Alcohol and Pregnancy (Harriet Hall) Drinking large amounts of alcohol during pregnancy causes congenital defects; but we don’t know if there is a threshold below which small amounts of alcohol are harmless. The standard advice to abstain entirely during pregnancy is precautionary, not evidence-based.
New Data on Cell Phones and Cancer (Steven Novella) The Interphone study of cell phone users found no clear association with brain tumors and one subgroup even appeared to show a protective effect. Current evidence shows that there is either no risk or possibly a very small long term risk that would have to be balanced against the convenience of cell phones.
“Medical Voices” on vaccine: Brave, brave Sir Robin (David Gorski) Mark Crislip easily answered the “9 Questions that Stump Every Pro-Vaccine Advocate” challenge from the “Medical Voices” anti-vaccine site. Instead of acknowledging and responding to his debunking on their website, they demanded a public debate, a favorite ploy of cranks everywhere. SBM refuses to play their game.
Naturopathy for allergies (Peter Lipson) Naturopathy is basically a collection of old fashioned medical superstitions presented under a veneer of highly speculative, quasi-scientific assertions. The treatments they recommend for allergies are implausible and not supported by evidence.
Epiphany (Mark Crislip) Most hospital infections are preventable. Medicine has instituted evidence-based infection control measures that have saved many lives, and it is constantly self-assessing and trying to do better. There are no similar efforts in alternative medicine, which has never modified any of its practices to improve safety or efficacy.