Here is a recap of the stories that appeared last week at Science-Based Medicine, a multi-author skeptical blog that separates the science from the woo in medicine.
The “pharma shill” gambit (David Gorski) Accusing doctors of being “pharma shills,” like other varieties of ad hominem or well-poisoning rhetoric, conveniently frees defenders of “alternative” medicine from having to argue for their favorite remedies on the science and clinical studies supporting them. Dr. Gorski facetiously asks where he can sign up to become a pharma shill and get some of that money.
The Graston Technique – Inducing Microtrauma with Instruments (Harriet Hall) Technique steel instruments to enhance soft-tissue mobilization treatments, deliberately damaging the tissues in the expectation that the body will heal the original problem as it heals the new damage. An astute newspaper editor discovered that there was no supporting scientific evidence and refused to publish a story about a physical therapist using this technique.
Ginkgo biloba – No Effect (Steven Novella) NCCAM studies of herbal supplements have shown that many popular products are ineffective. Ginkgo biloba joins the list with a large and rigorous study showing no benefit for cognitive function or Alzheimer’s.
Causation and Hill’s Criteria (Mark Crislip) Correlation is not causation. Dr. Crislip provides a masterful explanation of how Hill’s Criteria of Causation can be used to assess the probability of causal relationships.