Radiolab Podcasts - August 29, 2018 - 3:25am

Horseshoe crabs are not much to look at.  But beneath their unassuming catcher’s-mitt shell, they harbor a half-billion-year-old secret: a superpower that helped them outlive the dinosaurs and survive all the Earth’s mass extinctions.  And what is that secret superpower? Their blood. Their baby blue blood.  And it’s so miraculous that for decades, it hasn’t just been saving their butts, it’s been saving ours too.

But that all might be about to change.  

 Follow us as we follow these ancient critters - from a raunchy beach orgy to a marine blood drive to the most secluded waterslide - and learn a thing or two from them about how much we depend on nature and how much it depends on us.

This episode was reported by Latif Nasser with help from Damiano Marchetti and was produced by Annie McEwen and Matt Kielty with help from Liza Yeager.

Special thanks to Arlene Shaner at the NY Academy of Medicine, Tim Wisniewski at the Alan Mason Cheney Medical Archives at Johns Hopkins University, and Jennifer Walton at the library of the Marine Biological Lab of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate

Categories: Science

The Pivot

The Bird's Brain - August 28, 2018 - 12:27pm

I’ve hit a moment in my life where I think it is time to make a change. I look around at the science communications landscape, and it is FULL of amazing people communicating science. The YouTube space is now overflowing with intelligent, energetic young women explaining science. And… I feel aged out.

I’m not old, but I’m not young anymore either. It’s hard to believe that I could be a mom or even grandmother to most YouTube viewers. So, why do I keep doing the same things – producing content that is now being produced by younger voices and faces?

Like I mentioned in my last post, I’ve started a small video production company, and that is part of my pivot. I can use my experience to help others tell their stories. I don’t need to be the face in front of the camera any more.

However, I like to talk with people. I like to use my voice. So, I’m considering working on new shows beyond the weekly science news of TWIS. I want to produce shows that have personal value to me, and that set me apart from the pack of youngsters I no longer fit into. I’d love your feedback on my thoughts and experiments, so that I can really figure out what works and what doesn’t.

First, I’d like to interview more people – scientists, primarily, but I’m also thinking about a focus on women and the various issues that crop up as we age. My concern here is that although this is something that I am very personally interested in, it is a HUGE shift from what I have done historically, and away from the audience that I have built up over many years. Not that it’s a bad thing to do that. It’s just fear-inducing to consider something so different.

And, second, I’d like to do something with my son. I think it would be extremely rewarding to spend time creating a science-based show with him. This would also be targeted at a different audience, but the same amount of fear isn’t there because this show wouldn’t be about me as much as something to experience with my son. He has expressed interest, but seems to like the idea of a gaming channel more than science at the moment. So, we’ll see whether this idea gets any traction.

Finally, as far as helping other scientists tell their stories goes, I’ve also been thinking about putting some videos together about story-telling and video production for science. Maybe a weekly or monthly video workshop would be helpful for people…

Anyway, it’s time to pivot. I have ideas. I just need to start moving forward on execution. And, like I said, I’d love your feedback on what you think will be both useful and enjoyable.

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Categories: Science

Smoking Cessation

Science-Based Medicine - August 28, 2018 - 3:00am
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death. There are effective pharmacological and non-pharmacological methods to help people stop smoking.
Categories: Science

Confronting homeopathy, naturopathy, homeopathy, and other quackademic medicine at my alma mater

Science-Based Medicine - August 27, 2018 - 3:05am
Several years back, I was forced to confront quackery at my alma mater in the form of an anthroposophic medicine program at the University of Michigan. The situation has deteriorated since then, as now the Department of Family Medicine there is inviting homeopaths to give talks and teaching acupuncture as credulously as any acupuncturist. Will the disease metastasize to other departments in the university? I certainly hope not.
Categories: Science

Science-Based Satire: Integrative Baby Monitor Combines the Best of Conventional and Alternative Features

Science-Based Medicine - August 24, 2018 - 7:00am
Are there really baby monitors on the market that can alert a parent to stagnant chi as well as dangerously low oxygen levels? No, that's ridiculous! Will a company sell one at some point in the future? Probably. But for now, it's satire.
Categories: Science

You can’t breathe through your stomach

Science-Based Medicine - August 23, 2018 - 7:11am
Some bottle water is claimed to have extra oxygen which is claimed to give a performance benefit. Are these claims valid?
Categories: Science

Getting What I Want

The Bird's Brain - August 22, 2018 - 8:44pm

I am… I think… finally, starting to see my work for the past year or so beginning to bear fruit. It’s a wonderful feeling to have clients and to be doing work that I enjoy. The best feeling in the world is actually completing projects to send them off into the world.

My little video babies…

Lol. Now I’m making my self laugh. Which is good. For the soul, for the heart, for me.

A few years back I decided that I would really make an attempt at running my own video production business. At first, I was full of excitement at the idea, but then anxiety about my abilities took hold (Would I actually be able to do the things I say I can? Am I actually just full of myself? Am I crazy to try this new thing?), which was followed by the depression, which led to me not doing anything to make the business move forward. Ugh.

That couldn’t go on forever. It was making me miserable to have a goal and NOT be acting on it. Thank you, therapy, for helping me to take actionable steps (yes, they were little baby steps) toward me facing my anxiety head-on so that I could get back to being productive.

Skip forward, and I’m working at building a small business in video production that focuses on telling science stories to the point where I now have sufficient business to keep myself busy. I might be too busy though…

I don’t know. Maybe my level of busyness is just right. It’s summer, and I (like everyone else) would rather be lounging on a river or beach than working in my office during these beautiful days, which are a VERY seasonal occurrence in Portland, OR.

Part of my decision to work for myself is based on wanting to be able to spend time with my son. And, yet, now that I am beginning to get the success I am aiming for as a video-maker, I find myself handing him the iPad so that I can work. This is a less than satisfying result for my soul. These years with the child will be gone before I know it, and there are no do-overs in this game.

Still, I also feel as though I haven’t taken a real break for a very, very long time. I went from working, to having a child, back to working, and then there was the anxiety and depression, not to mention the move to Portland, struggling for money, creating a new life in a new city, still working… and I’m still working.

Thankfully, I do love my work. And, I don’t think I could have kept it going this long if my work didn’t feed my soul. But, I think I’m tired, and I don’t know how to fix that because I made my decision to create a business that requires constant attention. Between work and family and my crazy brain, I honestly don’t know when I will be able to rest.

Maybe it’s time to hire some help? (That idea panics me because hiring people would mean that I realio, trulio am running a business, which is a bit scary and exciting to consider.)

Anyway, as I work through the emotions of balancing work and life, I’d love to hear from other parents. Do you work for yourself? As an entrepreneur, what do you do when the beautiful season hits? How do you make ends meet, and not feel like you are working all the time? If you work a steady job, how do you handle the summers when kids are home?

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Categories: Science

Vaccines Still Don’t Cause Autism

Science-Based Medicine - August 22, 2018 - 8:19am
Update: The evidence continues to show no link between vaccines and autism.
Categories: Science

For Peat’s Sake! Naturopath Promotes Peat Bras and Tampons

Science-Based Medicine - August 21, 2018 - 3:00am
This ND recommends peat therapy, including peat baths, peat tampons and peat bras, for a variety of conditions including infertility and HPV infections. The evidence is lacking.
Categories: Science

Bouffant caps versus skull caps in the operating room: A no holds barred cage match

Science-Based Medicine - August 20, 2018 - 3:00am
Over the last few years, AORN and the American College of Surgeons have been battling it out over AORN's 2014 guideline that has increasingly led to the banning of the surgical skull cap in the operating room in favor of the bouffant cap. Lacking from this kerfuffle has been much in the way of evidence to support AORN's guideline, but unfortunately that didn't stop the ACS from appealing mainly to tradition and emotion in objecting to it.
Categories: Science

SBM on Patreon

Science-Based Medicine - August 17, 2018 - 4:17pm
Please help support SBM on Patreon.
Categories: Science

Post No Evil

Radiolab Podcasts - August 17, 2018 - 7:20am

Back in 2008 Facebook began writing a document. It was a constitution of sorts, laying out what could and what couldn’t be posted on the site. Back then, the rules were simple, outlawing nudity and gore. Today, they’re anything but. 

How do you define hate speech? Where’s the line between a joke and an attack? How much butt is too much butt? Facebook has answered these questions. And from these answers they’ve written a rulebook that all 2.2 billion of us are expected to follow. Today, we explore that rulebook. We dive into its details and untangle its logic. All the while wondering what does this mean for the future of free speech?

This episode was reported by Simon Adler with help from Tracie Hunte and was produced by Simon Adler with help from Bethel Habte.

Special thanks to Sarah Roberts, Jeffrey Rosen, Carolyn Glanville, Ruchika Budhraja, Brian Dogan, Ellen Silver, James Mitchell, Guy Rosen, and our voice actor Michael Churnus.

Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate

Categories: Science

Heartworms, fear-mongering, and perilous advice. The bad recommendations of Dr. Peter Dobias regarding heartworm disease in dogs.

Science-Based Medicine - August 17, 2018 - 3:00am
A veterinarian is claiming to expose the pharmaceutical industry by helping you avoid parasite-preventing medications. His message is based on a dangerous misunderstanding of heartworm biology, carries several contradictory claims, and will lead to some serious risk for your dogs if followed. But on the plus side, if you’re a heartworm, this is great news!
Categories: Science

Report: Health Care Sharing Ministries pose risks to consumers and insurance markets

Science-Based Medicine - August 16, 2018 - 1:00am
Health care sharing ministries are exempt from virtually all regulation, do not guarantee payment, and offer extremely limited coverage. Because their features closely resemble traditional insurance products, they can confuse consumers into thinking they are buying conventional health insurance.
Categories: Science

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