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Science-based medicine versus other ways of knowing

Science-Based Medicine - June 11, 2018 - 3:04am
It has been our position that science is the most effective means of determining medical treatments that work and whose benefits outweigh their risks. Those who promote pseudoscientific or prescientific medicine, however, frequently appeal to other ways of knowing, often ancient knowledge from other cultures and pointing out deficiencies in SBM to justify promoting their treatments. Do their justifications hold water?
Categories: Science

Birthstory

Radiolab Podcasts - June 7, 2018 - 9:37pm

We originally posted this episode in 2015, and it inspired producer Molly Webster to take a deep dive into the wild and mysterious world of human reproduction. Starting next week, she’ll be taking over the Radiolab podcast feed for a month to present a series of mind-bending stories that make us rethink the ways we make more of us.

You know the drill - all it takes is one sperm, one egg, and blammo - you got yourself a baby. Right? Well, in this episode, conception takes on a new form - it’s the sperm and the egg, plus: two wombs, four countries, and money. Lots of money. 

At first, this is the story of an Israeli couple, two guys, who go to another continent to get themselves a baby - three, in fact - by hiring surrogates to carry the children for them. As we follow them on their journey, an earth shaking revelation shifts our focus from them, to the surrogate mothers. Unfolding in real time, as countries around the world consider bans on surrogacy, this episode looks at a relationship that manages to feel deeply affecting, and deeply uncomfortable, all at the same time. 

Birthstory is a collaboration with the brilliant radio show and podcast Israel Story, created to tell stories for, and about, Israel. Go check ‘em out! 

Israel Story's five English-language seasons were produced in partnership with Tablet Magazine and we highly recommend you listen to all of their work at  http://www.tabletmag.com/tag/israel-story

This episode was produced and reported by Molly Webster.

Special thanks go to: Israel Story, and their producers Maya Kosover, and Yochai Maital; reporters Nilanjana Bhowmick in India and Bhrikuti Rai in Nepal plus the International Reporting Project; Doron Mamet, Dr Nayana Patel, and Vicki Ferrara; with translation help from Aya Keefe, Karthik Ravindra, Turna Ray, Tom Wasserman, Pradeep Thapa, and Adhikaar, an organization in Ridgewood, Queens advocating for the Nepali-speaking community. 

Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.

Categories: Science

Chiropractic Pediatrics: “delayed referral, misdiagnosis, adverse events and ineffective treatments”

Science-Based Medicine - June 7, 2018 - 1:00am
A study finds "delayed referral, misdiagnosis, adverse events and ineffective treatments" in chiropractic management of pediatric orthopedic conditions. States should act to prevent this harm to children.
Categories: Science

Health Effect of Wind Turbines

Science-Based Medicine - June 6, 2018 - 8:17am
What are the health effects of living close to wind turbines? The answer is, probably not much, but definitive data is elusive.
Categories: Science

Fake News about Fish Oil

Science-Based Medicine - June 5, 2018 - 3:00am
An ad for the dietary supplement Omega Rejuvenol is disguised as a news story. It makes claims that are not supported by evidence.
Categories: Science

Right-to-try is now law. Let patients beware!

Science-Based Medicine - June 4, 2018 - 3:08am
Last week, President Trump signed the worst federal right-to-try bill under consideration by Congress into law. Its purpose was never to help terminally ill patients, and now that it's law there will be nothing the FDA can do to protect vulnerable terminally ill patients who choose it. That's a feature, not a bug.
Categories: Science

Is Firing Vaccine-Hesitant Families Unfair? Definitely…I think.

Science-Based Medicine - June 1, 2018 - 7:00am
Is the dismissal of vaccine-hesitant families from a pediatric practice unethical? Could it be unfair to other pediatric healthcare providers and increase risk to the community? Three medical ethicists who wrote a recent JAMA Pediatrics opinion piece believe so.
Categories: Science

Poison Control

Radiolab Podcasts - June 1, 2018 - 4:56am

When reporter Brenna Farrell was a new mom, her son gave her and her husband a scare -- prompting them to call Poison Control. For Brenna, the experience was so odd, and oddly comforting, that she decided to dive into the birth story of this invisible network of poison experts, and try to understand the evolving relationship we humans have with our poisonous planet. As we learn about how poison control has changed over the years, we end up wondering what a place devoted to data and human connection can tell us about ourselves in this cultural moment of anxiety and information-overload.

Call the national Poison Help Hotline at 1-800-222-1222 or text POISON to 797979 to save the number in your phone.

This episode was reported by Brenna Farrell and was produced by Annie McEwen.

Special thanks to Wendy Blair Stephan, Whitney Pennington, Richard Dart, Marian Moser Jones, and Nathalie Wheaton. Thanks also to Lewis Goldfrank, Robert Hoffman, Steven Marcus, Toby Litovitz, James O'Donnell, and Joseph Botticelli.  

Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.

Categories: Science

Are generic drugs equivalent to brand-name drugs?

Science-Based Medicine - May 31, 2018 - 9:00am
Generic drugs cost a fraction of brand-name drugs. What gives us confidence they are equivalent? Science.
Categories: Science

Routine Vitamin Supplementation Mostly Useless

Science-Based Medicine - May 30, 2018 - 8:07am
A new meta-analysis shows no benefit from multivitamins or routine supplementation. These results should motivate users to take a fresh look at their supplementation.
Categories: Science

Mosconi’s Brain Food Diet

Science-Based Medicine - May 29, 2018 - 3:00am
Mosconi offers a plan to prevent and treat Alzheimer's and maximize cognitive function in everyone. She claims brain health requires a unique diet, but she fails to make her case. Some of what she says is good standard health advice, but the rest is speculative, not based on good scientific evidence, and sometimes demonstrably wrong.
Categories: Science

CEASE therapy for autism: Homeopathic quackery and “self regulation” by naturopathic boards

Science-Based Medicine - May 28, 2018 - 10:15am
Naturopathy is quackery. If you doubt this, consider that you can't have naturopathy without homeopathy. What's even worse is when naturopaths subject autistic children to quackery like CEASE therapy. Expecting any naturopathic regulatory board to investigate quackery in naturopathy is the proverbial fox guarding the henhouse.
Categories: Science

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.

 Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.

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.

Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.

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

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