Here is a recap of the stories that appeared recently at Science-Based Medicine, a multi-author skeptical blog that separates the science from the woo in medicine.
Defining what a “physician” is (David Gorski) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/defining-what-a-physician-is/ CAM practitioners are trying to claim the title “physician” for themselves. This strategy is intentionally designed to confuse the public, and is an attempt by quacks to share the power and prestige of the real physicians they envy.
Reporting back on my Grand Rounds experience at FSU (David Gorski) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/reporting-back-on-my-grand-rounds-experience-at-fsu/ Dr. Gorski describes giving a Grand Rounds presentation on CAM and “integrative” medicine and having a dinner discussion with medical students and others who were attracted to CAM.
Lessons Learned (Harriet Hall) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/lessons-learned/ A link is provided to a talk Dr. Hall gave at McGill University in Montreal about lessons she has learned from investigating questionable medical claims: (1) Roosters don’t make the sun come up, (2) Never believe one study, and (3) Find out who disagrees and why.
Chiropractic Neurology (Steven Novella) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/chiropractic-neurology/ Ted Carrick, a “chiropractic neurologist,” claims to have special expertise and to have awakened patients from comas. “Chiropractic neurology” is a pseudoscientific specialty not based on any legitimate body of knowledge. Its practitioners are led astray by belief systems not supported by any objective evidence.
Pediatrics and “CAM”: the wrong solution (Jann Bellamy) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/pediatrics-cam-i-the-wrong-solution/ A misguided article in the journal Pediatrics misconstrues CAM and its popularity, then makes recommendations that would encourage pediatricians to embrace CAM and waive the need for plausibility and evidence.
November Hodgepodge (Mark Crislip) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/november-hodgepodge/ (1)An example of bad science and bio-politics: the drug Xigris was approved based on data that turned out to be a statistical fluke; despite new evidence, it continued to be used until it was pulled from the market. (2) An acupuncture example shows that the Pediatrics article recommending “informed consent” about CAM was misguided. (3) Braco, the Croatian gaze healer, claims to produce miracles by simply staring at patients.
“And one more thing” about Steve Jobs’ battle with cancer (David Gorski) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/one-more-thing/ Walter Isaacson’s biography sheds more light on Jobs’ medical history. Metastases were already present at the time of his surgery, and likely had been there for some time. His delay of surgery and pursuit of alternative remedies were unwise, but may not have actually hastened his death.
CAM practitioners react to Andrew Weil’s proposal for a board certification for integrative medicine. It isn’t (all) pretty. (David Gorski) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/cam-practitioners-react-to-andrew-weils-proposal/ Weil’s attempt to create board certification for physicians practicing “integrative medicine” has encountered resistance from practitioners of CAM, especially from chiropractors. They fear that if their practices are co-opted by a legitimate medical specialty, they will be marginalized and will no longer be able to call themselves “integrative physicians.”
Steven Fowkes (Part 2 of 2): Nutrients for Better Mental Performance (Harriet Hall) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/steven-fowkes-nutrients-for-better-mental-performance/ Fowkes’ claims for improving mental performance and treating insomnia, depression, hangovers and other health problems are no more credible than his “cures” for Alzheimer’s and herpes (covered in Part 1). His methods range from untested to bizarre and potentially dangerous, but some of his claims are good for a laugh.
Return of an old foe (Peter Lipson) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/return-of-an-old-foe/ The US is in the middle of its largest measles outbreak since 1996. Our vaccination shield is crumbling, and this once-nearly-vanquished old foe threatens to become endemic again.
Potential market for alternative medicine left untouched (Peter Lipson) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/potential-market-for-alternative-medicine-left-untouched/ Flawed studies have claimed that acupuncture helps with in-vitro fertilization. If acupuncture could increase fertility, shouldn’t it also be able to decrease it? Why doesn’t CAM offer methods of birth control?
Spinal Fusion: Chiropractic and Subluxation (Jann Bellamy) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/spinal-fusion-chiropractic-and-subluxation/ SBM commenters have claimed that contemporary chiropractic rejects the subluxation concept, that chiropractors who accept it are “on the fringe” and that it is no longer taught in chiropractic colleges except as a historical note. The evidence from the chiropractic literature itself clearly shows that subluxation remains an integral part of chiropractic education and current practice.
Random Flu Thoughts (Mark Crislip) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/random-flu-thoughts/ Flu vaccine is not the best of our vaccines, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important. Dr. Crislip reviews new information on efficacy, attempts to develop a universal flu vaccine, flu statistics, flu and pregnancy, the moral issue of vaccinating health care providers to protect vulnerable patients, and the poor reasoning of vaccine refusers.